Thursday, October 11, 2012

Microfiber Care

I had heard about how fabulous microfiber is for cleaning.  The tiny fibers (thinner than a human hair--sometimes by 1/200) clean anything with just water, so you can ditch harsh cleaners and stop using paper towels--saving money, time, and the planet! They are also great for dusting when they are dry, and for cleaning cars, glasses, and screens (TV, computer monitor, etc) because they don't scratch.

So when I saw a pack of microfiber cloths at the grocery store a couple of years ago, I snagged them.

They cleaned well-I especially liked the way they removed waxy buildup from my kitchen table: magically.

I did NOT like the way they held onto stains!  I could not get them too look or feel clean!

So I pulled out the big guns and bleached those suckers.

Are you cringing?  I know.  Me too.  I didn't realize that bleach will destroy those tiny little microfibers.  As a side note, fabric softener, instead of softening these cloths, will clog the fibers and make it so they can't pick up dirt or dust anymore.

My poor, pretty, microfiber cloths.  They just got more stained, less soft, and worse at cleaning.

My mother-in-law heard that boiling the microfiber cloths would restore them.  I tried it out, and it helped--though I think that my cloths are probably past saving, the poor dears.

I may try again, and not with grocery store cloths.  Real Simple Magazine says that the best microfiber cloths are from e-cloth.*  But at $30 for a pack of 5 cloths, I had better figure out how to take care of them!

Rule #1:  Just detergent when washing--no bleach, no fabric softer, and no dryer sheets.

Rule #2: High heat will melt the tiny fibers.  Don't wash in hot water, don't dry with high heat, do not iron (raise your hand if YOU iron your cleaning cloths...yeah, me neither.  But several sites mentioned  Consider hanging the cloths up to dry.

Rule #3: Microfiber's amazing dust and lint grabbing powers can work against you in the washer.  Don't wash your cloths with towels, or anything that will clog the fibers with lint.  Consider washing them separately.  Washing them with anything that has velcro (baby bibs, for example) will stick like CRAZY to some microfiber items (such as my steam mop pads), so especially don't wash your cloths with bibs!

Tip #1: To remove stains from your cloths, try boiling them in a pot on the stove with a tablespoon of vinegar in the water.  They say this will allow the fibers to expand and release the dirt they are holding.  I'm wondering if this violates the high heat rule.

Tip #2: They actually sell special detergent for microfiber. It is supposed to break down grease and other buildup without damaging the fibers.  Worth it?  I don't know.

Hopefully with these tips, my new microfiber cloths will last long enough to be worth their price!

How about you?  Are you a microfiber believer? Any tips to keep it fresh and cleaning well?

*I sure wish I was paid for any of the names I dropped in here, but I wasn't! I'm just passing along what I've heard, read, and experienced.

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