I’ve used microfiber cloths for cleaning even before they were cool, and I think Even though microfibers are made of plastic and will never biodegrade, I can’t fall out of love with them. There are just some tasks other cloths can’t clean! As I learned when I explored the best cloth diapers, however, you can kill the absorbency of microfiber, so we’ll explore that a little in this post too.
Why I STILL Love Microfiber Cloths for Cleaning
- No Cleaners for Glass
- Still look new after 3 years
Microfiber Cloths: Our First Date
My grandmother introduced me to microfiber cloths a few years before they became so in vogue. Microfiber is an incredible fabric, some able to hold up to 7 pounds of water on a square foot of cloth. Car enthusiasts have long understood their superior drying ability, and you can still find them least expensively in large packages in the automotive section. My grandma gets them from Sam’s Club, and they are much thicker and more absorbent than the package I bought at Meijer (and bright green – how fun!).
Don’t be too frugal here – you can buy in bulk at Sam’s Club, but don’t bother with the dollar store microfibers. They are not anywhere near as thick and just don’t perform as well.
Beyond the super soaking drying feat, microfiber cloths also have an almost abrasive quality to them. They’re not scratchy, but the fibers are so thick, plush and numerous that they will wipe out a spot much more efficiently than flat fabric cloths. (See number 2 above.)
Microfiber cloths are a great way to decrease our cleaning disposables – getting rid of paper towels AND cleaners for dusting and mirrors in particular.
Using microfiber has allowed me to get rid of these cleaners:
- Furniture polish
- Daily shower sprays
- Glass cleaners
I don’t buy any of these products anymore, which helps my supplies budget, and I don’t have to spray them in my home, which improves our indoor air quality and ultimately, the health and well-being of my family.
Uses for microfiber cloths in cleaning routines:
- Wiping down the shower (drying off after each shower/bath)
- Polishing bathroom counters
- Cleaning mirrors, glass
How to Clean with Microfiber Cloths
- Shower/Tub: After each shower or bath (almost), the wet surfaces are dried thoroughly with a microfiber cloth, which is so absorbent it’s effortlessly simple. With a little elbow grease, I can get the “ring around the tub” scum off, again because of that hard-to-describe abrasive-but-not-abrasive gripping quality of the microfiber. It wipes right off. Sometimes I spray a 50/50 hydrogen peroxide and water solution or straight vinegar on the shower surfaces before and/or after I wipe, but other than that, no cleaners are necessary. If I let it go for a while, I end up needing a dusting of baking soda to get the scum off, but even that is not a huge job…not even worthy of writing down on the “to-do” list. (My 3 green cleaners explained.)
- Dusting: I honestly just use a dry cloth. The microfiber picks up the dust and holds onto it amazingly well, and I don’t worry about the “perfect shine” on my furniture. It’s like dusting with a cloth full of little dust-grippers.
- Bathroom counter: I have a cloth hanging behind our bathroom door that I can grab often (daily, I wish!) to wipe down the counter, grabbing all the dust, fuzzies, beard hair, and what IS all that gunk that gets on perfectly clean bathroom counters so often? In 60 seconds I can make a yucky counter look like I just cleaned it. This is great for aesthetics when you don’t have time to clean before company comes! Now I do need to have a truly clean (sanitized) counter at least once a week, so for that I use that 50/50 hydrogen peroxide and water spray, and my trusty microfiber cloth. The polished look on the faucet is gorgeous!
- Mirrors/Glass: I moisten one corner of my microfiber cloth, then wipe the surface in question. I rub a little on any tough spots, then use the dry half of the cloth to thoroughly dry and polish the glass. It looks perfect every time without ANY cleaner at all. I even have a mirror-topped coffee table and a mobile one-year-old, so this technique gets a LOT of use! I don’t think my windows or mirrors need to be sanitized, but if I really wanted to mimic the ammonia in glass cleaner without the toxicity, I would use a dollop of vinegar in a spray bottle of water and the same technique to polish the glass.
- Dishcloths: I cut a few of my cloths in half to better fit the washcloth size, and also so that I could differentiate between dishcloths and cleaning towels. I like that the super-absorbency can sop up a lot of liquid on my countertop, like after cutting a juicy melon or having a spill, and I like that grippy-ness for cleaning dishes.
- Why not on my floors or toilets? I guess I just don’t want to get those mixed up with my countertops. Can you blame me? I’m using socks now and am happier for it!
Maintenance and Purchasing Suggestions for Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
To best care for the microfiber cloths, if it’s convenient at your house, hang them to dry. I find that I lose the abrasive-grippy-ness when they go through the dryer. I do dry my dishcloths (another reason to cut in half to keep separate) because they need the heat to smell better, and their texture is radically different than the rest of my stash of microfiber towels. (My dishcloths also get an un-stink-erator treatment when I make yogurt.)
ALSO something I learned from the cloth diaper ordeal, when a lot of my microfiber inserts stopped being absorbent (huge problem with cloth diapers, obviously!). Microfiber should NOT be washed on hot because being plastic, they can start to melt a wee bit. Do not wash them with towels, because the lint from the towels tends to get in the nubby part of the microfiber cloth and decrease its absorbency as well.
Most of mine, after many years, have been mistreated because I didn’t know all these washing rules, so they’re not absorbent anymore 🙁 but still great for mirrors and dusting and regular old counter cleaning. I have some new ones from Grove Collaborative now, and OH they’re so lovely. I’m taking very good care of them!
Find lots of ways to Decrease Disposables here.