They may seem like any other towel or rag, but those made from microfiber come with some baggage. For starters, some people hate — and we mean, truly despise — the feeling of microfiber on their skin. If you fall into this category, you’re not alone, and that weird snagging sensation you’re feeling isn’t in your head.
The second obstacle with microfiber towels is washing them. It’s not that the process is difficult — it’s just that in order to make sure the towels last, it’s best to wash them on their own, rather than throwing them in with a load of other laundry.
To their credit, the tiny fibrous loops on microfiber cloths do more than make your skin crawl: They’re also the reason why the material is so effective at cleaning and polishing a variety of surfaces. Sadly, washing microfiber towels won’t make them feel any nicer, but it will get them clean. Here’s what to do.
Before you wash microfiber towels
When you put microfiber towels in the washer with cotton or other materials that cause lint, they will come out covered in said lint. That’s why you want to wash them separately, and thoroughly clean the lint trap before putting them in the dryer (if you insist on going that route).
And before you do anything else, give the towels a good shake (either outside or into a garbage bag) to remove the existing dirt and dust, so that doesn’t end up being redistributed back onto the towels as you wash them, Shifrah Combiths at The Kitchn advises.
One other thing before we begin: according to Combiths, we’re supposed to wash microfiber towels after each use. Why? “Dirt that’s caught in the fibres of the cloths could scratch and damage the surface of whatever you clean next,” she explains.
How to wash microfiber towels
You have two options here: Either the washing machine, or hand-washing. If you opt for the machine, only use a tiny bit of detergent, and make sure it doesn’t contain any additives like softeners or fragrance. In fact, according to Combiths, it’s possible to skip the detergent entirely.
That’s the case when you hand-wash them. If you’ve only used the towels for light cleaning, like polishing or dusting, you can pop them in a container of warm water (without detergent), give them a good swish to give the dirt and dust a chance to come off, squeeze out any excess water, and hang them out to dry, Combiths writes.
How to dry microfiber towels
Speaking of which, it’s best to line-dry microfiber towels, even if you washed them in the washing machine. This eliminates the risk of them picking up any lint or debris inside the dryer — plus, they dry really quickly.
If that’s not an option for some reason, use the setting with the lowest heat on your dryer (or turn off the heat completely), and again, don’t mix microfiber towels in with any other laundry in the dryer.