In A Nutshell:

The e-cloth® General Purpose cloth is half the price of the Norwex Enviro cloth but matches its performance 100%. The e-cloth ® General Purpose Cloth seems to get into tiny cracks better than the Norwex Enviro cloth but when used damp, the e-cloth ® leaves a bit more moisture behind.

Warning:

The e-cloth ® General Purpose and the Norwex Enviro cloths are VERSATILE.  They clean a LOT. So go get yourself a cuppa tea or something because this is one doozy of a review.

A Note About “Bac-Lock” (Formerly “Antibac”)

Most Norwex cloths have a silver agent in them that kills bacteria trapped in the cloth and they refer to these cloths as “BacLock” . E-cloths ® do not contain silver (but all e-cloths pick up over 99% of bacteria and if you rinse them afterwards, over 99% of the bacteria is removed).

A lot of people are confused by the “BacLock” feature and are unclear as to how exactly it works. If you want to know how it works and what it does/does NOT do, take a look at my post on 5 things you should know about Norwex Antibacterial Cloths.

The truth is, if you’re giving your microfibre cloths a good rinse in hot water – with a bit of soap – after each use and laundering them regularly and properly (without bleach or fabric softener), you don’t need the “antibac” feature.

But back to the review…

What am I Reviewing and Comparing?

For this review, I’m going to concentrate on the performance of the Norwex Enviro cloth versus the e-cloth General Purpose cloth so I’ll leave the whole “antibac” feature out of it.

If you’ve spent any time cruising through my blog, you know I’m a HUGE fan of the Norwex Enviro cloth (take a look at my Enviro Cloth review and/or 30 Days of the Enviro Cloth posts). I’ve got two of them that I use to clean absolutely everything in my house. It’s been my “go-to” cleaning cloth for 2 years now. So e-cloth ® had everything to prove.

  • Size-wise, the Norwex Enviro cloth (blue) is half an inch wider/taller than the e-cloth general purpose cloth (red).
  • Feeling-wise, they both have that real grabby-stick-to-your-fingers-quality-microfiber feel but the e-cloth feels a wee bit more “shaggy” than the Enviro cloth. That’s not to say that it feels thicker or more plush. Just a bit shaggier. It’s hard to describe it any other way.
  • Tech-wise, e-cloth microfiber is split to 1/200th the width of a human hair. Norwex microfiber is split to 1/100th the width of a human hair. Update Sept, 2012: Norwex did some testing on their cloths and found them to be cut to 1/200th the width of a hair.
  • Performance-wise, e-cloth has undergone independent scientific testing and has been proven to remove over 99% of bacteria from smooth surfaces.
  • Warranty-wise, e-cloth guarantees all their products for 300 washings (at once a week, that’s about 5 and a half years). Norwex offers a 2 year warranty. Update Sept, 2012: I’ve had several people contact me asking me to help them return/replace Norwex items because their consultant has either quit or is non-responsive. This is a gentle reminder to make sure to hang on to your Norwex receipt.

To compare the e-cloth General Purpose cloth to the Norwex Enviro Cloth, I put them to a series of Kate’s everyday catastrophes and icky messes tests. Note, these are NOT scientific tests. This is just me, a curious mom cleaning things around my house. So let’s get to it.

Test 1: the Butter Test

If you’re a fan of Norwex, or have been to a Norwex home party, then you’re likely familiar with the “Butter Test” which involves smearing butter on a surface and then cleaning it. Obviously, you’re not going to go around your house smearing butter on things… although your kids might. But it is a great test for showing how well – and EASILY –  these cloths clean up greasy messes.

To demonstrate, with really lousy pictures that don’t really show anything, I smeared butter on my window. Something like a tablespoon of butter.

Sorry folks, no video here, but a few pictures to show that I did actually do it.

Before

Butter on Window

e-cloth cleaned left side

Norwex cleaned right side

Results of the Butter Test

The Enviro cloth took an extra swipe but the e-cloth left the window a bit more damp. I used both cloths wet and completely removed the butter with 3 swipes of the e-cloth (right side) and 4 swipes of the Enviro cloth (left side). By “completely removed”, I mean the window squeaked when I ran my finger down it. Both cloths left the window a bit damp afterwards so I dried/polished it with a polishing cloth afterwards to get rid of the little microfibre wet marks.

Test 2 – Dusting

This is one I really should have gotten video for because you simply would not believe the dust in my house. Have I mentioned that I live in a 140 year old stone house? Perhaps the ducts have been cleaned in the past but certainly NOT since we moved in 11 year ago and began renovating. Not to mention the dogs. And the very recent dry-walling.

I love mornings. Wait, let me clarify that. I love mornings everywhere except any room in our house where the sun shines. That low angle light shows the dust like no other light. And it’s FLOATING in the air. I really need to capture this so you can see it. Are you beginning to understand? My house is D-U-S-T-Y, dusty!

Dusting in my house is one cleaning task that I get a lot of satisfaction from. I mean, if you HAVE to clean something, you want to see results, right? It’s like raking leaves in the fall. It’s a lot more satisfying if you’ve got a huge maple tree in your yard than if you’ve got a tiny birch tree and some evergreens.

My house is so dusty you can SEE the results. And if the sun is shining through the window in the morning, you can see whether your duster is actually grabbing the dust or just moving it off the surface and letting it fall elsewhere.

Results of the Dusting Test

Me being me, I neglected to take an “after” picture. You’ll have to trust me when I say that both the e-cloth General Purpose cloth and the Norwex Enviro cloth did a great job. You could see the dust in the cloths and if any dropped to the floor instead of being picked up, I didn’t see it.

Just a side note. I’ve always heard that if you’re going to dust your stereo, you should turn it off 15 minutes beforehand otherwise the electrical static charge won’t let your duster pick up the dust. I can now verify that this is true. After dusting the table, I dusted the top of our stereo (while it was on – everyone needs some cleanin’ tunes, right?). Here’s a transcript of my thoughts:

“what the bleep? my cloth isn’t working. Why is the dust just spreading around? This is weird. Oh this SUCKS! Bleep, bleep, bleep. Oh bleep, I forgot about the whole electricity thing. Stupid bleeping me.”

Get it? Turn your stereo off 15 minutes before you dust it!

Test 3 – The Kitchen Sink

Since we got rid of our cleaning lady 3 years ago (because I’m staying home with kids and presumably have time to clean ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!) and I made the switch to microfiber from sprays and chemicals, I’ve made it a habit to clean my kitchen sink and counter every day. Maybe this seems like a chore to you, but really, it just means wiping. (This alone should make you consider switching to e-cloth from your traditional cleansers. It’s really THAT easy). If you’re using HIGH QUALITY microfiber like e-cloth or Norwex, you can just wipe your sink/counter to clean up any grease, food, liquids, etc. and rest assured that you’ve removed any bacteria.

Results of the Kitchen Sink Test

Obviously I can’t “see” the bacteria in my sink. But I can see the stains (thanks to the multiple tea bags I drop in there daily) and grease and I can feel the grime. Both the e-cloth General Purpose cloth and the Norwex Enviro cloth clean my sink really well. One thing I noticed is that the e-cloth gets into that crack/circle around the drain and the crack/seam around my sink where it meets the counter (it’s not an undermounted sink) better than the Enviro cloth. I’m thinking perhaps because it’s just that wee bit more shaggy.  Both cloths leave the sink slightly damp (the e-cloth a bit more so) so if a streak-free sparkling sink/faucet is important to you, you’ll want to give them a quick wipe with a window/polishing cloth afterwards.

Test 4 – Spills

Does anyone else out there have a child that pours his full glass of milk onto the table just to watch it pour? Please say yes. Trust me when I say THAT is when you want one of these cloths around. Both the e-cloth General Purpose cloth and the Norwex Enviro cloth claim to sop up 7 times their weight in liquids and after months/years of putting them to the test (0n an almost daily basis – can you hear me sigh?), I believe them.

Tests 5 to Infinity

Listen, I could go on and on and on here. Truthfully, I use both the e-cloth General Purpose cloth and the Norwex Enviro cloth throughout my house on a daily basis. I really don’t know how I ever lived without them. I use them:

  • for almost every mess in the house as well as for all my standard cleaning tasks
  • for bathroom cleaning
  • to clean outdoor furniture
  • for window cleaning
  • for wiping messy baby/preschooler hands
  • for bike cleaning
  • for car cleaning – inside and out
  • for wiping up spills, spit-up, potty training misses, dog drool
  • to clean floors
  • for wiping the stove
  • to clean cupboards inside and out
  • for wiping light switches
  • for cleaning up marker/crayon/paint/chalk “experiments”
  • for wiping the walls
  • to clean my diamond ring
  • for getting hand lotion out of my hair (don’t ask)
  • to clean the BBQ
  • to clean the highchair – seat, base, tray AND the floor around it
  • to clean the fridge inside and out
  • to clean the microwave
  • to wipe up playdough bits
  • this list could go on and on and ooooooooooooooooooooooon…

And you know what? The e-cloth General Purpose cloth and the Norwex Enviro cloth both do a great job. The only difference I’ve found is that the e-cloth tends to leave a bit more moisture behind. I can only think that that’s because of that “shaggier” feeling that I was trying to describe above.

Regardless of whether you use an e-cloth General Purpose cloth or a Norwex Enviro cloth, if you’re cleaning shiny surfaces (like chrome, windows, mirrors, granite countertops, etc.) you’ll want to use a Glass and Polishing Cloth afterwards to get rid of any streaks.

And the Winner Is…

This is tough because both cloths are great. I’ve got to be honest, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the performance of the e-cloth. It is so much cheaper than the Norwex Enviro Cloth that I just didn’t think it could keep up.

If you leave it strictly to “visual” performance, I’d call it a tie.

PS:

If I were you, I’d stop focusing on the “BacLock” (Antibac) features of the Norwex Enviro. You don’t need it. Having a cloth that may or may not “get stinky” isn’t worth:

  1. the worry associated with whether or not you’re cleaning them properly/frequently enough
  2. the general confusion over how the silver works
  3. the environmental impacts of adding silver to the cloths

Get yourself a couple of General Purpose e-cloths (and maybe a Polishing Cloth or two) and rest assured that you’ve got a great microfibre cloth at a great price (even when they’re not on sale).

Update: June 2012

The e-cloth General Purpose cloth was rated Best All Around Microfiber Cloth by REAL SIMPLE Magazine as a part of their “The Definitive Cleaning Products Road Test” article in the May, 2012 issue.