"Cleans without chemicals", "super absorbent" and "removes even the toughest grease" are just some of the claims of microfibre cloths. An American study found that conventional cotton cloths only reduce the number of bacteria by 33%, whereas microfibre materials reduced this by about 99%. They allow you to stop using multiple disinfectants and detergents, and as they're claimed to be hypoallergenic they can also provide health benefits if you suffer from allergies or asthma.
What is microfibre?
Microfibre cloths are made of minute synthetic fibres split in such a way to lift dirt, dust and moisture from surfaces and trap particles. By comparison, ordinary cotton cloths only move dirt and dust from one point to another. Microfibres are made from a blend of polyester and polyamide (nylon), and research suggests a ratio of 80%:20% respectively will give you a long-lasting and absorbent cloth. Polyester makes the cloth strong and durable, while polyamide makes the microfibre absorbent.
When it comes to cleaning your microfibre cloth, more care is required than you would give a regular cloth. Wash them in warm, soapy water after use – this will release the trapped dirt and dust. Using fabric softener is not recommended as it can become trapped in the fibres, making the cloth hard and affecting its cleaning performance. In most cases, drying in the clothes dryer is also not recommended.
Cleaning with microfibre
- Use the cloth dry for dusting. This will leave the surface looking clean and polished. If there’s too much dust to use the cloth dry, use a damp cloth and then wipe the surface dry.
- On kitchen and bathroom surfaces, it’s generally recommended to use the cloths damp however we found you can achieve a better result if you use a spray bottle to spray water as needed on the surface and wipe dry with the microfibre cloth. Using a damp cloth can leave behind streaks.
- Use a different cloth for kitchen, bathroom and dusting surfaces. Mark or colour-code the cloths to ensure they don’t get mixed up. The Glitz and Silver Clean microfibre cloths come in a pack of three.
- A large cloth will allow you to clean a larger surface area before a fresh one is needed. The White Magic and Work Force microfibre cloths are large and both made our What to Buy list.
- Some microfibre cloths may irritate you if you have a sensitive touch. If this is the case, wear rubber gloves when using them.
- Look for a blend of 80% polyester and 20% polyamide – research suggests this will give you a long-lasting and absorbent product. A few cloths on test have this blend; one is 70%:30%, but this didn’t appear to make any difference to cleaning performance.
- Cleaning with disinfectants and detergents has been embedded in our mentality as effective cleaning. If you use a microfibre cloth for regular cleaning, these chemicals are generally not required. However, if you’re not getting good results with just water and a microfibre cloth on particularly dirty surfaces, using only a very small amount of cleaning product along with a microfibre cloth will still give you a high-quality clean.