Photo: Are microfiber cloths eco-friendly?

Microfiber cloths can be made with petroleum-based products and are not biodegradable.(Credit: golden_toque via Flickr)

There is an up- and down- side to microfiber cloth products.

The upside of microfiber cloths:

They only need water to clean streaks, smudges, dirt and grime on glass, mirrors and stainless steel surfaces. They are also easily washed and reused. Good quality cloths last several years.

The downside of microfiber cloths

They are made from petrochemicals. The polyester and polyamide fabric strands are 100 times finer than human hair. That's what makes them so good at lifting dirt, grease and dust without cleaning chemicals. Problem is, they are made from a nonrenewable resource and do not biodegrade. And only those made from polypropylene are recyclable.

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Points for reducing the use of toxic chemical cleaners and eliminating the need for paper towels; hits for being made of petroleum-based products and for never going back to the Earth.

Ultimately, it's up to you. One cloth may be a great addition to your cleaning arsenal but don't forget you can also wash and reuse rags (from old t-shirts, sheets etc.) or newspaper which can then be composted. And, as you know I'm big on making all of my own green home cleaners.

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