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Microfiber vs Cotton

Why Microfiber Towels Are Better Than Cotton

When you break out the cleaning supplies to give your kitchen or bathroom some attention, erase the lovely crayon art your children have supplied your walls with, or simply do a little polishing in the garage, you’ll likely want to use products that help you clean as efficiently as possible. Some chemicals and cleaning formulas are more effective than others, that’s not up for debate – however, the shop rag or cleaning cloth you wipe with also has a big impact on the level of clean you can achieve.

The classic choice is cotton. Towels, dish rags, shop rags – everyone has at least one cotton cleaning cloth lying around, but what about microfiber? Microfiber, despite its massive growth in popularity over the past decade or so, is surprisingly still unknown to a huge majority of people. If you’ve never heard of or given microfiber a try, we’re going to explain exactly why it’s the best towel material out there, and you might find yourself switching out your dish and shop rags for an upgrade.

What is microfiber?

Before we explore the many benefits of microfiber, first let’s take a look at the ins and outs of how it’s made. Microfiber, as its name implies, is a material composed of really, really tiny threads – smaller than one denier. Most microfiber materials on the market are a weave of nylon and polyester (but they can occasionally contain other materials as well). The fibers of both materials are broken into fibers 1/100th the diameter of a human hair, then woven into the desired material, such as bedsheets, cleaning cloths, mop heads, and more.

This densely-woven collection of tiny fibers is what makes microfiber so adept at cleaning and removing bacteria, as well as collecting dirt. In addition, the core materials nylon and polyester also give it durability which allows microfiber textiles to be washed and reused hundreds of times.


Spills happen. If you have children or rowdy pets, they probably happen frequently. When cleaning up spills, a material that can soak up the mess and wipe it clean is going to be your bread and butter, right? Well, since the fibers that make up microfiber are split more times than a human hair, this increases the total surface area and allows it to absorb seven to eight times its weight in liquid. This efficiency makes cleaning up spills go much faster than with cotton cleaning cloths, which are constructed of fibers about 30% larger than microfiber.


Softer textiles are easier on your hands. Because the small fibers of microfiber are so densely woven, it provides a soft-to-the-touch feeling that is hard to achieve with cotton. You’ve probably, at some point, compared different cotton bed sheets: higher thread count means softer, right? This same principle applies, except microfiber’s threads are even smaller than cotton, simulating a higher “count”. This rationale also applies to why microfiber bedsheets are commonly available now, which are popular for their soft, luxurious feel.

This soft texture also makes microfiber less abrasive on household surfaces, making them the material of choice for cleaning cars, windows, glass, and more. If you have had trouble in the past with your rough cotton cleaning rags scratching or scuffing surfaces around the house, making the switch to microfiber will alleviate these problems and make your daily cleaning duties more gentle, as well as more effective.

Efficiency at removing bacteria, dust, and dirt

If you’re cleaning your grill, which is more effective: a fork or a wire brush? A wire brush, of course, because there are more implements that come in contact with the surface to remove contaminants. This same logic applies to microfiber – it has more fiber to pick up more contaminants, including bacteria, dust, dirt and more.

According to this study, microfiber showed the best results when measured how effectively microbial loads were reduced compared to cotton cloths and other types of cleaning materials. Considering this study, a simple switch to microfiber cleaning cloths in your home can not only help you absorb messes better and reduce abrasion by using a softer cloth, but it can increase safety and sanitation by removing common household bacteria.

A switch to microfiber towels around the house also means more efficient dusting. The densely-woven fiber structure that presents the other many benefits we’ve listed also makes microfiber incredible for picking up dust and dirt. Dusting surfaces with microfiber is a quick and painless process because of the sheer volume of fibers that trap the dust and effortlessly lift it from your cupboards, ceiling fan, TV, etc.

Wrapping it up

Switching to microfiber cleaning cloths isn’t a matter of life or death, but given the many benefits discussed above, it’s obvious that microfiber is the superior material to the previous king, cotton. Whether you’re looking for new bedsheets or a bundle of towels, microfiber is sure to be softer, more absorbent, and much more efficient at cleaning. Best of all, microfiber materials aren’t much more expensive than cotton, and their longer lifespan makes them a great value.

Product Advisor Editorial Team

Product Advisor Editorial Team

Product Advisor is dedicated to bringing the most unbiased product research to consumers based on machine learning, AI and robust product experiments.

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