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Microfiber - Lack or Luster?

Where Microfiber Really Shines and Not so Much

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Microfiber - Lack or Luster?

Microfiber Cloths

Photo © Mifflin
Microfiber is the name given to a dense synthetic blend of polyesters including polyamides and other man-made fibers. In order to be considered microfiber, the minute fibers must meet a certain density standard. Actual blends of materials vary amongst manufacturers and fiber details are not often listed on their products.

There's nothing really natural about these fibers, but they are ultra-fine and very dense in their make-up, which gives them great absorbency properties depending of course, on the particular fiber blend. They are also very soft and durable making them ideal cleaning cloths.

These kinds of fibers have been around for decades, but often sporting different brand names. What is amazing is how the manufacturers have been able to refine microfiber from its stiffer vintage grid-patterned cloths, to a much finer, softer and more usable product.

A fiber blend that started out as cleaning cloths years ago, has now also been incorporated in many household and personal items. You can find microfiber in cleaning cloths, linens, floor mops, polishing rags, clothing and even furniture upholstery - just to name a few.

But, is microfiber really worth the applause marketers seem to give it? I've had a few microfiber cleaning cloths around the house for several years, but every time I tried to use them, the fine, soft fibers would tend to stick to my hands, as if my skin was sandpaper. Not a great feeling - that kind of friction just made them less desirable to handle. However, every now and then, I've steeled myself to get past the handling feel and onto cleaning results and I've come to depend on them.

Where I've found microfiber to really shine, is in its ability to grab and hold regular household dust so it's great for dusting, but it also easily wipes the white dust that tends to attract to electronics in the general area of an active humidifier. That white dust is mineral scale deposits, which varies in quantity depending on the hardness of your water. Note however, that you should only use a clean microfiber cloth on electronics and delicate surfaces. Since this material has such good absorbing qualities, it can hold debris or particles from previous dusting that could scratch sensitive items.

Microfiber also works great for dry dusting pictures and ornaments. So for dusting, I highly recommend microfiber and use it dry. This is one area that can save you money on dusting/polishing sprays, since you don't need them - in fact you shouldn't use them with microfiber.

It also does wonders to simply dry wipe mirrors or bathroom fixtures, as well as the vehicle dashboard. Used wet (without cleaners), it does a nice job for cleaning the bathroom sink, but lacks when it comes to a kitchen sink which tends to have a greasy build-up. This cleaning product is ideal for those with allergies or homemakers who want to avoid using cleaning formulas or furniture sprays.

As for microfiber in floor mop products, when used dry to dust wood or laminate floors, or to 'dust' the ceiling, these products work very well. However, many steam mop pads are microfiber and though manufacturers mean well - the cloths do a great job of absorbing and cleaning, they tend to leave more streaks on the floor, than cotton fiber mop heads would. Though I do use them, cotton pads are really my preference.

When it comes to sporting clothing, microfiber is a good fit because of its abilities to wick moisture, keeping the person dryer. Because of the polyester blends, it would also be warmer with its heat retaining properties. As for furniture upholstery, it can be beneficial because of its ability to repel water or spills, but when it comes to bedding, there's definitely a learning curve. Microfiber tends to stick to you, which I found uncomfortable especially for bed sheets and tend to be annoying for those who move around a lot. So I wouldn't recommend microfiber bed linens.

Since exact materials woven into microfiber vary, washing instructions also can be different, but as a general rule, they can be machine washed in cold to warm water, but do not use any chlorine bleach or fabric softener. Also use a lower dryer heat. Fabric softeners, whether liquid or dryer sheets tends to negate the attracting properties of microfiber, which is what makes them good dusting cloths. It's always advisable to verify washing instructions on the product tag.

Microfiber may not be a one-size-fits-all type of textile, but it does have great practical uses as cleaning or dusting cloths or dry floor mops. It may also be ideal for personal sport clothing. Microfiber upholstery may be subject to preference. Just don't invest a lot money till you know for certain that you like the product for a particular use. Often also referred to as microfibre, these cleaning cloths tend to be priced a little higher that others, but they are worth it and will probably last longer. They also wash up nicely.

Compare Prices of Microfiber Products
Compare Prices of Microfiber Cleaning Products

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