There are many things to consider in choosing a wiping cloth. Let’s first look at the performance of microfiber wiping cloths for specific applications. Microfiber cloths were originally designed for cleaning surfaces that are dry. For example, microfiber makes a great dust cloth. A microfiber cloth can also be used dry for removing oils and grease from a delicate surface. They are used to wipe stainless steel on cooktops and stoves and for removing fingerprints from eyeglasses. Microfiber cloths are soft and remove dust and oils easily for low soil uses. But, what about the really dirty cleaning jobs?

Spunlace wiping cloths

Spunlace wiping cloths are superior to microfiber if you need to tackle a greasy, dirty, sticky, tough cleaning job that requires your wiping cloth to be used wet (especially with a solventor cleaning agent) or dry. They work well as a substitute for paper blue stop towels. Spunlace wiping cloths maintain strength when combined with a solvent, any cleaning solution or when used with water. Since the spunlace wiping cloth is 45 percent polyester, it combines the benefits of the polyester used in microfiber cloths with the absorbency of wood pulp fibres to clean tough jobs easily. The polyester makes the spunlace wiping cloth soft, strong, and able to remove grease, dust, and dirt easily. The wood pulp adds absorbency so that liquids will be absorbed into the cell structure versus “riding along on the surface of the polyester fibre”. Microfiber cloths hold some liquids but do not actually absorb them. Therefore, they move liquids around over a surface and you may need a drying cloth to actually remove the liquid and dry your cleaning surface. This is not ideal for cleaning heavy dirt, dust or greasy surfaces. Because of the unique wood pulp/polyester combination, spunlace wiping cloths allow you to deep clean all surfaces with a liquid agent or you can use it dryto absorb spills.

Microfiber cloths

Microfiber cloths are also known for their softness but do have some lint. Spunlace wiping cloths are soft as well (especially when wet) and, additionally, are, essentially, lint free. Another popular use for spunlace wiping cloths is when you need a streak-free surface. The wood pulp absorbs the cleaning spray or solvent and uses it to clean the surface, but also removes it from the cleaning surface so it doesn’t streak or leave traces of the chemical behind. For this reason, spunlace wiping cloths are used in a myriad of industries ranging from automotive and aircraft manufacturers to even stone countertop fabricators as they cut, clean, install, seal and shine cut stone. Using your favourite granite or quartz cleaning spray, spunlace wiping cloths are the better cloth to clean stone surfaces. Many glass and mirror manufacturers use spunlace wipes to achieve a streak-free shine on their finished products before they are installed. You can use what the manufacturers use to clean glass and stone for a streak and lint-free finish.

Now that we have discussed the specific tasks and performance of spunlace wood pulp/polyester wiping cloths versus microfiber wiping cloths, let’s look at cost and disposability. If you plan to wash your wiping cloth (low soil dusting and wiping uses), then a microfiber cloth is the best choice, but what if the cloth has grease, oils and is heavily soiled. If you wash a heavily soiled cloth, there will be some residual dirt and grease that may not wash out completely, leaving the possibility that when you use the cloth again, there is a chance of cross contamination. Previous dirt and oils that are still lodged in the microfiber cloth may be deposited on your cleaning surface when you re-use the cloth. This is especially a concern when painting or detailing cars, wiping down countertops, washing windows or dealing with delicate surfaces. Spunlace wiping cloths are cost efficient enough that you can use a few to complete your cleaning job and then simply discard them.

You also throw away the grease, dirt, pet mess, paint, solvent, etc. that is contained in your dirty wiping cloth. You will use a new spunlace wiping cloth each time you begin your cleaning job. Each new spunlace wiping cloth is clean and free of any contamination. Spunlace wiping cloths are easy to rinse and re-use within a working or cleaning day if you want to re-use it, or you can choose to throw it away and use a new one. Spunlace wiping cloths start at less than ZAR2 each whereas good microfiber cloths cost ZAR10 each or more depending on the quality of the cloth. Spunlace wiping cloths allow you to tackle the dirtiest, most delicate surfaces. They give you the choice to dispose of rather than wash a dirty wiping cloth and you will not be putting the dirt, grease, and grime through the same washing machine.

It is recommended to rather source spunlace wiping products that are manufactured using no glues or binders. Use microfiber cloths where they perform best and use spunlace wiping cloths where they perform best!