How to Cure Stinky Norwex or e-cloths

Something happened to me about 5 weeks ago. Something I couldn’t believe. Something that has happened to others, but NEVER to me. I mean, I’m perfect (ha! ha! ha!).

These things don’t happen to me.

But it did.

I wiped my counter with my General Purpose e-cloth® and then…

WHAT is that smell?!?!?”.

“NOOOOOOOOOOO!” (picture me with my hands up, face turned away in shame, eyes closed, screaming. Like it was the end of the world).

My e-cloth was smelly! So smelly that it was leaving the stink on the counter and everything else I wiped.

I’d noticed the smell the last time I’d used it. But then I laundered it and thought it was better.


But guess what. It’s not the end of the world (or your cloth) if you get a smelly Norwex or e-cloth. You can fix it.

3 Steps to Cure a Stinky Norwex or e-clothcure-stinky-norwex-ecloth-cloths

  1. Boil your cloth(s) with baking soda. I put about 1/4 cup baking soda in with 2-3 litres of water.  Let it boil for 10-15 minutes stirring regularly.
  2. Drain the water and then boil again with 1/4 cup of vinegar. Again, 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly.
  3. Launder it.

NOTE 1: You can probably skip step 2 and go directly to step 3 if you put vinegar in the rinse cycle.

NOTE 2: You can probably skip step 3, I’m just being on the safe side to make sure all the stink is out.

NOTE 3: You may be able to skip steps 1 and 2 by just adding a generous amount of baking soda to your wash and ditto for some vinegar in the rinse cycle. Steps 1 to 3 are just how I did it and it worked.

Weeks later and the stink has not come back to my precious e-cloth.

3 Reasons Why Norwex and e-cloths get Stinky

  1. They’re not being rinsed out frequently or well enough.
  2. Grease, soap and/or detergent is trapped in them.
  3. They’re not drying quickly enough or at all.

How to Prevent Norwex and e-cloths from Getting Stinky

(In case you skipped over my 3 reasons why they get stinky, above)

  1. Rinse them WELL under hot water after every use. If you’ve cleaned something particularly greasy with your e-cloth, put the plug in the sink and add a drop of dish e-cloths waiting to be launderedsoap and swish the cloth around in there. Then rinse with plain water.
  2. Use a minimum amount of laundry detergent (preferably one without fillers) and make sure to rinse them well any time you use them with dish soap. If you’re using commercial cleansers with your Norwex or e-cloths… STOP! You don’t need them (the cleansers, I mean)
  3. Hang your cloths up to dry after each use. If you hang your cloths up to dry in a cupboard under the sink, keep the door open to let some air circulate. I put some hooks on the side of my washing machine to hang damp cloths on when they’re waiting to be laundered.
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32 Responses to How to Cure Stinky Norwex or e-cloths

  1. Donna says:

    I am new to Norwex e cloths. After wiping up mold, is it safe to just rinse and wring out or should it get boiled? I worry about not killing the mold.


    • Norwex and e-cloths will not kill mould but they are good at removing mould from surfaces. I would definitely recommend boiling your cloths if you’ve used it to remove mould. PS – I’m not knit-picking your spelling of “mold”. I’m Canadian and we like to add “u” to words 🙂


  2. AG says:

    I tried this and could not believe how dirty the water was. I was rinsing them after every use but we have very hard water and I wonder if that made the difference. Thanks for the tip.


  3. Renee Evans says:

    I have recently reach that adding 1 cup of Epson salt to the washer will soften the water and release built up residue in towels . I tried this with my bath cotton towels that smelled when used the second day, smelled the minute they got wet again. I’m on day 2 of towel and they still smell fresh.


  4. pnut91 says:

    This is what I’ve learned. Never ever allow dish soap to get on your cloths. If they stink, you can wet them and put them in the microwave for a few minutes. If you stay away from soaps, there should be no issues with smell. Not easy in the kitchen, mind you.


    • pnut91 – you are right. For the most part all soaps and cleansers should be kept away from microfibre (ecloth, Norwex, and even the dollar store brands). BUT… as long as you rinse all the soap out immediately after use, it shouldn’t be a problem.


  5. Jeanne Simpson says:

    I just threw mine out. I don’t need to work that hard on something that’s supposed to make my life easier.


    • Really, it shouldn’t be that hard, Jeanne. Rinse the cloths well after every use and let them dry fully at least once every 24 hours and stink should never be an issue. Hope you have better luck with your next ones.


    • jennifer says:

      I just wash mine in the washing machine with hot water and dry in the dryer. I have never had a problem with smell. I occasionally use Dawn or similar soap as well.


  6. Rego says:

    The stink is because the microfibers are an excellent habitat for BACTERIA that breed up and emit GASES that STINK. The smell is actually BACTERIA FARTS…for real!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jackie preston says:

    I helped my friend with her cleaning job recently. When finished she draped the cloths over the handle of a bucket to dry, one of the cloths she cleaned the toilets with. The two mop heads went into the washing machine. I asked when the cloths get cleaned, she insists they are germ free after they have dried as germs don’t live on dry cloths, she will be back in two days to repeat the routine. Another friend started a cleaning job in a school and though the cloths were coloured for each purpose (red for toilets etc.) were rinsed out at end of shift, hung on hooks next to each other. She asked the same questions d was told they don’t get cleaned, they get new ones once a year! I cant believe they are germ free, what do you know about this?


    • It think the cleaning company needs to educate themselves or provide some testing results to prove this.


    • Titus2Homemaker says:

      Norwex cloths *are* designed to be self-cleaning. (They have silver built into the fibers that should kill 99.99% of germs in the cloth itself, assuming it’s been rinsed and wrung, and that is generally what the company tells people — by the time it’s dry.)

      With that said, I am far more comfortable, ESPECIALLY with toilet germs and the like, letting that be more of a “backup” and still laundering them regularly.


      • jennifer says:

        “The company” does not say this, but lots of consultants do.
        The company says to wash in hot water after dirty jobs or heavy soil. They also say that the silver’s ability to kill microorganisms depend on the number of ions available (how old the cloth is and how many times it has been washed) and the bacterial load (how dirty it is.) Kate’s explanation in the original post was really great.


  8. Jennifer Masloski says:

    I’ve also heard that an occaisional load with washing soda will keep cloths fresh and absorbent, especially if you have hard water.


    • Titus2Homemaker says:

      Ooh; this might be our issue. It’s been driving me crazy that our cloths get so funky. And I thought it was just my kids’ fault, for not rinsing and wringing well enough/often enough. But then I had a previously non-stinky cloth just this week that I was OCD about keeping rinsing, wrung, and hung, that still got super-nasty-smelling within just a couple of days. But we have REALLLLY hard water. It never occurred to me that the minerals in the water could be clogging the cloth.


  9. Jennifer Masloski says:

    Norwex customer service said this as well (iOxy-clean isn’t necessary, but will not damage the microfiber)


  10. Roberta says:

    Once a cloth gets stinky, it is almost impossible to get the smell out. The ONLY answer is to not allow it to get stinky, That means buying 7 of them and drying them in the dryer with your laundry.


    • Roberta – I’ve had a lot of luck with this method for curing stink. That being said, you are right, it’s best to not let them get stinky in the first place. To avoid stink, rinse well after use (it’s buildup of grease, soap and dirt that causes the stink) and hang to dry. Launder regularly, preferably in hot water (to open the fibers more to release more grime). It’s not absolutely necessary to dry in the drier but it is best. I’ve been living in Japan for the last 7 months and we have no dryer so all my ecloths are hung to dry and I have no stink issues.


  11. Krimson Rose says:

    I realize it has been a while since anyone has written on this thread, however I am currently trying to deal with this issue. A stinky ecloth even got into a laundry load and got all the clothes stinky! My question actually centers around avoiding stink issues. I live in a humid area, in a humid environment (we let our windows open often to let the fresh air in). My cloths seem to stink after one (one!) use, and that is just a simple wipe down of pre-wiped down counters. Rinsed off in hot water, hung to dry. Do I have to give up on the idea of microfiber because there is no way I can consistently make sur my cloths dry quick enough? And how quick is quick enough?


    • Krimson – did you try my recommendations for getting rid of the stink? The problem is that once a cloth gets stinky, regular washing won’t work to cure it. So even fresh out of the laundry, it’ll stink the first time you use it. I had 2 people email me this week to tell me that my “cure” worked wonders for cloths they thought they’d have to throw out. So if you haven’t already, maybe worth a try.

      Living in a humid area shouldn’t hamper your ability to use microfiber. It’s very humid at my place in the summer and my cloths often don’t fully dry between uses. The trick is that you’ve got to start with a non-stinky cloth. So…once you get rid of the stink, or if you start with new cloths:
      1) be diligent with your rinsing. If you just did a quick wipe of the table, a rinse in hot water will suffice. if you’ve been wiping up greasy messes, rinse with a bit of dish soap and hot water and then just hot water (to get the soap out)
      2) launder them regularly in hot water. For my “light use” cloths, I launder once/week. Heavier use (like kitchen/bathroom), I change my cloths every 2-3 days.
      3) don’t use too much detergent in the wash. It’s important that all the soap gets rinsed out
      4) laundering in hot water is not absolutely necessary but should be done every so often as it’s the combination of agitation and hot water that releases the dirt

      The main idea is to make sure everything (including soap) is rinsed out before you use them.

      Like I mentioned, my ecloths do not fully dry between uses in the summer so I’m confident that we can get these things working for you too!


  12. How about using ammonia in the washing machine to wash the cloths? I have been adding one cup of non-sudsy ammonia to a load of sweaty gym clothes (that were still smelling sweaty after normal washing with Tide) or towels for a couple of years. Everything comes out deodorized. Is ammonia considered a chemical to avoid using?


  13. amber says:

    Do you wash your cloths one at a time or can I boil a bunch of them together?


  14. Katie says:

    Hi Kate,
    I’ve also used Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds & baking soda to wash the smell out the cloths in the laundry…I recently encountered this problem myself, after many months of stink-free cleaning. If you put a couple of tablespoons of baking soda in the dispenser, and add a squirt or two of the sal suds, they come nice & clean (I normally add vinegar to the rinse cycle as well). I do have a question about using a laundry detergent powder with an oxy cleaner in it – everything is natural and there are no fillers – do you think this is okay to use to launder regularly with? My sister bought some for me, but I haven’t used it yet on the cloths…
    Thanks for your awesome site!


    • Hi Katie – Sorry for to take a bit to get back to you. Your question about oxy is something I’ve been waiting for an answer on for a while. The e-cloth technical team has been looking into it and testing it (we take things seriously here 😉 ). Apparently a small amount of Oxi cleaners can be used to remove stains in your ecloths without damaging the fabric. I would stress small amount and I’m not sure that I would use it regularly. Perhaps once every 3-4 washings?



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