The Microfiber Cloth vs. The Sponge

05Sep10

Those of you who read this blog for the witty commentary on life’s foibles might want to skip this posting, as I’m getting down and dirty on….cleaning tools.  Specifically, which is better – the microfiber cloth or the sponge?

I’ll state my bias right up front.  I love microfiber cloths.  I fell in love with them when a vendor from Starfiber was selling cloths at my farmers’ market.  Since every disorganized, cleaning-challenged person is a sucker for that one cleaning supply that will change your life and transform you into an impeccable housekeeper, I bought a few cloths and a mop.  Although they did not transform my life, they do work great.  They clean surfaces with minimal effort and no cleaning solution.  They are absorbent and they can be used on mirrors with no glass cleaner needed.  Not all microfiber cloths are created equal — I’ve bought some at the supermarket that are not nearly as good as the ones I’ve bought online.

So why the debate?  Because microfiber cloths have their down side.  They get slimy and smelly.  I throw them in the washing machine, and I’m fooled into thinking the smell is gone until the first time I use them again.  The sliminess and smelliness can likely be avoided by rinsing the cloth after every use and laying it out to dry, but such quality control is impossible in a household of four.  Surprising as it may seem, not everyone in my family cares about them like I do.  So nine times out of ten, the microfiber cloth in the kitchen is crumpled up in the sink or the counter, sodden and filled with crumbs that people were too lazy to rinse out.

The other day, I asked my husband where the kitchen one was and he admitted that he threw it away.  What??!!!  I took this as a sign that I should switch back to sponges.  Sponges are cheap and meant to be thrown away after a little while.  Sponges don’t need to be ordered online.  And sponges are probably easier to rinse and wring out.  But as I was cleaning my counter, I dearly missed my microfiber cloth so I think a hybrid approach might be in order.

Readers – advice?  What do you use and is it possible to keep microfiber cloths fresh?

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4 Responses to “The Microfiber Cloth vs. The Sponge”

  1. 1 Irene Dyer

    Hmm. . . I use microfiber cloths for dusting, mainly (I love that they don’t just stir the dust around and start a sneezing fit the way normal rags do). For wet jobs, I use a sponge. When I was growing up, my mother always had a “dish rag” that was about the size of a washcloth, but less fuzzy. It invariably stayed wet on the kitchen counter for weeks until the smell of mildew would make me gag from across the room (I’ve always had the most sensitive sense of smell in the family). Even just remembering the smell as I write this is making me a little queasy. So I have a strong aversion to wet cloths and only use sponges in the kitchen. Do sponges sit around and grow mildew? Sure they do, but I try to throw them in the dishwasher every time I run it so they don’t sit around too long and they come out close to sterile.

    • 2 wendy

      lol! We used to have a HandiWipe in our kitchen which used to get gross too. But my mom would replace it before it got too bad. I’ve switched to sponges, but it doesn’t really cut it for doing the Flylady “swish and swipe” routine – the one Flylady routine that I’ve actually mastered! So I keep a microfiber cloth in the bathroom to wipe the toothpaste spatters off the mirror every morning.

  2. 3 Kaz

    You have to try Skoy cloth – best things out there…


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