We Wiped Down Glassware and Fingerprinted Fridges to Find the Best Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
Use ’em in every room of the house.
Published Jun 21, 2022 3:09 PM
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Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.” That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
Microfiber cleaning cloths are the unsung heroes of a tidy household. Whether you’re drying dishes, dusting shelves, or polishing your car’s wheels, they can do everything—all while being more sustainable than their paper counterparts and more effective than cotton rags. The best microfiber cleaning cloths can significantly reduce bacteria, allow you to clean with less water, and remove more dirt than other types of cleaning cloths. We put a slew to work, wiping up grease, cleaning spills, drying glasses, and more—all in a house that’s home to two adults, a toddler, and a dog (in other words: great testing ground).
We believe the best can do the hard work while looking good, too. Our favorites come in a variety of colors and textures, and might even get you a little excited about doing some housework. We tested several and tapped Becky Rapinchuk, founder of Clean Mama, to determine your needs. So if you’re ready to ditch paper towels, here are our findings for the best microfiber cleaning cloths.
- Best overall: Full Circle Recycled Microfiber Essential Cloths
- Best value: Skura Style Wipe Envy
- Best all purpose: Geometry Microfiber Cloths
- Best shoe cleaner: Jason Markk Shoe Cleaning Essentials
- Best waffle texture: Guests on Earth Microfiber Waffle Cloths
- Best variety: Everspring Cleaning Cloth
- Best large format: Crate & Barrel Antimicrobial Microfiber Cloths
Best Overall: Full Circle Recycled Microfiber Essential Cloths
Single or pack: Pack of 5 | Best for: Everything | Size: 12-by-12 inches
What we like:
- 5 different cloths for different cleaning purposes
- Each cloth is clearly labeled
- Good colors
- If you want more than one of the cloths, you’ll have to buy another pack
Why we chose it: A pack of cloths that can do it all.
The microfiber cloth you might use to clean up grease on your stainless steel range isn’t the same one that you should use to dry glasses. Full Circle makes it easy to identify the cloth you need by labeling each in the pack of five with an easy-to-read tag. The “stainless steel” one, for example, drove our tester to clean fingerprints off the fridge right away with just a little bit of water. Each cloth is extremely soft and has an appropriate texture for the job (the grease cloth has ridges along it to make capturing messes easier; the dusting option is incredibly soft and almost shaggy-like in its appearance). You could think of these as training wheels for microfiber cloth newbies, but any level of home cleaner will appreciate their simplicity and effectiveness.
Best Value: Skura Style Wipe Envy
Single or pack: Pack of 10 | Best for: Less intense cleaning projects | Size: 9-by-10 inches
What we like:
- Compact size makes them easy to stash around the house for cleaning emergencies
- Small but mighty workhorses
- Only available in white
- Good up to 20 washes
Why we chose it: Great versatility at an affordable cost.
These cloths prove that size doesn’t matter when it comes to effectiveness. At $8 for a pack of 10, they are great for storing around the house, within reach in case of a cleaning emergency (they happen!). Since they’re small, you might not want to use these for heavy-duty cleaning projects; they have less surface area and are white, so prone to stains. But they’re great at wiping drips off countertops, finishing your dishwasher’s drying job, and even cleaning a laptop screen. Throw one in your car and you have a great dashboard duster at the ready. The brand claims these are only good up to 20 washes, which is less than most of the cloths we tested, but we loved that they dry quickly and offer good value.
Best All Purpose: Geometry Microfiber Cloths
Single or pack: Pack of 2 | Best for: Wiping down counters, drying dishes | Size: 18-by-30 inches
What we like:
- Come in a variety of patterns (it’ll be hard to choose)
- Easy to display thanks to cloth loop
- Pricey at 2 for $32
- Made of recycled material
Why we chose it: A beautiful design lets these double as dish towels.
If this were a beauty contest, the microfiber tea towels by Geometry would win hands down. Made of recycled material, they’re thin but soft and come in vibrant colors and bold patterns that our tester loved leaving on display. Good looks aside, they’re also highly functional and particularly great to have in the kitchen, where they clean up spills and dry dishes (or hands) beautifully. After intense dish-drying sessions, our tester hung them up and was pleasantly surprised to see that they dried quickly (thanks to that thin construction). Our tester was also impressed with how easily these cleaned up something a little more intensive, too: She used them to clean a water painting spill in her toddler’s play area and they swiftly picked up the mess and then washed out nicely as well.
Best Shoe Cleaner: Jason Markk Shoe Cleaning Essentials
Single or pack: Single | Best for: Cleaning dirt off your shoes | Size: 12-by-12 inches
What we like:
- Compact packaging
- Great for shoes
- Expensive at only one cloth for $10 without much functionality
Why we chose it: A cloth for shoe lovers.
Jason Markk is a shoe-care brand, so you better believe that its microfiber cloth is great at cleaning shoes. Keeping one by the door proved to be oh so handy when our tester came in from the rain, and it wiped off excess water on shoes like sneakers and faux leather easily. It’s also nonabrasive, making it safe to use on any material including suede and leather (though our tester doesn’t rock shoes in those materials very often). While you could use this cloth, theoretically, on anything, it’s probably best to stick with shoes. Only one comes in a pack, so you won’t want to put it through the wringer cleaning your kitchen or bathroom.
Best Waffle Texture: Guests on Earth Microfiber Waffle Cloths
Single or pack: Pack of 2 | Best for: Drying | Size: Approx. 12-by-12 inches
What we like:
- Delightfully soft
- Waffle texture and chic, neutral color
- Made from 80 percent recycled polyester
- Just 2 for $15
Why we chose it: A super-absorbent cloth that makes drying glassware (almost) a joy.
The packaging on Guests on Earth cloths says “indulgent waffle texture,” and when you touch them, you’ll see why: They are incredibly soft and luxe (even though they’re made using 80 percent recycled polyester). The brand also claims that these microfiber cloths contain “antibacterial silver ion technology,” making them even more powerful at banishing bacteria. These cloths are great for wiping down counters (you could use them with one of the best all-purpose cleaners, but a little bit of water does the trick), and they’re exceptionally great at drying glasses. We took these to a few fragile, hand-wash-only glasses (think: coupes, champagne flutes), and with only one wipe around, all the water was gone and no streaks were left behind. While these are pricier than most microfiber cloths, you’re getting a sustainable product that feels fancy and lasts at least 100 washes.
Best Variety: Everspring Cleaning Cloth
Single or pack: Pack of 6, 3 different types | Best for: Multipurpose | Size: 11-by-8 inches
What we like:
- 3 texture options
- Soft color palette
- A loop for hanging and drying
- No direction about the purposes the cloths are best suited for
Why we chose it: A good starter pack at an even better cost.
If you don’t want to commit to just one, Everspring’s microfiber cleaning cloths are a great option. This six-pack includes two kinds of three different cloth styles: waffle, loop weave, and plain textured. Earthy hues (sandy beige, pale blue, and grass green) are easy on the eyes. While each is sufficiently good at its intended job, the standout of the bunch was the green loop weave towel—just a little bit of water on the cloth and it took a marble cutting board from grimy to glimmering (but the waffle weave was good for drying off any excess water).
Best Large Format: Crate & Barrel Antimicrobial Microfiber Cloths
Single or pack: Pack of 2 | Best for: Heavy-duty cleaning, car detailing | Size: 16-by-24 inches
What we like:
- Very soft right out of the packaging
- Large size (more surface area) makes these stand up to tough cleaning jobs
- Ideal for a car exterior because they’re so soft
- A bit cumbersome for cleaning glassware
Why we chose it: Sometimes bigger is better.
These microfiber cloths by Crate & Barrel would fit in nicely in almost any kitchen. Their rich gray color is neutral enough to blend in indoors, and they clean countertops efficiently, but their softness (and they are soft) and size make them the best microfiber cloths we tested for cleaning a car. When you’re cleaning car wheels, that softness and absorbency is paramount, and these cloths do both quite well. So maybe split the difference: Keep one in the kitchen and one in the garage.
How We Chose These Products
Microfiber cloths are often designed with not-so-cute colors and patterns. Why? Who knows. So when it came to choosing the best microfiber cleaning cloths, we wanted ones that could get the job done and you wouldn’t be embarrassed to pull out of the closet. It was also important that they be as sustainable as possible (i.e., made out of recycled fabric, could handle multiple washes before being replaced, and so on). We also looked for options that are multifunctional and of different weaves and textures. Lastly, we tapped Rapinchuk for guidance on what kind of cloths to use and when—and then we really put them to the test all over the house.
Our Shopping Checklist
It’s not hard to find microfiber cloths in a plethora of colors, but it takes some digging to find ones that don’t feel stuck with an ’80s color palette (in a bad way). We searched out picks from basic white and soft blue to dark gray and green and even some chic patterns. When it comes to a cloth’s construction, Rapinchuk likes a stitched edge for durability and says that it should be made of 80 percent polyester to ensure a denser cloth—if that’s not clear, look for one that’s thick and soft to the touch. Cloths also have different textures. This isn’t just for looks; it’s how you know what your cloth is best for (more on that, below). Most of the cloths we tested are a waffle, loop weave, and dimple weave.
While most cloths can be used for different purposes, some perform certain tasks better than others. A waffle-textured cloth, for example, is best for glass and mirrors, says Rapinchuk, while a loop weave is better for all-purpose cleaning. While testing, we found that waffle-textured cloths were incredibly absorbent and left glassware completely dry and streak-free. A smooth, plain-textured cloth is better for polishing shiny surfaces or cleaning things like laptop screens, according to Rapinchuk, and will leave them streak-free. You can use an all-purpose cleaner with microfiber cloths, but most of the time water will do the trick.
Microfiber cloths can be washed in a washing machine (hooray for low maintenance!). Rapinchuk says to first rinse after each use and then air-dry. When it comes time to wash them, most care instructions suggest machine washing on cold or warm, and then drying at low or tumble.
Q: Are microfiber cleaning cloths better than paper towels?
“In almost every situation they’re better than paper towels for cleaning—no lint, highly absorbent, removes dirt better, eco-friendly,” says Rapinchuk. “If you’re using a non-microfiber cleaning cloth, it is probably higher in cotton, might not be as absorbent, and won’t attract the dirt and dust the same way that microfiber cleaning cloths do.”
Q: How long do microfiber cloths last?
Most cloths will say on the package how many washes they can handle before it’s time to replace them, but that isn’t necessarily fixed. “I wash my microfiber cleaning cloths weekly. With 52 weeks in a year, I gauge that is about 150 washes, and it’s definitely safe to say that they’ll last three years,” says Rapinchuk.
Q: Do I need to wet my microfiber cloth before cleaning?
You don’t have to, but Rapinchuk prefers to moisten her cloths even before dusting. When we tested the cloths, the ones that were best for glass cleaning did a better job when they were a bit moist.
Q: Are there different grades of microfiber cloths?
“Microfiber grades refer to both quality and purpose,” says Rapinchuk. “A plusher feel would most likely have a higher grade than a thinner, scratchy feel, but you could also make the case that different microfiber cloths have different purposes, and that relates to the grade.” For example, thin, shinier cloths are better for windows and other hard surfaces, while softer cloths are better for things like cars, which have delicate paint and need gentle cleaning. Most of the cloths we tested didn’t share their grams per square meter, which measures how dense the towel is, but you can gauge by touch how thick/thin and soft/rough a cloth is.
Q. Can microfiber cloths get rid of germs?
They can’t kill germs, but they will remove them, says Rapinchuk. Some cloths are made with antimicrobial material (thanks to a silver cleaning agent), though it’s debatable how truly effective it is. Washing on warm will kill the germs, but if you need to sanitize, try washing on hot.
The Last Word
The best microfiber cleaning cloths are game-changing cleaning devices—they dry, polish, dust, and clean up spills more effectively than a paper towel or cotton rag. Modern microfiber cloths can look just as chic as your favorite dish towel, too. The Full Circle Recycled Microfiber Essential Cloths is our best overall pick because they check our boxes on both form and function, offer great variety in one pack, and hold up well when put through the paces.