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Can you really clean with just water?

I have a confession to make…I have a slight addiction to cleaning with high quality microfiber. I mean, I might honestly have a real problem here.

Let me back up and explain. For those of you who have not read my About page, I have always tried to live a balanced life with eating well, exercising, and the whole work hard, play hard type of mentality. Overall, I am a healthy person and never thought too much about my overall wellness, although I would have admitted I could make better choices.

A Baby Changes Everything

After my first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage and then becoming pregnant again with my daughter, who I carried to 41 weeks + 1 day (but who was counting) before delivery, I started to reevaluate the choices I had been making with the products I used on my body and exposed myself to throughout the day.

I stopped using perfume since there was no way to know what I was breathing in from the chemicals that made up the fragrance. I started to get paranoid about any fumes or chemicals I came into contact with during my pregnancy and would actually hold my breath while pumping gas or driving behind a truck with awful exhaust (yes, I realize lack of oxygen from holding my breath was not the best idea for the baby but seemed to be the better option). Losing a baby and trying to control the success of a subsequent pregnancy, that you really do not have control over, really does mess with the mind.

What Am I Exposed to When Cleaning?

So naturally I began questioning my cleaning product choices because of the harsh chemical smell. Now, something else you need to know about me is I am somewhat germaphobic and I teeter on the clean freak side of the spectrum. If I am going to spend time and energy to clean a room or space then it had better be clean and disinfected when I am done.

Moving towards more natural or completely natural cleaning products became an area I wrestled with for quite awhile because I really trusted and believed in the “chemical clean” that I assumed was the only way to really clean. I started using white vinegar as a natural cleaner that would disinfect. I used this on baby toys and items that I knew would enter my daughter’s mouth. I even had routines where I would wipe down toys with vinegar on a regular basis to kill germs to avoid sickness. Funny how things change with baby #2.

Baby playing with toys sitting on floor

New Cleaning Options

I have a friend, who at the time cleaned homes part-time and was starting to have some significant health concerns. She found out about a company called Norwex, who makes high quality microfiber cleaning products that you use just water to clean with AND it cleans better than traditional cleaning products. She started using and loving the products, which led her to host a party that I attended online (because they are a direct sales company) and then later she became a consultant.

My first purchase and experience with this microfiber cleaning was a Household package that contained a Norwex EnviroCloth, Norwex Window cloth and a Norwex dusting mitt. I figured it would give me a chance to really sample and try what this microfiber cleaning with water thing was all about.

I thought I would use the Norwex microfiber cloth, the EnviroCloth, the most but was a little unsure about how much I would actually use the window cloth since I have never liked cleaning windows or mirrors. Mostly I detested this task because they always seemed to streak no matter how much of the nasty blue stuff I used.

I will be honest, I did not use the products as much as I should have in the beginning. I was concerned that I was going to mess them up and after spending a decent amount of money on basically a cleaning rag, I did not want to ruin it and have to throw away. The first time I decided to use the cloth was to wipe down my kitchen cabinets with all the stuck on food and smudges. I was amazed at how easy and quick the job was to do and somewhat scolded myself for avoiding for so long.

Then I started using the cloth to wipe out the refrigerator, then to wipe baseboards, spots and scuffs on walls, spots on the couch and spills on the carpet. Then I would use on any cleaning need that popped up to try to put the Norwex cloth to the test. Every time I was amazed at how well the cloth did the job with just water and how much quicker I was able to do it too.

Part of what impressed me the most was how it really did seem to pick up whatever it is I am cleaning. The microfiber absorbs and traps so much of the grime and the cloth is a great little scrubber. I started keeping the Envirocloth in the kitchen for wiping tables, counters and chairs on a daily basis.

I also found that wiping down windows and mirrors with a wet EnviroCloth and then drying with the Norwex window cloth made cleaning them such an easy job. My windows have never been so clean! Using the window cloth to dry my kitchen appliances after cleaning with the EnviroCloth made them shine without fingerprints or smudges. The Norwex dusting mitt also made dusting quick and easy, especially for knick knacks, pictures and doors.

That was it, I became a Norwex cleaning convert! I never would have said that I particularly liked the task of cleaning before (I am more satisfied with having a clean house), but now I do not mind doing the cleaning jobs as much.

Microfiber cloth with dirty surface

How Does Microfiber Work to Clean With Just Water?

When I say high quality microfiber what I am referring to is any microfiber product that has microfibers that are 1/200th of a human hair, this is the smallest fiber size that can be produced today. Norwex and e-cloth are two companies who make microfiber products with this strand size of microfiber. For a product to be listed as microfiber it only has to meet the requirement of being at least 1/50th of a human hair. Obviously, there is a wide range in the cleaning capabilities within the microfiber world.

Some people just want a microfiber cloth for drying purposes, such as a car towel used for drying after washing. They would not necessarily need the tiniest microfiber for this job, just a microfiber that would dry well due to the small fibers ability to absorb water. The high quality microfiber cloths are able to quickly absorb 7x their weight in water, a larger strand microfiber product might not be able to absorb that much, but would do much better that a traditional cotton towel.

The tiny fibers are woven together in the cloth and are able to wipe up and trap small particles within the cloth. When I say tiny, I mean tiny. There are millions of these microfibers that are created in a way that there are ridges which help them to pick up the smallest particle on a surface as it is being wiped. The fibers are 1,000 times smaller than cotton. And if you were to stretch out the microfiber strand from one cloth it would reach from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. These cloths have been scientifically tested and have been able to wipe up bacteria such as E. coli and Listeria!

Microfiber cloths

But Does It Really Work To Clean With Just Water?

YES!!! It is crazy how well it cleans with just water. I have seen demonstrations where butter is smeared on windows or mirrors and half is “cleaned”, more like smeared, when using traditional window cleaner. When the other half is cleaned with the microfiber cloths it is perfectly clean, no butter residue at all or even a smudge and with much less time and effort.

The cloths are able to remove up to 99% or more of bacteria on a surface. Another demonstration that helps to prove the cleaning ability of these cloths is with the protein testing wands used by health inspectors and raw chicken, yuck. I hate raw chicken, it totally grosses me out and this demonstration is probably why I should never become a consultant, haha. Basically it shows how the EnviroCloth or e-cloth wipes up raw chicken juice from a surface, from the chicken piece and when the cloth is wiped on another surface it does not cross contaminate.

Ultimately, what they are showing is that there are no protein particles remaining, pushed around on the surface or transferred to a new surface when cleaning with this product. Protein particles are smaller than bacteria and viruses so by wiping with a wet high quality microfiber cloth you are able to actually clean up and absorb germs, bacteria and any minuscule protein particles on a surface, giving you a truly clean surface that does not need to be disinfected, because all contamination has been removed. Then you just rinse the cloth under warm water to release what has been captured into the cloth so it can be hung to dry and used again…and again…and again.

To see videos of some of these demonstrations and my honest review, check out my post e-cloth vs. Norwex Microfiber Review. And at this post you can to learn How to Care for Your Norwex or e-cloth.

5 Benefits of Cleaning with Norwex or e-cloth Microfiber

5 Benefits of Cleaning with Norwex or e-cloth Microfiber

It will make your home and life better. No, honestly it will. Whether you love or hate cleaning, it will help you do it better, safer and more efficiently.

l. Reduces Chemicals In Your Home

Using microfiber and water removes any unnecessary cleaning product that is loaded with chemicals. You no longer spend money on cleaning chemicals, you no longer store cleaning chemicals that curious little ones can get into and you are no longer exposed to cleaning chemicals.

This article on WebMD shares about some of the California law changes that will require cleaning products to have fully disclosed ingredient lists due to concerns of toxic ingredients found in cleaners. Here are two quotes from the article that confirm my decision to completely remove what cleaning chemicals I can from my home for my family and my own sake.

The move comes amid concerns that some cleaners contain toxic chemicals that in large quantities could cause health problems. In the short term, these chemicals may cause skin and lung irritation. Some studies have linked regular exposure to long-term health problems like hormone disruption, asthma, and cancer.

“It’s hard to know what’s in cleaning products. There are no federal regulations that require manufacturers to disclose all of their ingredients to the public,” says Samara Geller, a database and research analyst with the Environmental Working Group.

2. Saves Time

Black alarm clock

Cleaning with microfiber makes cleaning so easy to do and is so fast. You do not have to bother finding the right cleaner for the job, spraying it, or putting your cleaning item in a bucket to carry around the house.

No more waiting for chemical cleaners to work. Have you ever really read the cleaning instructions on your cleaning product? Many say you need to leave the product on the surface you are cleaning for a certain time period, anywhere from a few minutes to 10 minutes or more. And it needs to be wet with the product this entire time. This was one of my other turning points to using microfiber for cleaning, I was not even using the chemicals correctly to actually disinfect and I do not have the patience to bother with them, even if they did not negatively impact my health.

As a busy mom, I appreciate the time I “get back” from my cleaning responsibilities that I can spend with the kids or for myself, you know for like a bathroom break or something. When I was working a demanding corporate job, spending time cleaning was the last thing I wanted to do with my time away from work.

3. Cleaner house

I find that I often clean more around the house than I intended because whatever I planned to do took much less time than I expected. And I already have a wet cloth, so I might as well wipe that splattered yogurt from my wall or finger prints on the glass sliding door as I walk by when putting the cloth away. Also, when not using cleaning products that leave a film that ends up collecting dust and other particles, the house is really just clean.

I will warn you that if you use this kind of microfiber on a smooth tile floor it might become more slippery than you are used too when using chemical products that leave a residue. I have kids wiping out in my kitchen all the time and I always apologize for having a really clean floor.

4. Saves Money

Gold piggy bank

No more cleaning products to purchase. No more buying sponges that grow germs and bacteria. And no more money on paper towels for cleaning. The average American spends $600 on cleaning products a year. Invest some of that money on a product that is reusable and will last years.

5. Better For the Environment

No more chemicals, paper towels, sponges, cloths and other miscellaneous cleaning products being dumped into the environment outside your home. When you are through the life of the cloth, you can always use that cloth for jobs that do not need a perfect clean, such as the car or various dirty clean up jobs. When I get to that point they will be stored in the garage to be used for cleaning up nasty messes, such as bird droppings on the deck or a window, that I do not want to use my good microfiber cloths to do. If you prefer to get rid of your old microfiber cloths, some companies offer a recycling program so that you can get rid of your old cloths responsibly that way.

Final Thoughts on e-cloth or Norwex Cleaning

It might be worth considering high quality microfiber products for cleaning to improve your overall wellness by reducing the chemical exposure from traditional cleaners. Some natural cleaning products on the market still contain harsh ingredients that can negatively impact you and your health. By using microfiber with water for cleaning you eliminate your exposure to anything and everything that can be in a cleaner.

While my first exposure to high quality microfiber was with Norwex, I also have e-cloth products in my collection. I like both companies and their products for different reasons.

Do you use or have you tried cleaning with microfiber? What brand do you use and what do you think?

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Disclaimer: For informational and educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have a health concern, a medical condition, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or are taking any medication please consult your healthcare provider.