Fast-forward to the past few years. . .I have begun trying to lessen the chemicals that I use in my home. I would love to eliminate chemicals; however, there are a few I haven't been able to come up with an adequate equivalent. I did, though, purchase a package of the cleaning rags - better known as microfiber cloths. This time, I fell in love.
I purchased my microfibers in a four piece package for about $10. The four pieces were for different uses: general, kitchen & bath, glass, and electronics. The general and k&b cloths felt the same to me; however, they were colored differently and the kitchen one had a pattern on it. The glass and electronic cloths felt different from the others in that they were smoother (not as itchy), but between them the only difference that I could tell was the color.
I began with the general cloth for dusting. The books I read about being chemical-free said to just use water for cleaning. . .so I dampened the cloth. For dusting, I could have used just the dry cloth, but I still feel that it is itchy so I wet it. I was about to dust the most noticeable dust collector in my house. . .our cherry headboard of our bed. We have a sleigh bed and the top curve attracts about an inch of dust a week. . .somehow. The dusting cloth worked wonders. . .so I continued. To me, it is so simple to just dampen the cloth, go quickly around my house, and dust all dustable surfaces with one cloth.
When I used the kitchen and bath cloth, I didn't feel that it was all that special or that it was very different from the general dusting cloth. I would probably only use it for one room or the other, since germs are ideally more prevalent in the bathroom and need to be pretty extinct in the kitchen. I have used my cloth for drying dishes, but prefer a regular dishcloth. My reasoning for that is that even though the cloths hold a lot of water, they are rather resistant to water until they get wet overall. I felt that a regular dishcloth was fine.
I loved the glass cloth - what a replacement for glass cleaning solutions. I wet the cloth and try to wring as much water out of it as I can. Then I clean the mirrors in my bathroom and bedroom. Upon first using the cloth, I was skeptical because the cloth left water behind on the mirror, but once the water dried, I did not notice that water spots were left behind - except once. . .maybe I didn't wring the cloth out enough first. We'll see how it works when I spring clean my windows. . .
I use the electronic one every once in a while on our electronics and it works well - just no rave reviews. :)
I also keep a general cloth in my car for wiping my dusty dashboard. I got that cloth in a package of leather cleaner. It worked well for that purpose, but I can use any cloth for that. The cloth also does wonders when I do miraculous things like spill my coffee. . .
Another product I use is Bona. Bona is a floor cleaning system that contains a mop (like Swiffer) that has one each of a re-usable dust mop and a microfiber cleaning pad. The cleaner is bio-degradable and safe for kids and pets. . .so I don't have to worry when Daisy insists on inspecting my mop job. :)
I use my cloths/Bona until they are dirty, then wash them all together in one load. One cannot wash them with regular towels because of the lint; also, one should not not wash them with fabric softener because the oil in the softener clogs the fibers.
When doing research for this post, I was interested in finding an illustration that shows how microfiber works better than regular cloths - the microfiber is the top and the regular is the bottom.
Notice that while the microfiber leaves no residue (unless there are particles that didn't get cleaned out from the last time), the regular fiber does leave a residue.
Also, the article I read in Wikipedia included a study done in a hospital regarding the difference between using microfiber mops opposed to traditional mops. The first interesting finding was that workers comp claims from slipping on floors lessened from 15% to 2%. In addition to that fact, the floors that were mopped were tested for bacteria. The floors that were mopped with traditional mops were left with 66% bacteria. The floors that were mopped with microfiber were only left with 1%.
Some good things about them that I have come up with are that they:
- absorb 7x their weight in liquid
- are machine washable
- eliminate the need for certain cleaning supplies (although I try to suppress the curious side of me that wants to try cool, new, expensive cleaning products!)
- can be used for multiple surfaces
- either greatly lessens or eliminates the need for paper towels
- last longer and require less effort than regular material
P.S. Microfiber does tend to be flammable and does emit toxic gases when burning. I wouldn't recommend placing them on the stovetop. . .I've destroyed more potholders that way. . .