Clothing and fabric are materials that we use in our everyday lives starting from our clothes, bedsheets to towels. However, fabric is a delicate material that needs to be carefully washed to retain its quality and has different washing procedures.
This article discusses whether you can wash and dry microfibers in washer and dryer.
Putting microfiber in the washer & dryer
You can put microfiber cloth in the washer and dryer with some strict guidelines to be followed. In the washer, avoid using fabric softener or bleach which would damage the fibers and thus use warm or cold water with mild detergent. In the dryer, air dry them or set 140°F maximum temperature.
Composed of polyester and nylon, Microfiber is a commonly used synthetic fiber that has fine strands that are porous and dry quickly while having high density and absorption capabilities.
These properties make microfiber a good material for use in drying and cleaning apparels such as towels and is also commonly found in cleaning kits of furniture and other sensitive objects.
Since this fabric is associated with cleaning, it requires regular washing and drying to reuse again. But due to the structure of its strips and fibers, washing and drying it by regular means would damage its fibers and reduce its effectiveness much drastically.
This is because microfibers are made of polyester, which is plastic and therefore melts when heated and its capability to pick up dirt and debris gets ruined when it comes in contact with bleach and softeners.
Washers and dryers are both utility appliances that are used to wash and dry loads of clothes at ease – without the need of manual washing. Therefore, these machines do not handle the clothes as humans do and cannot distinguish between different types of fabric.
Because of that, sensitive clothes like microfibers are met with complications when washed and dried.
In order to resolve this, you can either hand-wash and air-dry the microfiber clothes or take special precautionary measures when washing and drying microfibers with washer and dryer.
You can wash microfiber cloths using a washer because it makes the cleaning process much easier if the fabric is very stained and dirty.
However, if you clean microfibers in the same load as other fibers, it may damage the fibers of your microfiber by leaving lint into the cloth or abrading the fibers.
It is also suggested that you do not use softeners or bleach to clean the microfiber cloths since they tend to damage the fabric fibers. Therefore, you can wash microfiber in a washer using mild detergent with cold water or warm water if there is stain.
While washing, let the washer complete a half cycle and then allow the microfiber to soak for 20 minutes before completing the cycle.
Since microfibers consist of polyester, it is risky to use a dryer to dry the microfiber clothes because polyester is essentially plastic and they melt when exposed to heat.
Ideally you should air dry microfiber which would dry your clothes quickly while minimizing the risk of fiber damage due to heat. However, if you have a strict time constraint and have no other option, then you can use a dryer to dry your microfiber cloth.
To do that, first clean the lint trap of your dryer to prevent the spread of dryer lint which would damage the microfiber. Next, simply set the dryer to low heat or air-dry cycle and make sure the maximum temperature does not exceed 140°F.
Temperatures below that limit would not be capable of melting or damaging the microfiber, but it is suggested that you avoid using dryers at all.
Does the dryer ruin microfiber?
Dryers dry your clothes by the use of heat which speeds up the evaporation process of water from your clothes – making them dry much faster compared to conventional air-drying.
Despite its advantages, the dryer is not appropriate for use on heat-sensitive fabric and may end up damaging them during the drying process.
One such fabric is the microfiber, which is made of polyester and therefore it is sensitive to heat. Microfibers have fine strands that are well suited at trapping dirt and debris, however, these strands melt down and lose their ability to trap debris.
To prevent this from happening, it is generally advised to air-dry your microfiber clothes but if you need to use a dryer, you can run the dryer at low heat with a temperature range between 130°F to 140°F.
The drying would take a short amount of time – thus try to keep its exposure to heat as less as possible.
Should microfiber cloths be washed separately in the washer?
The washer washes all the clothes in a load together by spinning its drum and tumbling the clothes against its blades while spraying soap and water. This process works well with most types of fabric and is effective at cleaning them without any damages.
However, in the case of microfiber – you need to sort and separate them into another load.
Since microfibers attract dirt and debris, it would trap all the dirt from the clothes in the load and come out with even more stain and dirt. And another reason for washing microfiber cloths separately is due to the choice of cleaning fluid used.
Many cloths require the use of bleach and softeners to better clean them and remove the dirt off their surface better, but if they are applied to microfiber – the strands get damaged and they lose the ability to trap dirt.
What happens if you put microfiber in the washer & dryer?
If you do not take the proper precautions or measures while putting microfiber in washer or dryer, your microfiber cloth would face some issues such as:
Trap dirt from other clothes:
When washing clothes using a washer, never put all the other clothes with microfiber in the same load. Always put the microfibers in a separate load because microfibers have an excellent ability of trapping dirt and debris.
And when the microfiber is washed with other clothes, they will trap the dirt and stain released from the dirty clothes instead of letting them drain out.
Strands damaged by bleach and softeners:
Clothes in the washer normally need soap, bleach and softeners to get the best cleaning and remove as much dirt from the clothes as possible. These softeners and bleach contain many chemicals that are not suitable for use on microfibers.
When these chemicals come in contact with microfiber, they damage the strands and the fibers become weak.
Strands damaged by the heat:
The dryer operates at a high temperature to ensure quick drying of the clothes. But microfiber is made of polyester and thus they cannot withstand the heat and end up damaging their strands.
How to wash and dry microfiber?
Follow the steps below to wash and dry microfiber properly:
Put the microfiber clothes in another load:
Put the microfibers clothes in a separate bag to be put into a separate load. Putting them with the other clothes may cause microfiber cloths to become even dirtier.
Use a suitable stain remover:
Use a microfiber-friendly stain remover if your clothes have strong stains. It is better to pre-treat them before the wash cycle. You can rinse them before the wash cycle as well as a part of the stain removal process.
Apply mild detergent:
Add a teaspoon of mild detergent to your washing machine while setting the temperature to be warm. Do not use too much detergent since microfibers can easily release the dirt without the need of additional chemicals.
Adding more chemicals might instead damage the strands of the microfibers.
Put into the washer:
When ready, load the clothes into the washer and initiate its wash cycle. When the wash cycle is halfway through, stop the cycle and let the clothes soak into the water for 20 minutes. Resume the cycle afterwards till the cycle finishes.
Get rid of excess water:
After the wash is complete, let the clothes rest on a rack to strain the excess water out to make it easier for the drying process for the dryer. If you are air-drying, you can directly put them to air-dry.
Set the dryer to dry:
After straining the excess water, put the microfiber clothes into the dryer and set the dryer to low heat within the temperature range of 130°F to 140°F.
Microfiber cloth may be washed and dried using washers and dryers, but only under very specific conditions. Use warm or cold water with mild detergent instead of fabric softener or bleach in the washer to protect the fibers. Dry them in the dryer at a maximum temperature of 140°F or air dry.