Every now and then a product comes along that doesn’t just deliver on its promise, it over delivers. This is true of microfiber cleaning cloths, which are the best thing since soap and water. Really.
Years ago, I kept hearing murmurs about microfiber coming out of Sweden and thought I’d give it a try because if anything needs to be made easier, it’s housecleaning. Now that I’ve changed to microfiber to clean my house, I won’t be going back. Once you try them, you’ll understand why, too.
Microfiber is a workhorse
One of the drawbacks of housecleaning is that it is just so darn hard to do — and it takes so many cleaners. But microfiber has changed all that. These cloths actually attract dirt and trap it in the fibers. At only 1/100th the size of a human hair, the fibers don’t just trap dirt, they trap bacteria, too.
The cloths are made of a polyester and polymide blend that retains a static charge. This makes them actually attract dust, dirt, and pet hair. The cloths are also so efficient at trapping dirt that they don’t demand gallons of cleaners, so you can even clean with water alone – important if anyone in your home is chemically-sensitive, has breathing problems, or has asthma.
According to one study, microfiber cloths pick up 96% of bacteria using only water. With houses becoming more and more air tight, cleaning with water makes sense because if you’re able to clean with fewer chemicals, then those chemicals won’t be trapped in the house with you. A university in Canada performed a study that tested the cloths’ cleaning ability in restrooms and found that microfiber with water cleaned as well as a rag with disinfectant.
Special surfaces need microfiber
Microfiber cloths also beautifully polish chrome, fixtures, windows, wood floors, and granite. That’s right, granite; beautiful to look at and awful to maintain. If anyone had told me how hard keeping that shiny surface would be, I doubt I would have installed it in my own house. But then I use microfiber and it helps me maintain my love affair with my granite.
I’ll never forget the look on my builder’s face when he asked me if I thought granite was a chore to maintain. I then proceeded to show a side by side comparison of the cleaning ability of a sponge and a microfiber cloth. I enjoyed his amazement at the incredible cleaning ability, and I think I sold another set of towels that day.
The same is true for those glass cooktops that require the special “cooktop cleaner.” Fortunately, microfiber is there. With a damp cloth, you can make your ceran or glass cooktop sparkle without all the special cleaner and paper towels every single time you want to clean it. It does a great job on stainless, too.
Wood floors and windows are another cleaning challenge. With wood, it’s not a good idea to damp mop because over time water damages wood, but yet wood floors need an occasional mopping. Lightly sprayed with water, special microfiber mops pick up the tiniest bits of dirt and wipe smears and stains away without using excessive amounts of water.
And who wants to clean windows? I do because I hate looking out dirty windows and the microfiber makes cleaning them so easy. For windows, I use two microfiber cloths. One is wet with a weak solution of water and window cleaner and the other dry. I wipe the windows first with the wet one to get the dirt off and then wipe to a perfect shine with the dry one. Unlike with paper towels where you need to wipe until your arm wants to fall off to make your windows shine, it only takes seconds to clean windows with microfiber.
Treat your microfiber right
When you buy microfiber towels, be sure to wash them in hot water first to plump up the fibers. Add a little dish soap to a dishpan and wash the cloths in with the hottest water possible. Rinse, wring them out, and they’re ready for use. After use, wash the same way or throw them in the washer. Make sure you don’t add fabric softener or put them in the dryer. You can get literally hundreds of washes from one cloth.
Where to buy microfiber
Buy microfiber cloths in the automotive sections at your supercenter for about $5 for five or six. Consider buying three sets, one for general cleaning, one for windows and glass, and a third for bathrooms. Find microfiber mops online at places such as starfibers.com. Their mops are reasonable (about $30 for a mop and pad).
Give microfiber towels a try. You’ll be amazed, too. It’s my personal promise.