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Sustainability at Work

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Microfiber Cloths

Microfiber cloths are replacing conventional cleaning products – sponges, mops, and conventional cleaning products – in home, office, and janitorial settings. 

Why are microfibers so great?

  1. They do a better job of capturing dirt, oils, grease and germs.
  2. They can be used over and over again, and just need a rinse or washing in between uses.
  3. They can often be used with just water, forgoing the need for chemical cleaners.
  4. They use less water than conventional cleaning methods [1].
  5. They’re hygienic. Hospitals are switching to cleaning with microfibers because they reduce injuries, kill more germs and reduce costs [1,2].

If microfibers can clean a hospital, they can clean your office! 

Where to use microfibers

  • Your desk and computer.
  • Kitchen counters and tables.
  • Floors – dry microfiber for dusting/sweeping and wet for mopping.

Microfiber cloths come in different styles for different purposes, so be sure to buy ones that fit your needs. Thicker, rugged towels are better for cleaning and dusting, whereas thin, smooth towels are better for polishing surfaces [3]. 

What are they? 

stack of microfiber clothsMicrofiber cloths are made of tiny synthetic fibers that are smaller than a strand of silk and can be over 100 times thinner than a strand of human hair [4]. Made from polyester and polyamide (nylon), they are designed with a specific size, shape and proportion of fibers to be most effective at a specific type of cleaning.


close up microfiber trapping dust graphic

How they work

A positive charge attracts dust and dirt particles and holds them in place so they are not redistributed around the room [1]. Microfiber cloths clean without streaking, smearing, scratching or leaving lint. How?

  • Split microfibers trap dust, liquid and other particles better than smooth cotton fibers.
  • Microfibers can trap oils and grease [4].

The image compares a cross-section of a microfiber cloth (top) with a cotton cloth (bottom).

What to look for when buying

  1. Before buying, touch the cloth. If it catches slightly on your hand, it’s higher quality than those that don’t [5].
  2. Read How to Buy Microfiber Towels’ steps 4-9 for tips on where to buy different microfiber clothes. 

Over time, microfiber cloths can save you money because they are so long lasting. Microfiber cloths make your workplace a safer, healthier place to be. 

Washing microfiber clothswashing microfiber cloths

  • Wash in standard washers with mild detergents that do not contain bleach, caustics or harsh chemicals that can degrade the microfiber.
  • Wash with cold or warm water, NOT hot.
  • Never use fabric softeners with microfiber cloths [6].
  • Do not wash or dry them with lint generating items.
  • Dry on the lowest heat setting [6].
  • Shake dust out of cloths after each use and wash weekly [7].

Don't have a washing machine at work? Try rinsing them in the sink. Or create a sign-up sheet for staff to volunteer to wash them at home (rewarding staff will help!).

Store microfiber cloths in a clean bag, cabinet or drawer to keep them from collecting dirt and dust between uses. 


  1. 10 Reasons to Use Microfiber Mopping
  2. UC Davis Pioneers Use of Microfiber Mops in Hospitals
  3. How to Buy Microfiber Towels
  4. What is Microfiber
  5. Good-bye cotton cloths and sponges, hello microfiber!
  6. The Microfiber Manifesto: Everything you Need to Know About Microfiber Towels
  7. Why the Right Microfiber Cloth is Important When Cleaning Screens
  8. Using Microfiber Mops in Hospitals
  9. What's so great about microfiber?
  10. How to Choose the Right Microfiber Cloth for the Job
  11. How to Clean a Laptop Screen with Household Products

Researched and written in 2014-2015.