YES, you do have to wash your microfiber cloths – even if they have silver in them!
Last week alone, 8 people asked me how often and how to wash their Norwex antibac microfiber cloths. So if you’re confused, trust me when I say you’re not alone. Interestingly, it’s NOT a question that I get about e-cloth ® microfiber. I’m certain it’s the darned antibacterial silver in the Norwex cloths causes so much confusion.
As for washing and laundering your Norwex and e-cloth ® microfiber cloths (regardless of whether they have silver in them or not), a little common sense and your best judgement go a long way. Lets hope this helps you out.
Keep in mind these are my suggestions. They’re not set in stone. I have no idea what you’ve been cleaning or how frequently. This is the method that works for me so please don’t come after me if this method doesn’t work for you (unless you think I’ve made a mistake here or should add something).
How and When to Clean your Norwex and e-cloth ® Microfiber Cloths
- If you’ve used your microfiber cloth for light cleaning (eg. wiping the table, a small spill, the stove top, the outside of appliances, cupboards, etc.) rinse the cloth out in HOT water with a bit of dish soap. Give it a good rinse afterwards with HOT water to get the soap out (the rinsing of the soap is especially important for microfiber cloths with silver in them). Then hang it to dry and you’re good to go again.
- If you’ve used your microfiber cloth to clean areas where the bacteria level is high (like around the toilet, to clean raw meat juices, the garbage can, etc.), you need to wash it in your washing machine. YES, EVEN THE MICROFIBER CLOTH WITH ANTIBACTERIAL SILVER. I always rinse it in my sink in HOT water with a bit of dish soap first for good measure (because it could be days before I actually throw it in the wash). Like I said above, rinse again to get the soap out.
- If you’ve been dusting with your microfiber cloth, just brush it off or shake it out (outside) and you’re good to go again.
- If your antibacterial microfiber cloth with silver starts to stink, try following the steps in my “How to Cure Stinky Cloths” post.
- If you microfiber cloth starts to get stiff, try following the steps in my “How to Cure Stiff or Crunchy Cloths” post.
- If your microfiber cloth starts to look really dirty – this is normal and mostly unavoidable over time. The microfiber grabs the dirt and just doesn’t like to let it go. Hot water will open the fibers and release more of the dirt/grease so try boiling it for 10 – 15 minutes with a bit of dish soap (again, rinse the soap out afterwards). This is why I recommend always washing in HOT water. It may be worth reading my post: How to Keep Your Cloths Stain-free.
- In my opinion, you should be laundering your microfiber cloths – with or without antibacterial silver – at least once a week. By “laundering”, I mean a proper wash in the washing machine on the HOT setting.
- No, you do not have to use the Norwex Ultra Power Plus detergent to clean your Norwex cloths (or any other microfiber cloth). Ideally, you’ll use a detergent that dissolves easily and has no fillers – especially if you’re washing a microfiber cloth with antibacterial silver in it because it’s important that the silver not end up coated after it’s washed. You want all the detergent to wash out of the cloth. The Norwex detergent is good. The problem I have with it (and this is no secret) is it’s price. If you’re looking for a good, non-filler, concentrated detergent that dissolves easily and rinses away completely, look no further than one of a million cloth diapering sites. Here is a good link that provides a lot of information on detergents that are reasonably priced and easily accessible. In my opinion, if it’s good enough for cloth diapers, it’s good enough for your microfiber cloths. That being said, you can use ANY detergent as long as it does not contain bleach or fabric softener. If your antibacterial cloth starts to get stinky (which may happen if soap is not being rinsed out), refer to number 4 above.
- Wash and dry (yes, you can put your Norwex and e-cloth ® microfiber cloths in the dryer) your microfiber cloths with non-lint items.
- Do not use bleach (it destroys the fibers) or fabric softener. If you accidentally wash or dry your cloth with liquid fabric softener or a dryer sheet, DON’T WORRY. You haven’t ruined the cloth. It may not work perfectly the next time you use it (especially if you’re dusting since it won’t have any “charge” to it) but the softener will be washed out over the next few washings.
I’m writing this in a bit of a hurry as a certain 10 month old is waking from his nap so it’s entirely possible that I’ve left something out here. If you have anything to add, please do! I love to get comments and I’m sure they’ll be helpful to others too.
I’ll just add that it’s no secret that I use Charlie’s Soap for ALL of our laundry. It’s a little pricey up here in Canada (unless you order the mega-box, for which you pay an arm and a leg in shipping) but well worth it. If you live in the states, consider yourself lucky ’cause you can get it cheaper and often with free shipping!
Update June 2015: I got a “too good to pass that up” deal on Nellies Laundry Soda at Costco earlier this year. The price was way cheaper than what I’d pay for my beloved Charlies Soap up here in Canada. After a few months of using Nellies on all our laundry, I can tell you that it’s been working great – even on my e-cloth® and Norwex cloths.