3 Best Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, Tested By Food Network Kitchen
Step away from the paper towels — these reusable cloths are a game changer.
Our Top Picks for the Best Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
Have you ever noticed how often you reach for a paper towel; to dry your hands, to wipe up a spill, to disinfect the countertop? Whether you do it constantly without thinking about it or you cringe a little every time you throw away another sheet, there is a better way: microfiber cleaning cloths.
First, What Is Microfiber?
Microfiber is a type of material made from synthetic fibers. The fibers are extremely thin, which make them highly absorbent. A microfiber cloth’s miraculous absorbing power means you can wipe up spills with it; plus, you can pull up grease and dirt, so you’re able to use fewer chemical cleaners. Microfiber also dries quickly, so along with using the cloths for cleaning, you can keep them in the kitchen for drying hands and wiping down wet counters — jobs for which you might have reached for paper towels before.
There are many microfiber cloths on the market, ranging in size, color and price. We tested eight highly-rated popular brands. Three stood out; these were the ones that absorbed the most efficiently and cleaned thoroughly and easily.
These cheerfully bright cloths are 12.6 inches square, and we found them to be the Goldilocks of cleaning cloths: not too big, not too small, just right. They’re powerful; one cloth can dry several pairs of hands, and dry a wet counter with just a couple of swipes, without leaving any lint or moisture behind. They dry quickly, too.
If you’re still uncertain about microfiber, start with a two-pack of these 12-by-14-inch cloths. Don’t let their pretty magenta hue fool you — they are tough. The company claims these can clean without detergent; we tried it out on a very dirty countertop complete with sticky spots, and a bit of water and these cloths did the trick.
If all those bright shades don’t suit your taste, good news: These cloths come in darker colors, too. They're slightly thicker than our other two favorites, which worked great for drying hands. At 15 inches square, they’re a bit larger, which can be useful for large countertops and other jobs such as cleaning stovetops.
A Note On Cleaning the Cloths
At first, we balked at the idea of having to wash these cloths separately (who’s going to do that?), but upon further research, we realized it is necessary. The cloths can absorb lint from other textiles, and once that happens, they lose their absorbing power (even if the lint isn’t visible). So to help your cloths last longer, wash them separately from clothes and other textiles, and dry on a low heat setting. Also, avoid using fabric softener, which can plug up the spaces between the fibers and kill the cloths’ absorbency. We recommend washing the cloths before first use; all had a mild chemical smell before washing that came off on our hands, which went away after washing.
How We Tested
We started with eight popular brands of microfiber cloths. For each one, we washed our hands, then dried them on a cloth, repeating a few times. Then we hung the cloth up to see how long it took to dry. We wiped a granite countertop with a very wet sponge, then used a fresh cloth to wipe away the water, observing how efficiently it dried the surface and how clean the surface was. Finally, we misted disinfecting spray over the counter and used another fresh cloth to wipe it up, noting how efficiently it wiped up the spray and whether the spray discolored the cloth. We washed and dried the cloths in a standard home washing machine, and checked to make sure they retained their shape, then repeated the tests to make sure the cloths kept their absorbency after being laundered.