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Taking care of microfiber cloths and cleaning products isn’t always as straight forward as some tend to believe. People commonly don’t know how to use their various cleaning products, much less how to clean their microfiber cloths correctly. Because of this, these kinds of products may not last as long or work as efficiently as they should be. Keep reading to learn how to wash and maintain microfiber cloths, towels, polishing cloths, and pads. You may even learn what you might be doing wrong so you can avoid the same mistakes in the future.
1. Pay Attention to Cleaner Products You Use with Your Microfiber
Believe it or not, the chemicals you use along with your microfiber may cause damage to the material itself. This is why it’s good to watch out for harsh chemicals such as bleach or potentially acidic ingredients. Also, keep in mind that caustic (acidic) ingredients may even include certain essential oils.
Certain types of microfiber cloths, including polishing cloths, can work great just by using them with warm water. Some of the more popular brands that achieve this include Norwex and E-cloth, which have been shown to trap up to 99% of bacteria.
2. Consider Investing in More Cloths
One of the best things you can do to maintain your cleaning cloths and mop pads, and potentially increase their longevity, is to have several available at any given time, rather than continuously using and having to wash the same few.
If possible, consider investing in several sets of cloths at one time, such as the E-Cloth Starter Set, Mr. Siga 24-Pack, Norwex Counter Cloths, or similar. That way, you’ll always have enough on hand and won’t need to wash them as often or base your cleaning around whether or not you have clean cloths available.
3. Wash Them Regularly
It’s essential to make sure that you regularly wash your microfiber cloths, towels, and pads as needed. While it’s okay to let them go without washing them for a few uses, many people get in the habit of using them over and over again and never bother to clean them.
In the end, it just clogs them up and could potentially ruin them. Above all, cleaning with an already dirty cloth isn’t always the best way to achieve the most outstanding results either.
Washing cloths more consistently can help to ensure that they work as efficiently as possible. And it will also help maintain their longevity while preventing accidental scratches of any surfaces you plan to clean.
If you use them in the kitchen, such as for wiping the counters down, you could probably use the same one for 2-3 days before needing to grab a new one. However, you’ll want to make sure to rinse and wring them out properly. For bigger messes or dirtier types of cleaning, 1-2 times is usually recommended before washing your cloths, depending on the severity.
4. Wash Them Separately
We find it useful to separate the cloths, or microfiber products in general, from other types of laundry whenever they’re to be washed. This will prevent lint buildup, the overuse of detergent, and can help you to avoid accidentally using products on them that should otherwise be avoided.
Some people find it useful to keep their dirty microfiber cloths in a separate hamper or bucket until more can be washed at the same time. This is usually for the sake of better cleaning efficiency in the washing machine, and because it can help conserve water and energy usage. If you prefer, try washing them by hand or with a hand-powered washer.
You can also opt to store your microfiber in a bucket of vinegar to help control mold and odor issues. Or allow them to air dry and leave them in a well-ventilated area until you wash your next load. We also prefer to wash cleaning cloths separately from mop pads, just to ensure they don’t get nasty or gunked up. However, this is also up to personal preference.
5. Designate Them By Task & Quality
One thing that people find useful is to designate cloths by task or room. That way, cleaner types and newer, better-looking, or more expensive ones aren’t being washed or stored with filthy or older cloths. Older versions of the same brand, ones we don’t like as much, or types that are of lesser quality, can then be put away and used for messier jobs or bathroom areas as needed.
6. Consider Color-Coordinating
Just as you might separate your microfiber cloths by chore, task, type, or brand to help preserve them more, you can also designate them by color. This can be useful since it may help to keep you and other members of your house on the same page, rather than people having to guess what cloths are used for a specific purpose.
Designating by color is also handy since you can take better care of the colors or type you prefer to have sitting out and would like to last longer. For instance, I like to use orange E-cloths for dusting and keep them in a spot that’s easy to grab.
I also like to leave out a barely damp green E-cloth by our kitchen sink because it works well, and the green happens to be my favorite color out of the bunch. Therefore, I don’t mind seeing it sitting on the counter. Plus, it’s conveniently there for someone to grab when they might make a mess instead of just leaving it. Sometimes, having the ones you like the look of can even work as good cleaning motivation too.
Other colors and types of microfiber that are less to your liking can then be left for random cleaning tasks or jobs that might stain or otherwise damage the cloth. To avoid getting older versions of your preferred color mixed up later on, you can mark them with a marker, cut off the tag, or even cut off a corner of the cloth to designate them further.
7. Avoid Using Too Much Detergent
Using too much soap on microfiber cloths, polishing cloths, or even microfiber towels and mop pads is a common mistake that many people make. Some tend to overload on soap because they assume it will result in the cloths coming out cleaner. However, the opposite actually happens.
When too much soap is used, the cloths stain easier and become a lot less efficient at cleaning. This is because soap and cleaning products, such as glass or counter cleaner, can hinder how the material attracts and traps dirt, liquid, and debris.
When washing the cloths separately from the rest of your laundry loads, you’ll only need a minimal amount of detergent. If you feel like you want them to be extra clean, pre-treat and soak them in a bowl for a little bit or in the washer while on a pre-soak setting.
8. Consider Soaking Them In Vinegar
People often notice how stiff microfiber cloths and towels can get over time. In fact, it’s common enough that some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the topic tend to be how do you soften microfiber towels and cloths, or how do you make microfiber cloths less stiff?
Microfiber products becoming stiff is usually due to an overload of cleaning products, dirt, and soap. One way to combat stiffness in microfiber towels and cloths is to soak or treat them with vinegar.
Vinegar works great as a laundry softener in general. This is because it can break down soap, grease, and other things that can clog the material. Because of this, vinegar is also ideal for improving the performance of your microfiber products too.
It’s something we like to do every month or so right after we’ve washed our cloths and while they’re still wet from the washer. Or you can wait until you notice they’re starting to become grubby and stiff again.
If you feel that your cloths aren’t working like they used to, or if they seem stiff, try soaking them in a bowl full of water and with about a ½ cup or more of vinegar. Rinse the cloths clean when you’re done soaking them. You can then wring them out and dry them accordingly. We sometimes add vinegar to the washer during the rinse cycle, then toss them in the dryer on low heat.
9. Avoid Using Too Much Heat
Aside from too much soap, excessive heat can potentially ruin microfiber also. This is why most product manufacturers recommend washing microfiber products on a Cool to Warm setting.
You can then hang them to dry, if you prefer, or throw them in the dryer on Tumble or Air Dry. Avoiding scalding or boiling-hot water while cleaning microfiber or with a microfiber product is generally recommended for this same reason.
10. Ditch the Fabric Softener & Dryer Sheets
Just as how detergents, certain liquids, and cleaning products can damage or clog up the fibers on your cloths, polishing cloths, towels, or microfiber cleaning tools, so can fabric softener and dryer sheets. This is why it’s essential not to use either option while washing microfiber. It’s also why people are generally encouraged to wash microfiber separate from other types of laundry and to avoid lint or too much heat.
If you accidentally wash your microfiber with fabric softener or dryer sheets, try soaking them in vinegar water for a bit to help remove any potential residue.
11. Rinse Frequently
To keep your cloths fresh while you have them out and to keep them lasting longer in general, try rinsing and wringing them out well after each use. It’s common for people to neglect rinsing their microfiber out—especially when using them for everyday use, such as in the kitchen.
Rinsing and wringing them out well after each use will help ensure that the product works as well as it should be each time since any debris, dirt, or liquid will be more easily absorbed or picked up. Rinsing can also help you to avoid possible staining as well.
12. Less is More (use less water)
One great thing about using microfiber is that it often works great just using water. This is mostly due to the fabric’s design, and because water is a natural and mild solvent and it attracts dust, debris, liquid, and dirt—almost like a magnet.
However, using too much water can also make the cloth work less effectively since it can clog up the fibers. Make sure to wring your cloth out well before using it. I like to wring out mine as much as possible and then once or twice more, which seems to provide the right amount of dampness for cleaning.
13. Switch Them Regularly
Microfiber can usually be used for a while before it needs to be switched out. However, this might depend on what you’re using them for. You can help keep them lasting longer and for more washes if you switch them out regularly. They’ll also clean and smell a lot better too.
If you use them for moderate cleaning jobs, such as weekly dusting, you probably could keep the same one out for longer (i.e., one per every week or two).
If you use them for daily cleaning jobs, like kitchen counters, then it’s good to switch them out every one to three days. Again, this depends on the kind of messes you’ve been cleaning up. Generally speaking, if the cloth or microfiber product is pretty grimy on day one, even after rinsing it out, it’s probably a good time to ditch and switch.
Cloths should be exchanged for a new one immediately whenever raw meat or large amounts of bacteria might be a concern, just to be safe. You can also use paper towels instead if you’re concerned about cross-contamination, which is what we usually prefer to do.
Microfiber products are usually considered effective for a certain amount of time or uses. This can vary by brand, blend, weave, and quality. Manufacturers typically state that their cloths or towels are good for up to x-amount of uses or washes. For instance, according to the manufacturer, some of E-Cloth’s products are good for up to 300 or more washes, depending on the product.
While your microfiber cloths will undoubtedly lose their luster and a bit of their performance, you can still repurpose them for messier jobs. This way, you can tackle the dirtier jobs with the older cloths and avoid ruining or staining your good or newer ones.
Knowing how to wash and maintain microfiber cloths, towels, and pads can be essential in keeping them lasting longer and working as they should be. Fortunately, it’s easy to do once you have a system in place. Just make sure that whatever method you use is one that both you and the rest of the household will understand and can keep track of. That way, everyone can be on the same page.
Here are the other main takeaways:
- Designate the cloths by type, color, quality, room, etc..
- Consider storing dirty ones in a separate bin, bucket, or hamper.
- Wash them regularly and separately.
- Rinse and wring them out thoroughly while using.
- Use less detergent and cleaner product.
- Avoid harsh chemicals such as bleach.
- Avoid high amounts of heat.
- To freshen and soften them up, soak or rinse them with some vinegar in a bowl, a sink, or inside the washing machine.
- Always have extra backups.
Have any microfiber cloth tips or a favorite brand to check out? Let us know down in the comments, and don’t forget to check out the related posts down below!
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