Why You Shouldn’t Put Microfiber Cloths in the Dryer

Microfiber cloths do the cleaning for you, but have you ever thought about how they should be cleaned?

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Once you start cleaning with microfiber cloths, you never go back. And while they aren’t one of the pricier cleaning items you have to purchase, there are still things you can (and should!) do to extend the life of your microfiber cloths. One of those things is not putting them in the dryer and giving them a little extra care when it comes to cleaning them. Here are things you should always clean with microfiber cloths.

How Do Microfiber Cloths Work?

To know why you shouldn’t put microfiber cloths in the dryer, you first have to understand how they work. No, it’s not some magic force that causes these cloths to pick up every piece of dirt and dust on every surface you use them on. The idea of “many hands make light work” is the basic principle that makes microfiber cloths a cleaning dream. Unlike cotton or nylon cloths, which have large fibers, microfiber cloths have thousands of tiny fibers. In fact, there are 200,000 fibers in one square inch of a microfiber cloth. When you’re cleaning, all of those tiny fibers pick up and hold the dirt, dust and liquid.

Besides the thousands of fibers, another reason these cloths so absorbent is that the fibers are positively charged. The dirt and dust that sits on surfaces in your house is negatively charged, so the mess is attracted to the cloth like a magnet. The microfibers hold onto that dust and dirt until it is released when the cloth is rinsed out.

close up of blue microfiber textureJiggo_thekop/Getty Images

Why You Shouldn’t Put Microfiber Cloths in the Dryer

Drying your microfiber cloths on high heat will melt the fibers, making them ineffective the next time you try to trap and lock dirt and dust when you’re cleaning. Since they also pick up lint, they’ll become dirtier in the dryer by collecting lint left behind from a previous wash. Here’s how to properly clean a microfiber couch.

How Should You Clean Microfiber Cloths?

Jennifer Druckamiller, director of product experience at microfiber company Norwex, suggests reusing your microfiber cloths a few times between laundering. Simply rinse them under warm water and hang dry.

“When it’s time to lauder, wash microfiber cloths separately or with other lint-free items (microfiber is designed to grab and hold onto lint),” says Druckamiller. “Prevent the fibers from being coated in your washing machine by using a detergent that is free [of] fillers and additives.”

Use cold or warm (not hot) water in the washing machine and never use bleach or fabric softener. By avoiding hot water, you’ll remove the dirt and grime from the cloths while maintaining their electric charge. Looking for more ways to make your house gleam? Here are our 16 best must-know hacks for a clean house.

Sometimes, It Comes Down to the Type of Cloth

If you’re in a rush to start cleaning (not sure when that would ever be) and you really need your microfiber cloths dried quickly, you can — cautiously — put them in the dryer on low heat. Norwex microfiber cloths actually can be machine-dried at temperatures as high as 140 F. Druckamiller adds that putting them in the dryer on low can help maximize their electrostatic charge, which will help them trap dirt. But, she warns, never use dryer sheets because they can coat and damage the fibers.

Before washing and drying other brands of microfiber cloths, make sure to check their tag or website for proper cleaning instructions. And never put other clothes in the dryer with your cloths because they will pick up the lint from the other fabrics. Now that you know how to care for your microfiber cloths, make sure to avoid these cleaning mistakes that are actually making your home dirtier.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest