Everyday Cheapskate

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Everyday Cheapskate

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 14:21
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There’s nothing like microfiber for cleaning just about any surface in and around the house. If you’ve never used a microfiber cloth, you’re going to be amazed by how fast and efficiently you can clean.

HOUSECLEANING AND CAR WASHING

They’re chores that most of us love to hate. Who would have thought there could ever be a better way to scrub things clean than using good old soap and water plus an old, ratty cotton cloth?

If you’ve tried the latest microfiber cleaning cloths, you know that technology really can make life easier. Microfiber cloths are not only more hygienic but also less expensive. You’ll avoid the need for expensive cleaning products, which are often laden with strong chemicals that, for some, cause allergic reactions and skin problems.

Microfiber cloths get things looking far cleaner in a lot less time — especially windows, mirrors, stainless steel and dishes. It’s not magic. It’s science.

ADHESIVE FORCES

Microfibers, made of polyester and polyamide, are able to attach themselves to even the smallest, most microscopic dirt particles — ones that normal cloth fibers (gigantic by comparison) rudely brush past. If these forces were visible, you’d be able to see that there are “adhesive” forces that create a strong attraction between those teenytiny fibers and dirt.

DUSTING MAGNET

For household dusting, use a microfiber cloth dry, as you would a traditional dusting rag. But look how differently it works. A regular rag moves dust from one spot to another. But a microfiber cloth? It acts like a magnet. You have to see this.

DAMP CLEANING

But for more general cleaning, you always want microfiber to be damp, even when using it to dry a surface. The first time you use a microfiber cloth, force of habit will have you soaking it with water, adding soap and then wringing it out, which only reduces the cloth’s effectiveness.

The best way to use these cloths for normal cleaning is with as little water as possible. You can use microfiber cloths to clean virtually any hard surface. Try them on your bathroom or kitchen surfaces, and you’ll be amazed at the results.

DIRTY SITUATIONS

If you’re dealing with a fairly dirty situation, follow this two-step practice: Use a regular cloth and soapy water or your favorite allpurpose cleaner to wash all the dirt off first. Rinse. Now polish over it with your damp microfiber cloth.

Notice the smear-free, sparkling finish. Sorry to sound like a bad TV commercial, but these things are really good! I think you’ll agree once you see things getting squeaky clean and shiny with so little effort.

70/30 IS BEST

Microfiber cloths come in varying sizes and grades to clean every surface imaginable, from eyeglasses and countertops to windows and cars. The best microfiber cloths are made of at least 70% polyester and 30% polyamide. There are plenty of fakes and poor-quality microfiber cloths out there, so it’s good to know what to look for to know you’re not wasting your money on junk.

If you wash and dry microfiber properly (never use fabric softeners with microfiber) and keep them in good condition, you’ll have them for many years to come. Microfiber just doesn’t wear out like traditional fabric.

HOW TO LAUNDER

Because microfiber picks up dust and dirt germs so effectively, it is mandatory that you remove everything that gets stuck in those tiny, magnetlike fibers — much of which is not visible to the naked eye. You have to thoroughly clean microfiber cloths after you’ve used them. Follow the manufacturer’s washing instructions.

Surprisingly, the best way is to boil a microfiber cloth in a saucepan on the stovetop to avoid washing with regular detergents. This way, “washing” with water only, you will kill bacteria, germs and viruses without leaving any residues behind. Hang to dry.

PRO TIP

Never, ever use any kind of laundry softener on microfiber. If you use detergent or soap of any kind, make triple sure it is thoroughly rinsed out so that absolutely no residue remains.

Would you like more information? Go to EverydayCheapskate.com for links and resources for recommended products and services in this column. Mary invites questions, comments and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, “Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a lifestyle blog, and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.”