Fleece is a popular fabric choice for jackets, blankets, and other cozy winter accessories. Its soft, plush texture provides incredible warmth and comfort. But can you safely microwave fleece to make it even warmer? Let’s take a closer look.
- Standard polyester fleece is generally not microwave-safe and can pose risks like melting, fire hazard and toxic chemicals when microwaved.
- Special “microwave-safe” fleece is engineered to be heat resistant and minimize risks when microwaved based on product instructions.
- Only microwave fleece that is specifically labeled as “microwave-safe.” Do not microwave regular fleece.
- Follow exact microwave directions provided for microwave-safe fleece products regarding time, power level etc.
- Let microwaved fleece cool before touching and ensure there are no metal components which could spark or heat up. Take precautions.
What is Fleece?
The term “fleece” refers to a fuzzy, wool-like synthetic fabric made from polyester. The vast majority of fleece today is made completely from plastic bottles recycled into polyester fibers.
Here are some key facts about fleece:
- Made from 100% polyester, usually recycled plastic bottles
- Does not contain any wool despite the wool-like texture
- Breathable and lightweight
- Dries quickly and is easy to care for
- Provides excellent insulation without being bulky
Unlike natural wool, fleece does not absorb moisture. This quality makes it perfect for sweaters, jackets, blankets and more to wick away sweat and keep you warm.
Is Regular Fleece Microwave Safe?
Regular polyester fleece is generally not considered microwave safe. When heated in the microwave, standard synthetic fleece can start to melt due to the high temperatures. The hot polyester may also release concerning toxic chemicals into the air or food you’re trying to heat. There is also a risk of catching the fleece on fire if it is microwaved. For these reasons, experts warn against putting untreated polyester fleece products into the microwave.
Doing so can damage the material and expose you to safety hazards. It’s better to err on the side of caution and avoid microwaving regular fleece made completely of synthetic polyester fibers. The risks of melting, chemical exposure and fire are too high.
Special Microwave-Safe Fleece
Although regular fleece is not suitable for microwaving, there is a special type of fleece fabric made specifically to be microwave-safe. This specialty microwave-safe fleece goes through a unique manufacturing process that alters the properties of the material.
It is engineered to resist melting when exposed to microwave radiation. The production process also minimizes the release of harmful chemicals when the fleece is heated. It is less prone to catching fire in the microwave compared to regular fleece.
Any risks are further reduced by the manufacturer labeling these specialty products as “microwave-safe”. The labels also include instructions for proper usage in the microwave. Taking these precautions allows microwave-safe fleece to be heated safely in the microwave based on the directions.
This type of fleece has been modified during production to make microwaving possible without the risks posed by regular polyester fleece.
Tips for Microwaving Fleece Safely
Follow these tips to microwave fleece without risks:
- Only microwave fleece specially labeled as microwave-safe. Do not microwave regular polyester fleece.
- Check for any metal components like buttons, zippers, or decorations. Remove any metal before microwaving.
- Follow exact microwave instructions provided for the specific product. Do not overheat.
- Microwave in short 10-30 seconds intervals, checking between each.
- Stop immediately if you see any signs of melting, smoke, sparks or smell.
- Let the fleece cool before touching to avoid burns.
Using microwave-safe fleece properly reduces risks of fire, melting, and exposure to harmful chemicals from hot plastic.
Is Microwaved Fleece Actually Warmer?
Yes, microwave-safe fleece can retain more warmth when heated in the microwave briefly. The short burst of microwave radiation excites the molecules in the material, creating faster vibrations which heats the fabric.
Studies show microwave-safe fleece can retain this warmth for 30 minutes to an hour before cooling down to original temperature.
So zapping the fleece right before wearing it provides a temporary warmth boost to help you feel cozier. This makes microwavable fleece wraps, blankets and garments more effective at keeping you comfy.
Microwavable Fleece Products
Several brands now offer fleece products made specifically to be microwave-safe. Look for items described as:
- Microwavable fleece
- Microwave-safe fleece
- Fleece you can heat in the microwave
Some examples of popular microwavable fleece products include:
|Fleece Heating Wraps
|Soft fleece wraps filled with wheat or rice that heat up when microwaved for soothing natural warmth
|Microwavable Fleece Slippers
|Cozy slippers with fleece exterior that can be briefly microwaved for quick warmth
|Microwavable Fleece Neck Warmers
|Neck gaiters and tubes made of microwavable fleece to warm up neck and face area
|Microwavable Stuffed Animals
|Plush fleece stuffed animals that can be briefly microwaved for a warm soothing companion
These specialty items are constructed from fleece designed to be heated in the microwave based on product instructions.
Making Your Own Microwavable Fleece
While regular fleece cannot be microwaved, you can make your own microwavable fleece item with some simple DIY tricks.
Here are some ideas to create homemade microwavable fleece:
- Sew a fleece pouch and fill with rice, wheat or flaxseed to make a heating pad
- Insert a store-bought heat pack inside a fleece cover
- Layer regular fleece over a microwavable cotton heating pad
By using fleece as a removable cover over a microwave-safe heat source, you can enjoy the fleece warmth without direct risks.
Just ensure to heat only the internal microwave-safe filling, not the fleece itself.
Microwaving Fleece: The Bottom Line
Standard polyester fleece is not suitable for microwaving and can pose safety risks if heated directly. Specialty “microwave-safe” fleece is engineered to be heated in the microwave based on product guidelines. With proper precautions, microwave-safe fleece can provide an extra boost of warmth and comfort. Just be sure to buy items specifically made for microwave use and follow all instructions.
FAQs About Microwaving Fleece
Is it safe to microwave fleece jackets or blankets?
Only for fleece labeled as “microwave-safe”. Regular fleece jackets or blankets could melt or release chemicals if microwaved.
How long can you microwave fleece?
Follow exact guidelines per product, usually only 10-30 seconds at a time. Never microwave regular fleece.
Can you put fleece in the dryer?
Yes, polyester fleece can safely be machine dried on low or medium heat cycles. High heat can damage fleece over time.
Does fleece shrink in the wash?
Fleece is designed not to shrink, but some shrinking can occur if washed in hot water or dried on high heat. Use cold water washes and low dryer heat.
Is fleece better than wool?
Fleece and wool both make excellent cold weather fabrics. Fleece is lighter, cheaper, dries faster and is easier to care for. Wool provides better warmth when wet. Choose based on your needs.
What’s warmer – fleece or cotton?
Fleece is much warmer than cotton and better at trapping body heat. Cotton also absorbs moisture while fleece stays dry.