The number of cleaning applications for microfiber seems to be growing. In homes, microfiber cleaning clothes are great for dusting and general cleaning. Microfiber also has very specific applications such as cleaning sensitive photographic lenses and detailing cars. Martha Stewart recommends using them in particular on “surfaces prone to scratching, such as computer and television screens and stainless steel appliances.” Lately, microfibers appear in popular Rubbermaid wet mop heads (see our blog Wet Mop Brand Recommendations), and Apple recommends using the cloths for cleaning iPads.
(pictured above is the Wonder Cloth by ACS)
To learn more about the properties, uses, and care for microfiber cleaning cloths, I turned to an expert who is also our supplier, Ted Parish of ACS. Below is a summary of a recent interview with him.
What is a microfiber? By definition a microfiber is a synthetic fiber less than one denier. For comparison purposes the size of a human hair is about 10 denier. Unlike cotton yarns, which are measured by a “count” (think of those 300 thread count or more Egyptian cotton bed sheets), the denier measurement scale goes in the opposite direction, so the lower the denier the finer the thread. Because microfiber is thinner than cotton, the space between threads is larger, which enables the cloths to pick up more dirt or absorb more water. These properties make it excellent for cleaning.
What do you use them for? When microfiber first came out its big claim to fame was that you could use the cloths on glass and mirrors without any water. For cleaning purposes manufacturers actually recommend that you first dampen them with water and wring them out before using them to wipe counters, stove tops, and other things. Dry the clean surface with a separate dry microfiber cleaning cloth or larger microfiber bath towel. The cleaning cloths are also really good for dusting because contrary to cotton, they attract dust and leave no residue.
I heard that you need to be careful when laundering and drying them. Machine wash them just like you would colors. Do not use any bleach or fabric softener. The oils in softener will clog up the fibers. They will last longer if you air dry rather than machine dry them.
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