What Makes Microfiber Cloth Such a Cleaning Staple?

There's some interesting science behind this.

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Microfiber cloths are a must-have cleaning supply for any household: The fabric is perfect for everything from wiping up spills to wiping down kitchen appliances. But why do these cloths work so well for such a large range of household needs? Leanne Stapf, the chief operating officer of The Cleaning Authority, and environmental toxin expert Tonya Harris have the answers—and, they say, a microfiber cloth's cleaning power actually has more to do with the science behind the fabric than the elbow grease you put behind it.

light blue microfiber cloth
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Why Microfiber Cloths Work

If you've ever felt a microfiber towel, you know that the fabric feels different than most other cleaning textiles. "Microfiber cloths are made up of super-thin microfibers that can remove up to 99% of bacteria on surfaces," Harris explains. The microfibers, which include both positive-charged and negative-charged components, work by attracting and pulling bacteria, dirt, and grease from the surfaces they come into contact with. Essentially, it's the very fibers within the cloth that make it such a cleaning workhorse.

How to Use Microfiber Cloths to Clean

To get the best results, Harris suggests getting cloths damp before you use them for routine tasks like dusting; if you're doing a general sweep, wet them a bit more than you would when dusting, she adds. You can use them in just about any area of your home, but you might want to designate different cloths for specific areas. For example, you don't want to use the same cloth to dust your television and wipe down your toilet.

How to Clean and Care for Microfiber Towels

Don't forget that even your cleaning materials need to a good, regular clean. The best way to wash your microfiber towels is separately—don't combine them with your regular clothes or towels, since they will pick up extra debris and fibers. Use warm water and a small amount of liquid detergent and never use powder or fabric softener. "You should avoid using bleach and fabric softeners on your microfiber cloths, as bleach can destroy the fibers and softeners congest the space in between the fibers," Stapf says. You can also give them some care between cleanings by rinsing them with warm water and a mild detergent after each use. To dry them, put them through a low heat cycle (and skip the fabric softener sheet here, as well).

Where to Use Microfiber Cloths

Microfiber towels work profoundly well on a variety of surfaces, and they can be used in place of a towel, sponge, or cleaning cloth for just about any cleaning task. "Keep one in or near your shower to wipe down walls or shower heads and handles," Harris suggests, adding that they are also great for quick kitchen cleaning, like spills on the counter or for removing smudges from stainless-steel appliances. They'll work wonders on glass, too. "They are great to use when cleaning windows and can help give a streak-free shine," notes Harris. Best of all? Because of the way microfiber cloths lift dirt and grime, you can get away with using less chemicals on the whole.

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