Cleaning with Microfiber
Microfiber Cleaning Cloths: Easier, Cheaper, Greener
We're all looking for ways to keep our living spaces clean with less work. Ore one of my secret weapons is slowly catching on - microfiber cleaning cloths.
Microfiber cloths are almost miraculous. With one wipe of a damp cloth, they can pick up dirt and oil, leaving the surface perfectly clean. Dry microfiber makes an excellent dust remover. You will need very few cleaning products; water and a microfiber cloth work very well. And when your microfiber gets dirty, you throw it in the washer! No chemical cleaners, no trash ... microfiber cleaning products are as green as it gets!
Poll: Microfiber and You
Do you use Microfiber for cleaning?
What are Microfiber Cleaning Products Made of?
And why does microfiber work so well?
The word microfiber describes the shape of the fiber in these synthetic fabrics, not the actual fiber chemistry. Microfibers are extremely thin, less than 1/100 the thickness of a human hair! These fibers are wedge shaped, which means they can get under the tiniest pieces of dust and dirt and pick them up.
Most microfiber used in cleaning products is made from a mixture of polyester and nylon (polyamide). The polyester attracts and absorbs oil, the nylon, water. This means microfiber cleaning cloths can pick up both oily and watery things, which covers almost all household dirt. Because the fibers are so small, every bit of the dirt/spot/smudge is picked up.
But Microfiber Feels Weird!
Microfiber towels feel odd, like they catch on your skin. Some people don't mind this, others do. I don't like the feel, but I put up with it because I know if the cloth is "grabby" on my skin, it will also grab dirt. With no cleaners. And that's worth the feeling to me.
The three pack I purchased is no longer available, but this dusting cloth is by the same manufacturer, and looks almost identical. Though the package says "dusting cloth", it can also be used for wet cleaning.
My First Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
In the late 1990s, I saw a 3 pack of microfiber cleaning cloths at my supermarket, and decided to try them. I never much liked cleaning, and was always on the lookout for easier methods. I decided to buy the pack, and I was hooked! I could use the same cloth dry for dusting, damp for surface cleaning, wet for scrubbing soap scum off the shower door ... those three cloths did almost all my house cleaning for me! And when they were too dirty to keep using, a trip through the washer made them as good as new.
I still have and use those three cloths.
A month or so later, a mail order cleaning company had a "try this new produce" sale on microfiber dishcloths, and I bought a pack. They have a "waffle weave" texture and are better for hard scrubbing. I still use those too.
This pack has enough cloths for your entire house, plus some to give to friends.
Low Cost Microfiber Cloths
If you use microfiber cleaning cloths throughout your house, you may want 1-2 dozen of them. Buying this many individual cloths can get expensive, but you can buy them in bulk for much less money. To the right is one "deal" from Amazon.com for inexpensive microfiber cleaning cloths. Look around there, sometimes you can spot an even bigger bargain.
My "lifetime supply" came from a big box warehouse club, in the automotive section. My pack of 36 cloths is not only enough for me, but 3-4 from the pack have gone to house warming gifts for friends.
Note that there are quality differences in different brands of microfiber - some will work better than others. One way to tell is by feel: the cloth should not feel smooth, but slightly "grabby", like silk on rough skin. If it feels too soft, it may be poor quality fabric with fabric softener on it, which will wear off quickly and doesn't help cleaning anyway.
Though microfiber cloths come in different weaves and textures, almost any weave will work for general house cleaning. Some of the best buys are sold for cleaning cars, but they work anywhere.
Other Microfiber Cleaning Products
Microfiber is getting popular, and many cleaning tools are using it. Here are some of them.
Microfiber Dusting Tools
While you can use a dry microfiber cleaning cloth for dusting, a tool with longer fibers can trap and hold more dust, and is easier to use around delicate items. Here are some items that work well for dusting.
I have 3 microfiber mitts, that came in a kit with two large cloths. Though they're intended for car washing, I use mine as dusters.
The loops really grab the dust and hold it.
I almost always use these dry, as they are very heavy when wet. I have used one to wash walls after stripping wallpaper.
This duster has a long handle and can be set at many angles.
I sometimes call these "microfiber on a stick."
Wands like this are great for dusting the tops of pictures and furniture, and for getting dust webs.
You want one with a removable head that you can throw in the washer.
Dusting tools, and a couple cleaning cloths too!
Sometimes you can find all-microfiber cleaning kits.
Check that these are a good value, and that everything can be washed.
I use a Bona cover on my Sh-mop, and it works far better than the original cotton cover.
Silly or useful? If you've used these, let us know in the Comments!
Microfiber for Floors
There are lots of microfiber items sold for cleaning and dusting floors. This is a small selection, chosen for variety.
Bona is the brand name for a large number of floor cleaning products, from refinishing liquid to mops and dusters. They all work well.
The Bona mop head is made of very strong microfiber. I have one of these heads, in a size that fits my Sh-mop, and I can get my wood floors clean with plain water and a tiny spray of cleaner.
Most Bona mops are longer and skinnier than a Sh-Mop. I got my covers in a store that sells wood flooring to the trade. If I didn't already own my Sh-Mop, I would have bought the entire mop system, as shown here.
Microfiber has been used for some silly products, too.
Do these work? If you've tried them, leave a comment and let me know how they work.
Here's your chance to talk about your experiences using microfiber for cleaning.