How to use microfiber tools safely and effectively
The Environmental Protection Agency, weighing in on the marvels of microfiber, has touted its ability to remove large quantities of microbes as it cleans and also absorbs seven times its weight in water! With the battle against COVID-19 upon us, microfiber can serve as a powerful weapon to fight this virus one cleaning at a time.
There’s some significant science behind the magic of microfiber. It seems that cleaning-grade microfiber, called split microfiber, contains fibers that are 200 times thinner than a single human hair. This means higher absorbency, which in part is why microfiber cleaning cloths and mops work so well, especially for removing dirt, oils, grease, and wet messes from surfaces.
The other major factor in the magic of microfiber is its positive energy charge, which attracts negatively charged materials like dirt and grease. What’s more, the innate antimicrobial properties of microfiber actually allow you to clean surfaces without needing any chemicals at all! Microfiber also dries much faster than cotton cloths, making it very difficult for bacteria to grow in it. That being said, it is still durable enough to be machine washed or can be cleaned by hand.
As with all things, there are different variations of microfiber and some work better than others. One rule of thumb for deciphering the quality is the skin catch test. You will know it is of better quality if it catches on your skin slightly when brushed across your hand. A test for absorbency is also telling of quality. If the material pushes the water from a spill rather than absorbing it, it isn’t the higher quality split fiber you’re looking for.
How to Make the Most of Your Microfiber:
- Use only one section of the cloth at a time. One way to achieve this is by folding the cloth into half, then in half again. This in effect gives you eight surfaces for cleaning — four on each side.
- For dusting (and microfiber is one of the best materials to use for this), leave the cloth dry or only slightly dampened if necessary. For other chores, dampen the cloth, then wipe surfaces clean.
- When you notice the cloth beginning to leave behind residue it’s time to re-fold to your the next section. Repeat this process until you’ve used the entire cloth or have completed your task.
- After each use you should rinse the microfiber cloth with warm to hot water (or whichever water, based on its label recommendations, for 10-15 seconds or until the water runs clear. After rinsing you can actually use your cloth again right away if needed.
- If you use your microfiber cloths daily, you should run them through the washer about once a week. Rinse them first and then throw them in with your regular load of laundry. It’s best not to use bleach or fabric softener though as these will damage your cloth.
- Follow care instructions for drying as they may vary based on the type of cloth, mop head or duster you are using.
- If you do find that your microfiber cloths aren’t working as well or start to smell, you can try boiling them in water and one-fourth cup of baking soda for 10-15 minutes.