February 10, 2021

How to Launder Cleaning Cloths

I love cleaning with washable cleaning cloths – they’re versatile, economical, and eco-friendly. My favorite benefit? How well they clean. No lint, no spreading dirt and germs around, and you only need to wipe once and your surface is clean. I tend to get quite a few questions surrounding how I clean cleaning cloths. It’s simple and through this post, I’m going to show you how I launder both microfiber, microfiber blend, and cotton. Surprisingly, they can all be laundered the same way, just not all together.

First things first, check the care label – you’ll see that what I’m using is available in my shop but these instructions are general and work for most cleaning cloths.

A common misconception with any cleaning cloth that you wash and reuse is that it might not be clean or that you might spread germs around from the cloth as you clean. The thing with microfiber is that its ‘micro’ fibers actually grab the dirt and germs and holds on to them in lieu of spreading them around. I think that’s what holds people back from switching from cleaning wipes and paper towels – maybe you can relate? Let’s bust open those misconceptions today and talk about HOW to make sure your cleaning cloths are actually clean before you use them.

Here are a couple basic ‘rules’ for washing cleaning cloths, specifically microfiber or a microfiber blend:

  • Microfiber can be rinsed and wrung out as you are using it – don’t just wipe once (unless it’s toilets or something especially germy/dirty). Rinse, wring out, and continue using.
  • Find a place to hold the microfiber while it’s drying and before you have a load to wash. I keep a bucket in my cleaning closet for any cloths that are really wet and then once they are dry or damp I toss dirty microfiber cloths in a wire basket. If a cloth is wet I drape it over the side of the bucket until it’s dry and then I place it in the basket. Dusting cloths don’t get mixed into this bucket, this bucket is for bathroom cleaning cloths so there isn’t cross-contamination.

  • Wash microfiber only with other microfiber cloths. If you put other laundry items in the washing machine with your microfiber it turns into a static magnet – just avoid that altogether by washing microfiber all by itself. Most of my cleaning cloths are from the bathroom and can be washed separately if necessary.

  • Launder with an enzyme-based detergent – this is crucial because it breaks down any dirt and grime and ensures that you don’t have anything left lingering in the cloths once they’re clean and dry. Both my Laundry Detergent Spray and Super Powder have enzymes in them – you can check out my laundry products here.

  • Do not use fabric softener – it coats the fibers and can inhibit the cleaning cloths’ effectiveness. I recommend using 1/4 cup white vinegar as a ‘fabric softener’ with regular laundry and it works well with cleaning cloths too. Don’t worry, no scent remains!

  • Generally, wash on WARM  – most germs and microorganisms are killed at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. I wash my microfiber that needs to be sanitized on HOT or sanitize. You can look up your particular washing machine or brand and see what temperature the hot and sanitize cycles get to and decide what’s best for you. (As a general rule, washing on warm and drying on low to medium will kill the germs in your cleaning cloths, but if you need to sanitize, it will need to be warmer.)
  • I wash the microfiber cloths in the basket weekly or when it’s filled up and enough for a load, and then run a sanitize/clean cycle on the washing machine. Bonus: clean cloths + a clean washing machine. Not sure how to clean your washing machine? Go here. You should be doing it monthly at the least to avoid spreading germs in your clothes, bedding, cleaning cloths, etc.
  • Dry in the dryer on low to medium. Drying the microfiber in the dryer will kill any germs that might remain after washing them.

A couple more common questions about microfiber:

  • If you don’t like the ‘feel’ of microfiber, try dampening your cloth slightly first – that will take away that scratchy feeling and get your cloth ready to clean! My microfiber cleaning cloths are soft and smooth and/or soft and fluffy.
  • Microfiber is more eco-friendly for cleaning because you can reuse microfiber cleaning cloths for 300+ uses – think of how many paper towels this eliminates!
  • Another common question I receive is if ‘microfiber’ cleaning cloths are harmful to the environment because of the polyester they’re made from. The short answer is: when people talk about micro plastics getting back into the ecosystem and environment, they are talking about ANY material that isn’t natural (cotton, linen, silk, etc.). The real problem is plastic bags and the large amount of plastics that are used in everything. Another thing to think of is all of the artificial fibers in clothing like workout wear and other non-cotton materials. If you look at the amount of clothes that you are washing and you have athleisure wear or any material that isn’t 100% cotton, and you look at the size of that pile of clothes versus the small pile of microfiber cleaning cloths, the issue IS NOT microfiber cleaning cloths, the problem is all of the other clothes that are being washed. There’s a study that shows that if you wash a microfiber cloth 200+ times it produces about one quarter of an ounce of plastic total. Additionally If you want to not use any microfibers, you can use cotton cleaning cloths – I have 100% cotton Bar Mop Towels in my shop and/or you can put a filter in your washing machine that will catch any microfibers from all of your laundry.

Here’s a How to Launder Cleaning Cloths video for you: 

How about you? Do you use microfiber for cleaning? Have a question? Ask it in the comments!

Shop all the Cloths + Towels here!

If you need a little help with your laundry – how to launder anything and everything, folding tips, a laundry schedule tool, and more, check out the new Guide to Laundry.

Curious about the Cleaning Cloths in my shop?  Here’s some information for you….

The Premium Bar Mop Towels are a new cotton blend – they’re slightly smaller in size and have a different binding/edge. They have the feel of fluffy soft cotton but wipe up counters and surfaces like microfiber. They also have a hang tag with washing instructions. They’re also in a traditional bar mop weave vs. the popcorn texture in the original Bar Mop Towels. If you prefer 100% cotton, the original Bar Mop Towels will be your preference.

The new Cleaning Cloth Kit is not meant to replace the original Microfiber Cleaning Cloths but it does offer 3 different weaves in one package. All-Purpose, Scrub, and Shine are the intentions for the Cleaning Cloth Kit and they will definitely surpass your expectations. The material has a different feel and look as well as a hang tag vs. corner pocket. The original Microfiber Cleaning Cloths have two choices – all-purpose and polishing. Both options are great, I’m just providing more choices.

The Premium Cleaning Cloths are larger than anything else in the shop, super soft, and luxurious in look and feel. If anyone remembers my large white cleaning cloths, these are similar but better!

Sponges!  Brand new product and designed to replace the sponge you’re currently using – these are amazing and I can’t wait to hear what you think of this cute little sponge!

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clean, laundry