Microfiber towels are very effective house cleaning tools. However, many myths have circulated about why microfiber is superior and how to most effectively utilize the technology in the cleaning process. Misunderstanding how and why microfiber works may result in unnecessarily overpaying for the cleaning tool, shortening its lifespan, and leaving surfaces dirty. Here are the facts to help people decide to switch to microfiber cloths for a better and more confident clean.
Myth #1 Microfiber cleans surfaces with magical chemical properties.
Not true! The “magic” is entirely scientific. All cleaning towels woven from natural or synthetic fibers function in the same manner. The fibers absorb liquid while the spaces and holes in the weave pattern trap and hold dirt. The more spaces and grooves, the more dirt the fabric can capture. Microfiber is an excellent cleaning tool because of the thinness of its fibers. One hundred microfibers equal the thickness of a single human hair. Manufacturers of advanced microfibers enhance the cloth’s amazing ability to absorb liquid and capture dirt by shredding the fibers to create even more dirt-trapping power. Fabrics woven from advanced microfibers contain millions of holes and grooves that can ensnare 100 times more dirt than a cotton towel. Microfiber towels make mirrors and wood floors shine because the cloths are superior to cotton at removing the dirt and soapy water residue that leave streaks.
Myth #2 All microfiber towels are equal, so do not waste money on the more expensive ones.
False! As with anything, the method of production and the quality of ingredients make a difference in the final product. With microfibers, both the quality and ratio of the synthetic materials making up the fibers and the machinery used to extrude and weave fibers into fabrics can make a significant difference in cleaning performance. The best quality microfiber is usually a combination of polyester – which attracts oils – and polyamide – which absorb water. Advanced manufacturing machinery can produce finer, more split threads and can weave microfibers into a wide variety of patterns. Some patterns glide more smoothly when wet, which reduces fatigue when mopping. Other patterns are designed to scrub more effectively in slippery conditions, making them ideal for cleaning bathrooms. Poorly made microfiber towels absorb less liquid, trap less dirt, shed more broken fibers when laundered, and provide less fiber density per inch. These factors combined result in having to scrub harder and longer to clean with towels that wear out more quickly.
Myth #3 Microfiber can be washed with another laundry.
Incorrect! The best quality microfiber costs a few dollars per towel. Taking proper care of the fibers ensures optimal cleaning performance and the longest lifespan for the investment. Do not use heat to wash and dry microfibers since high temperatures can melt and shrink the split fibers. Microfiber subjected to heat permanently damages the towels and reduces their cleaning effectiveness. Wash microfiber in warm water and minimize dryer heat. Because microfiber is very effective at capturing or trapping, it will grab loose fibers from other fabrics and can deposit some of these fibers on mirrors and other surfaces. Washing microfiber towels in isolation prevents them from picking up cotton or lint. Most importantly, use simple detergents and do not apply fabric softeners when washing microfiber towels. Polymers and oils fill the holes in microfiber cloths, making them slick and much less absorbent. To preserve the effectiveness of microfiber towels and to maintain their softness and fluffiness, use plastic dryer balls, which will also beat out all the hairs and fibers the towels collected when used in cleaning.
Myth #4 Microfiber is so effective only water is required in the cleaning process.
This statement bears some truth. Microfiber traps dirt and oils and absorbs water, making it an effective substitute for detergents. However, this only applies when it comes to lifting light soils away from non-porous surfaces. Surfaces that are heavily soiled, especially porous surfaces, require detergent to break apart thick soils and lift them out of surface grooves and pits. Complex soils, such as soap scum and hard water stains, are chemically bonded to the surface and must be dissolved by a chemical reaction before they can be rinsed and wiped away. The microfiber quality does not matter in the case of complex soils. Microfiber also possesses no germ-killing ability. This inability to kill germs should be kept in mind when cleaning germ-prone areas such as a bathroom.
Failure to use proper cleaning solutions could leave behind dangerous germs. Microfiber is not a replacement for disinfecting cleaners in germ-prone areas like bathrooms and kitchen countertops. For a disinfecting and sanitizing clean, use appropriate cleaning and disinfecting solutions.
Myth #5 Adding silver to microfiber gives it antibacterial properties.
To a limited degree, this statement is true but only in certain circumstances. Most every cleaning myth (or marketing sham) has a small kernel of truth. Microfibers treated with expensive chemical additives or microfiber cloths with silver filaments which do have antibacterial properties are an option. It is true expensive antibacterial microfiber towels grow fewer bacteria while waiting to be washed. The reduction in onboard bacteria causes less of an odor, and bleach is not needed to kill germs on the cloth. But the microfiber cloths treated with the chemical additives or containing the silver filaments do nothing to protect from germs lurking on home surfaces. Soap, water, and quality microfiber cloths will wash many germs away. If the flu or a pesky cold is in the home, a disinfectant is required for high-touch surfaces. Laundering contaminated microfiber towels promptly with bleach in the wash cycle is adequate. Untreated and much less expensive microfiber is all that is needed if used in this manner.
Microfiber technology is a revolutionary advance in the cleaning process. Those using a maid service to clean their home should inquire if the service uses microfiber towels. A homeowner can have peace of mind living in a house that is cleaned using this innovative technology in concert with other tried-and-true cleaning methods.