3 Reasons Why e-cloths® don’t Have (or Need!) Silver in Them

why ecloths don't have silver in them

Howdy! I’m thinking you probably stumbled upon this post as you were doing a search on Norwex, trying to figure out if it’s really any good and why the heck the silver is in there.

Then, as you were searching, you came across my blog, read a few of my glowing reviews of e-cloth® and said:

e-cloth®! What the heck is e-cloth? Wow, Kate makes e-cloths sound really great.  But gee whiz, they don’t have silver in them like the Norwex cloths do.  Kate must be some sort of dingbat. Surely e-cloth can’t be as good as Norwex if it doesn’t have silver in it.  Can it?

But hey, wait now! Let me fill you in on the 3 reasons why e-cloths don’t have silver in them and then you can make up your own mind :

1) E-cloths Don’t Need Silver

The cleaning power of any microfiber cloth depends only on:

  1. what the fibers are made of
  2. how thin and strong the fibers are (the thinner and stronger the better)
  3. how many fibers there are (the more the better)

Did you notice that silver wasn’t in that list?  That’s because silver does not clean surfaces! Microfiber does.

When you wipe a surface with an e-cloth, the hundreds of millions of strands pick up the dirt/grease/grime/bacteria and trap it in the cloth. E-cloths are so effective at cleaning that lab testing has proven that they pick up over 99% of bacteria.

So what do you do now that you’ve got an e-cloth filled with a dirty mess and bacteria?

You rinse it.  That’s it.

E-cloth® took the lab testing a step further and found that by simply rinsing the cloth well, over 99% of any bacteria trapped in the cloth will be removed. I suspect that the same (or at least very similar results) is true for Norwex cloths.

The only thing that silver in microfiber cloths does is speed up the killing of bacteria IN THE CLOTH. 

Yes, you read that correctly.  Silver only helps to kill bacteria in the cloth.

But… like I mentioned above, if you rinse your e-cloth after you use it, there is virtually no bacteria left in it. So, B-I-N-G-O, no need for silver in e-cloths®.

2) Silver Causes Confusion

I see plenty of comments on-line from happy Norwex customers, stating that they love the silver in their cloths because it sterilized their counter (or other surface) and they only have to wash their cloths once a month.

Yikes. Scary.

But now we know the facts, don’t we!

It’s important to know that:

  • Silver in your microfiber cloth does NOT sterilize surfaces or kill bacteria on surfaces
  • Having silver in your microfiber cloth does NOT mean that you don’t need to launder your cloths.

If you’re wondering how/when to launder your e-cloths (or Norwex), I posted some tips here.

3) Adding Silver Is an Unnecessary Strain on the Environment and Your Pocket Book

Silver. Hmmm, isn’t that something that has to be mined?

Yup.

So there’s that. But there’s also the extra manufacturing processes required to get it into the cloths.  The cloths that don’t even need it.

And extra manufacturing means more strain on the environment and…

this is gonna hurt…

Money out of your pocket!

And now you know the rest of the story and hopefully, I’ve answered your question (do e-cloths have silver in them?).

If you have any questions about e-cloths or still aren’t convinced that you can live without silver, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment/question below.

Please do feel free to share this too.  Email it to a misguided friend or post it on your facebook page.

To take a closer look at the e-cloth products, visit eclothusa.com.

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This entry was posted in e-cloth Versus Norwex, Silver, What's with the Silver? and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to 3 Reasons Why e-cloths® don’t Have (or Need!) Silver in Them

  1. Nate says:

    So your fibers are individually placed in the cloth, unlike Norwex who’s fibers are connected in one thread. So your cloths pollute the earth by coming apart and ending up in the ocean.

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  2. Jana says:

    I have a couple question about how to best avoid cross contamination with these types of cloths – after all, they are expensive and I want to keep my new cloths in the best possible condition for best most sanitary cleaning. First of all, when laundering, is it really sanitary to be washing cloths together – including those that are used to clean things like toilets along with others that are used to clean things such as kitchen tables and counters? Secondly, if bacteria is released simply by rinsing the cloth in the sink, then wouldn’t the sink now house the bacteria that was washed off of the cloth and now need to be cleaned/sanitized? If so, and if you use the e-cloth to clean the sink, it seems to create a bit of a continuous cycle of transferring bacteria from cloth to sink back to cloth, etc. Just looking for the best way to truly keep the bacteria away and to keep surfaces as sanitary as possible. Thank you!

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    • Jana – Perhaps I’m the wrong person to ask about this because I simply don’t worry about this kind of cross-contamination at all. But then, I cloth diapered my kids and washed the diapers in the same washing machine that I washed all our other laundry. I just trust that the water and machine do what they’re supposed to – wash crap out and rinse it away.

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    • Kacie says:

      I have studied microbiology and am working toward a career in healthcare. I would say, yes it is perfectly fine to wash all of them in the same machine with soap and/or bleach (if you like). Soap has natural antibacterial properties, but aside from using chemicals like bleach to sanitize and kill the majority of microbes, there will always be microbes on surfaces, in your sink, etc.

      I personally do not worry about such things, as Kate said. Especially after studying microbiology, I am a firm believer in being naturally exposed to bacteria in order to develop antibodies and a stronger immune system. It’s like the old saying “let your kids eat dirt,” the more bacteria you are exposed to, the more antibodies you have and the stronger your immune system is. Don’t get me wrong, being hygienic is important, but there is not need to take extreme measures.

      I know it has been quite some time since you posted this, but I hope that information helps put your mind at ease.

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  3. learninglittlebits says:

    Hi Cleaninup Kate,

    I purchased e-cloth products over a year ago. I am starting to wonder if the silver is really unnecessary. My e-cloths smell. I use them rinse them out well and lay them to dry and they stink. I have to boil them every couple of weeks to keep them smelling fresh. Now I only use them once and then rinse them and lay them aside to be laundered. I am seriously considering buying Norwex to see if the silver helps. Until then, would spraying my e-cloths with colloidal silver help?

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    • Learninglittlebits – frankly, I get more emails about stinky Norwex cloths than e-cloths (that could be because more people seem to know about Norwex than e-cloth, but who knows). e-cloths start to stink because either the fibers are coated with something or they’re not drying quickly enough. The Norwex cloths are the same but will also stink if the silver gets coated. Have you tried my remedy for stinky cloths? Here’s a link to that.

      It sounds like you’re rinsing yours well after every use. Remember to use a bit of dish soap in the rinse if you’ve been wiping anything greasy.

      I would suggest trying my cure for stinky cloths and then ensure that you’re hanging them to dry after every use – not lying them to dry. Like any fiber they need circulating air to dry. Same goes for when you’re waiting to launder them – ensure that they’re either already dry or hanging somewhere that they can dry.

      In my experience with all of my Norwex cloths and e-cloths, they both have the potential to get stinky. The only time I might find the silver to be ‘handy’ would be if I was storing a wet cloth in a plastic bag for days.

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  4. I’d like to ask a question I haven’t seen addressed. Can you tell me what the e-cloth (or Norwex, for that matter) are actually made of? I’m a crunchy mama, and am very conscious of the chemicals that make it into my home. If I can’t know what’s in it, I don’t buy it.

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    • I should add, however, that I used a Norwex cloth to help a friend clean her house and I was thoroughly impressed! If I could leave out even the homemade cleaning solutions I make, I would be one happy lady!

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    • Jennifer – we list all the materials in each e-cloth within the product description on the website. The majority cloths are a 80% to 20% (approx) blend of polyester and polyamide, although the dusting cloths and dust pads for the mop are 100% polyester. Norwex cloths have a similar composition.

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  5. Cindy says:

    You do not need to launder the Norwex enviro cloth after wiping up raw chicken. You just need to thoroughly rinse and hang to dry.

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    • Cindy – just to be clear, a rinse in hot soapy water is likely enough but when I was a consultant, the Norwex tech people clearly recommended that their cloths be laundered after cleaning up raw meat juices of any kind. I recommend the same for e-cloths®.

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  6. Keelie says:

    I bought e-cloths the other day through my coop. I’m trying to figure out whether I need the silver in the Norwex cloths. I’m so glad I found this post!!! Do you clean up chicken residue with your e-cloth and feel confident that you don’t need to immediately wash your e-cloth in the laundry? Chicken is my only concern…and maybe the toilet. 🙂 Chicken is the one thing I really like to use paper towel with so I can just throw it away. But I’m all about saving the earth with less waste!!
    Thanks!

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    • Keelie – I typically launder my e-cloth (and Norwex!) cloths after wiping up any raw meat juices or the toilet. I wrote another post some time ago about when to launder the cloths that touched on this exact topic. Here’s the link if you’re interested.

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    • Karen walker says:

      The silver doesn’t clean up the mess directly, it supposedly kills the bacteria after you wipe it up and it’s in the cloth. The silver is claimed to suffocate the bacteria once it’s in the cloth. I would not clean up meat juices or scrub a toilet without laundering this or ANY cloth in very hot water immediately after. I also would not use the same cloth on the toilet that I used in my kitchen or any other surface!! So do you really need the silver in it? No. Just wipe up spills and wash your cleaning cloths. “Kills 99% of bacteria” still leaves 1% of bacteria to spread! Plain soap and water can do as well.

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  7. GMC says:

    Hi,
    so I am thinking that if you wash the e-cloth not very well there are bacteria remaining there. SO that is why the Norwex added silver come into play. I mean how can you be sure to wash the cloths so well? Is it advisable to put them in the washing machine after every use? I am trying to decide which one to buy!!!!

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    • GMC, I guess this is when you have to put some faith into the testing that e-cloth has had done. I know it’s hard to believe that bacteria gets washed out of a cloth – especially when you can’t see bacteria – and it’s easy to get uneasy about it. The lab tests that ecloth had done showed that when the same cloth is used again (after simply rinsing under warm tap water), e-cloths remove bacteria, and the transfer of bacteria from the e-cloth to another surface is only 0.01%.

      Silver in the cloth will take up to 24 hours to kill bacteria in the cloth, so in my opinion, you’re not further ahead.

      Unless you’re cleaning areas of high bacteria counts, there is no reason to launder the cloths after every use. Just rinse and hang to dry.

      I like to stress to people that not all cleaning tasks are about bacteria removal. E-cloths will make cleaning everything easier – even just the simple task of wiping the table off after meals or wiping handles on cupboards or the outside of appliances, or spills off the floor, or sticky fingerprints. All these little tasks were likely things that customers typically did with a cotton rag or sponge before finding ecloth. It’s very likely that the thought of bacteria never entered their mind for these little jobs, they just wanted to wipe the area clean quickly. An e-cloth will clean them all more easily and better and faster. I guess my point is: yes, ecloths/norwex pick up bacteria but they also clean everything else very well and easily too.

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      • Cindy Tanner says:

        Hi, Cleanup Kate – you are absolutely correct – some of the Norwex customers have it wrong! There is no well-trained or well-informed Norwex independent consultant out there who would ever say that the silver in the Norwex cloths disinfect the surface it is cleaning. Nor can I imagine that they would be telling customers not to launder the cloths for a month! I disagree with you that the silver is unnecessary. The silver is intended to self-purify the cloth itself which does allow for multiple uses in most cases before laundering. This not only saves time and money but resources as well (water, electricity/gas, detergent) and is environmentally responsible,. Now I have no personal experience with the e-cloth so I am in no position to speak about it, but I do have lots of experience with Norwex microfiber. The microfiber may be used to clean almost every surface in your house and therefore can be infiltrated with all kinds of dirt, including bacteria, protein, carbohydrates, good old fashioned dirt and grime, etc. The Norwex enviro cloth pulls the dirt deep into the cloth and holds it there until it is rinsed. There is no cross-contamination. As you stated, the majority of the contaminants are released from the cloth with a thorough rinse in hot water, however, if any protein, carbohydrates, etc remain in the cloth, it can lead to bacteria and bacterial odor. That’s where the silver comes in. Yes, silver is mined and there are always environmental concerns with that but it is offset by the conservation of laundering less. FYI, I personally keep a shaker of our laundry detergent at my kitchen sink to freshen the cloths and treat stains between laundering, but do complete a thorough laundering every 3-4 days, depending upon the tasks. The Norwex cloths do what they say they will. I have conducted hundreds of demonstrations over the last 4.5 years using test swabs to check the results of cleaning up raw chicken with just the enviro cloth and water and it has never failed to show a clean surface. Even swabbing the cloth itself shows clean. So, I am happy that you like Norwex cloths, but I do respectfully disagree with you about the value of the silver’s natural antibacterial properties in the cloth.

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        • Cindy – it sounds like your laundering regime is similar to mine (a little detergent by the sink and true laundering after 3-4 days of use). We shall agree to continue to disagree on the necessity of the silver. I’ve had my Norwex and silver-less e-cloths for several years now with only one instance of stink in a single cloth. And I’m totally blaming my husband for that one (he was using it for dishes and not rinsing the soap out afterwards).

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