The Single Worst Thing You Can Do to Your Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

updated Dec 15, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Microfiber cloths are an essential and slightly magical kitchen multitool. Because they contain nylon, which has a static electric charge, microfiber cleaning cloths pick up and trap dirt and dust particles like a magnet. Plus, as you could guess by the name, microfibers are tiny, resulting in far more fibers — and far more cleaning and scrubbing power — than the average paper towel or washcloth. Another bonus: They’re eco-friendly, because you don’t have to throw them away after a single use!

The average microfiber cloth can withstand several hundred washings, which means it should last you a few years. But you do actually have to be careful of one thing when you wash them: the soap. In fact, the single worst thing you can do for your microfiber clothes is to use too much detergent or a soap that’s too harsh. Harsh soap or detergent (and simply too much of it) can cover the cloth’s nylon fibers, resulting in a less effective cleaning tool in the long run.

Instead of tossing your lightly soiled or dusty microfiber in the laundry with your dirty clothes and bath towels, try hand washing them instead — without any soap at, actually. Simply run room-temperature water in a clean sink or basin, agitate the cloths with your hands or a soft-bristled brush, soak them in the water for 20-30 minutes, then hand agitate again. Once you’ve soaked them, rinse under clean water, wring out, and hang to dry. They should be clean and good to use again!

Related: The Best Way to Clean All Your Dirty Microfiber Cloths

If’ve used a microfiber cloth to clean up a grimy or germ-y mess, you’ll definitely want to use soap, which pulls the dirt particles off the fiber. Just be careful not to use too much of it (and never use bleach). One way to prevent damage to your cloths is to wash them separately. Not only can other types of fabric, especially cotton, damage the nylon fibers; you’ll also be prompted to use less detergent than you would, say, for a load of sweaty workout clothes. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How much detergent should you use with microfiber cloths? As a general rule, it’s best to use one to two teaspoons of laundry soap, max, in every load of microfiber cloths. If they’re stinky, you can add some white vinegar or pre-soak with it.

Here are some other rules to follow.

  • Use cold or warm water during the wash cycle. Never use hot water, as it can melt the fibers.
  • Don’t use fabric softener, which can easily clog the open spaces in the microfiber and make it less effective.
  • Skip the dryer and air dry instead. You might be surprised how quickly microfiber dries!

It might take a little more work and care on the front-end, but protecting your microfiber cloths will ultimately save you money and time in the future!

How do you clean your microfiber cloths? Tell us in the comments below.