The Magic of Microfiber

Here’s the truth about why microfiber towels and mops work so well and it’s not magic (sorry about the headline).

Microfiber Towels

If you took a microfiber towel, cut off one fiber, then cut that fiber into tiny pieces and looked at them under a really powerful microscope, they would look like an asterisk (*). Which means that each fiber has a ton of surface area to pick up soils that you can and can’t see. Conversely, cotton towel or paper towel fibers have much less surface area, and cannot pick up a large variety of soils.

Microfiber picks up watery and oily soils. That’s why new, clean microfiber towels stick to your hand. If you were to fold several of microfiber towels after washing (we have thousands) after about 5 minutes your hands would be so dry they might start cracking.

In our public health seminar we demonstrate the magic of microfiber with a little contest. We have a mirror smeared with butter. One person tries to clean it with water and a paper towel and the other person uses a microfiber towel. After about 7 seconds the microfiber side is clean and the paper towel side is a smudgy mess.

Recommended uses of microfiber

All general cleaning activities
Sometimes, microfiber will leave extra fibers on glass, if you don’t like how that looks I recommend using a squeegee for glass cleaning

Carpet, upholstery, and fabric spotting
Next time you have a spill or drip, try to transfer the soil from your fabric to a clean microfiber towel. Use a little water, if necessary. It won’t work every time, but it good to try this first before using any product that may do more harm than good.

Dry dusting
Using a microfiber towel or duster for dusting can eliminate more standard options that simply push the dust around or lift it back into the airspace to land on a different object or breathe in.

Vehicle interior and exterior cleaning
Many people keep microfiber towels in their car for drying water drops after a car wash or detailing the interior of their car. Use a dry microfiber towel to remove the haze from interior glass.

How to care for your microfiber towels

-Wash your microfiber towels and mops together and do not combine them with other fabrics. Lint from the other fabrics will stick to the microfiber

-Use half of the amount of detergent you would normally use. Microfiber will release the soils they are holding very easily in water and minimal detergent. When you use too much detergent you risk not rinsing all of it out and your microfiber towel will be streaky

-Do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets. The residue from these products will stay in the microfiber and will then streak on your surfaces

-Dry on low heat. Microfibers can melt under high heat and lose surface area.

With proper usage and care you microfiber towels and mops can last from 50 to 100 washings. When your microfiber towels stop sticking to your dry hands, you know they are losing their surface area and it’s time to retire them into the slop rag/really dirty cleaning pile.

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