For a gentle yet powerful cleaner with dirt and germ-fighting abilities—you can’t go wrong with the right microfiber cloth.
With cleaning an ever-pressing priority for us all, how can we better protect ourselves from germs, pollen, dander, dirt and dust? Microfiber cloths may be the answer. These super-soft cleaning cloths are woven from microscopic fibers that attract dirt—and suck up germs and bacteria—thanks to their magnetic charge. Particles get caught in these cloths’ positively charged fibers, helping you keep surfaces inside and outside of your home clean and free of debris—without damaging surfaces or involving any harsh chemicals.
Medical research shows microfiber to be more effective than traditional cleaning cloths, thanks to its tiny filaments that attract dirt without the need for heavy chemicals. Strong, versatile, and gentle, microfiber’s abilities will make your home safer and more sustainable.
Microfiber’s tiny filaments are incredibly effective at cleaning. Not only can microfiber erase dirt and allergens, but the best microfiber cloths can also pick up surface bacteria and microorganisms. While microfiber cloths can’t kill viruses, they can pick up debris that viruses and germs cling to, decreasing the risk of disease at home, work, and school.
In fact, microfiber cloths are so effective that hospitals are beginning to switch from conventional to microfiber cleaning tools. In one head to head comparison, microfiber mops were shown to reduce germs by 99 percent, while loop mops managed only a 30 percent reduction. In another study, microfiber cloths greatly reduced levels of disease-carrying bacteria like MRSA, E. coli, and C. difficile spores from a range of clinical surfaces.
That said, microfiber cloths are not a replacement for other cleaning methods. In heavily-soiled and germ-prone areas (bathrooms and kitchens), it is still wise to use microfiber only for surface dusting. Keep using soap and water, with a dose of bleach or disinfectant when needed.
Thanks to their durability, microfiber cloths are highly reusable. Their man-made fibers are non-toxic and require no chemicals to pick up dust and keep surfaces shiny. In fact, microfiber is most effective when used alone or with pure water. With proper care, microfiber cloths can last for hundreds of applications and washes, without shrinking, falling apart, or losing their power.
When it comes to microfiber, quality counts and is measured by filament size, fiber density, and weave. Cost and quality often go hand in hand, so pay attention to brand specifications and what other reviewers say about the cloth’s durability and tendency to leave lint behind (a key sign that it’s not good quality). For household cleaning, look for brands that give you specific info about fiber density and whether or not the cloths can pick up germs and other microbes.
- The smaller the fibers, the better the cloth. Look for blends of 80 percent polyester to 20 percent polyamide. Cheaper cloths may have a 90 percent to 10 percent ratio. Most microfiber cloths are composed of filaments that are 10-50 times smaller than a human hair. The highest-quality cloths, however, are made of fibers that are 1/200th the width of a hair. Microfibers can only pick up particles that are larger or the same size as each filament. This means that smaller fibers can suck up dirt, as well as bacteria and even viruses that cling to particulate matter. Microfiber does not kill viruses and germs, but it can pick them up and dispose of them. While most commercial cloths cut down on allergens and are antibacterial, only cloths with the smallest, densest fibers can claim to be anti-viral (and even then, with caveats).
- Microfiber density is measured in GSM (grams per square meter). General use microfiber cloths have a GSM between 200-350. Lower density cloths (200 GSM and less) are more likely to streak glass or leave lint behind. However, due to their rougher surface, low GSM microfiber can be helpful for hardcore and messier cleaning jobs, like removing grease from the stove. Cloths with a GSM of 300-360 are designed for delicate surfaces, including cars, musical instruments, and electronics.
- Weave is also important when choosing a microfiber cloth. Microfibers are chemically split into finer and finer filaments that can be woven in different patterns. A loop weave can whisk away wet and dry messes thanks to microscopic looped “claws.” And these loops are so tiny, most looped-weave microfiber cloths won’t damage even the most delicate electronic surfaces, screens, glass, or mirrors. In contrast, a waffle weave contains larger patterns in the fabric surface, which make these cloths excellent for scouring, scrubbing, and tougher cleaning jobs.