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Tips For Washing Microfiber Towels

Incredibly soft and strong, microfiber towels are increasingly becoming a popular cleaning tool. They're useful in all sorts of businesses and industries, as well as in the home. The fibers in these unique cloths have a slight static charge that makes them powerhouses of dusting and cleanup jobs. But if you've ever tried using microfiber towels then tried washing them, you know that they're different from your basic cotton towels.

The good news is that microfiber cloth is generally very easy to take care of if you know just a few simple care tips. Let's take a look at just what makes up microfiber cloth and how to best take care of it. That way, your towels will be long-lasting and perform at their best.

What Is Microfiber?

Quickly gaining in popularity across many industries, microfiber towels are a powerful cleaning tool. As the name suggests, microfiber fabric is made from very small fibers of synthetic materials derived from plastics. In fact, these laboratory-created fibers are much smaller than human hair or silk fibers.

 

The fibers in microfiber cloth are created in a way so that the fibers are split. As a result, there's more cleaning surface area and the fabric is more porous, aiding in the towel's ability to clean and absorb moisture. The fibers in this type of cloth are also less likely to shed or cause excess lint.

The main fibers that make up microfiber cloth are polyester and polyamide (better known as nylon), but the towels can include other fibers as well. The combinations of fibers vary too. Between manufacturers and different ratios of the two materials, as well as the way the fibers are laid out, various methods can be used to create specialty cloths for everything from car detailing to glass cleaning. The polyester in the fabric gives the scrubbing power to the fabric, and the polyamide gives the towel structure and absorbency. The combination of the two materials is microfiber's secret to success.

Microfiber towels look plush and feel incredibly soft to the touch. However, due to their unique composition of fibers, they're more than just soft, fluffy towels. They're also known for being very strong.

The fiber structure in this material is the same no matter how the towel is woven, but each type of weave is ideally suited for different types of jobs. For example, more plush microfiber towels are great for dusting delicate surfaces, and flat weaves work best for glass cleaning and other detail work where a streak-free appearance is the goal. The fibers are uniform throughout the entire towel, as opposed to cotton, which can vary widely and have inconsistent fibers of all shapes and sizes.

How Do Microfiber Towels Work?

If you've used other materials for cleaning, like cotton rags and towels or paper towels, you know that they can just smear dirt and moisture around — it's hard to get a surface truly clean without much difficulty. This application is where microfiber cloth really shines. Microfiber towels can be used wet or dry and are much more absorbent than other materials, so they'll do a much better job of cleaning just about anything.

Because the fibers in this cloth are so fine — and because they're split — microfiber fabrics also hold a slight static charge. As a result, even when they're used dry, they attract and hold onto dust and dirt like a magnet.

These fibers are also especially good at picking up fats and oils, so they can be great for use with greasy kitchen messes, even without the use of harsh chemicals. In fact, it's best to use the cloths with very little water or cleaning solution on them, and they should never be over-saturated. That way, the natural static works better to clean up messes, and you'll save money by using fewer cleaning products than you'd need with other cleaning cloths.

How to Care for Microfiber Towels

To keep your microfiber towels looking their best — and working well too — you need to properly care for them. Neglecting to wash and care for these miracle cloths the right way can lead to reduced cleaning efficiency. But don't worry — it's not difficult to care for these useful towels at all. Just follow a few simple tips, and your towels will be in their best shape for a long time. Here are some tips for how to clean microfiber cloths properly:

how to care for microfiber towels

  • Wash after every use: To keep these cleaning cloths working at their best, wash them after every use. It can be tempting to just dry them out and use them again, but depending on the type of mess you've cleaned, doing so can lead to cross-contamination of substances, as well as make them harder to clean if stains and buildup dry onto the cloth and sit on the surface longer. You should try to make sure you have lots of microfiber towels on hand so that it's easy to grab a clean one and throw your dirty ones right into the wash pile. Protect your investment in microfiber towels with regular cleanings.
  • Separate and color-code your towels: If you use microfiber towels in several different areas of your home or business, you'll want to keep them separate according to their use. For example, you wouldn't want to use the same cloth in the kitchen, in the garage and for dusting. Designate a color for each purpose to make cleaning and sorting easier. If possible, wash these groups separately as well to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Wash microfiber with other microfiber: Try to keep these cloths separate from other items in the wash, especially cotton, other towels and anything else that easily gives off lint. Because microfiber attracts lint, dust and other fibers so easily, any lint that's lost in the laundry will cling to the microfiber and decrease its effectiveness. Only wash microfiber with other microfiber items if possible.
  • Do not use fabric softener: This laundry additive sticks to and clogs the fibers in fabric. In the case of microfiber, it reduces the absorbency of the towels. This advice goes the same for dryer sheets or all other chemical laundry additives.
  • Do not use bleach: Bleach can be too harsh a cleaner for this type of fabric, easily damaging the towels' fibers.
  • Use the right kind of detergent: In general, most detergents should be just fine, but for the best results, make sure what you choose is free from bleach, fabric softeners and added perfumes. It should be clean-rinsing and gentle. In addition, it shouldn't deposit any substances on the cloth. Natural and unscented brands are best for this purpose. Some experts recommend using only a liquid detergent and no powders or pods.
  • Use an extra rinse cycle: If your washing machine has this option, go for an extra rinse to get rid of excess dirt and buildup.
  • Use warm water: Some heat is necessary to break down any greasy or waxy buildup, but you don't need to use hot water. Cold water may not be as effective for washing microfiber, and hot water can break down the towel's fibers faster. Warm water will open up the fibers so that they can easily release their dirt and grime and help to melt away buildup.
  • Don't use a dryer: It's best to just avoid the dryer with microfiber, but if you must go this route, use a low dryer setting and the lowest heat possible. Too much heat can damage the fibers of a microfiber cloth. Line drying is also fine, as long as the microfiber is not in danger of any lint contamination while it's air-drying. Microfiber cloth dries very quickly, so don't worry — air drying will be quick and easy.
  • Don't iron microfiber: If you're ever tempted to try to iron your microfiber cloths, remember that the heat can be extremely damaging. Really, there shouldn't be any need for ironing. Just wash, dry and fold the towels.

How to Wash Microfiber Towels With Heavy Stains

When your microfiber cloths have serious stains, pre-treat them with an all-purpose cleaner or stain treatment product and rub the towel against itself to scrub the product in. If possible, complete this step as soon as you notice the stains, and then pre-soak or set aside for the laundry later. Launder as usual when you're ready to do a full load. If a towel becomes overly stained, it may be time to retire it to a different, dirtier job.

Depending on what you use your microfiber towels for, they may have other types of chemical buildups that require a heavier cleaning as well. If the cloths are used for most indoor tasks like dusting or kitchen cleaning, for example, the cleaning methods we describe in this article should work just fine, with a deep cleaning every once in a while for maintenance. However, if you use microfiber cloths for heavier jobs like any industrial, workshop or auto shop applications, your process may be different.

With heavier jobs, the residue buildup from paints, sealants, waxes and similar substances can often be harder to clean. If this is the case, more frequent deep cleanings may be in order, as well as the use of stronger detergents or stripping agents. You can also use a stiff cleaning brush to help heavier, more stubborn substances work their way out of the fibers of the cloth.

Storing Microfiber Cloths

When your microfiber cloths are all clean, you should always remember to store them in a clean, protected area. An enclosed shelving unit with doors and plastic totes with lids are both good solutions. You'll want a storage solution that keeps your microfiber cloths clean and free of dust and lint. This type of enclosure will keep them performing at their best — just be sure that your towels are completely dry before you store them. Damp towels won't dry in an enclosed location, which can eventually lead to mildew and smelly towels.

Deep Cleaning Microfiber

You may notice that your microfiber cloths lose absorbency over time or just don't work as well as they did before. If you're in such a situation, it may be time for a deeper cleaning. Towels can stop being as effective for a number of reasons. Perhaps fabric softener was used accidentally a few times, or residue has just built up over time from normal use. Whatever the reason, if your towels just don't feel right or aren't doing their job anymore, consider performing the following deep-cleaning procedure:

  1. Fill a large cooking pot about two-thirds full with water, and add in a couple of ounces of plain white vinegar. Bring this mixture to a boil.
  2. Gather all of your towels needing a deep clean and add a few at a time to the boiling pot, maintaining a low boil. Stir constantly using a wooden spoon. Don't let the towels sit for too long on the edges of the pot or they may burn.
  3. Stir the towels for about a minute to a minute and a half. Remove each and rinse in cold water.
  4. Wash all of the towels as normal after this procedure. They should be good as new, but if they still don't perform well, it may be time to retire them to other tasks.

How Long Do Microfiber Cloths Last?

Most microfiber cloths are very durable, and with proper care, they can last for several years and anywhere from 500 to 1,000 washings. This span ultimately depends on how the towels are used, how often and how they're cared for. Better care will, of course, result in a much longer lifespan for your microfiber towels.

Re-stock Your Microfiber Towels

If your towels are ready for replacement or you're ready to invest in stock microfiber towels for your home or business, check out the selection at Towel Super Center. We have high-quality wholesale microfiber towels at great prices and in a wide selection of colors. Whatever type of business you own — restaurant, bar, salon, gym, hotel or something else — microfiber towels can be a great investment for all sorts of cleaning jobs around your space.

Follow the tips above to keep your towels in their best condition, and they'll last a long time. It's not difficult to clean and maintain these multi-purpose towels. Just remember the basics: Avoid heat, bleach and fabric softeners, and you'll keep your microfiber towels in great shape for years to come.

 

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