- Spills and smudges happen, and the right type of cleaning cloth makes a world of difference.
- Zwipes is our top pick because its cloths are multipurpose and don’t leave streaks or lint behind.
If you wipe, polish, and dust often, a reusable, sustainable cleaning cloth is practical to have on hand. These cloths aren’t limited to countertops, either – you can use them to dust pantry items, polish metal, and even wipe smudges off laptop screens and car windows.
By selecting the right type of cloth for each task, you can also limit potential damage to the item you’re cleaning. Paper towels and some fabric towels can scratch finishes or leave lint that can damage electronics.
As a home economist who has years under my belt testing cleaning products for companies, I’m always looking for unique picks that are effective, easy to use, and of great value. . Below, I rounded up the best cleaning cloths I’ve found, plus tips on how to maximize their use.
Here are the best cleaning cloths of 2021
- Best cleaning cloths overall: Zwipes Microfiber Cloths
- Best cleaning cloths for tough messes: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sheets
- Best kitchen cleaning cloths: Libman Microfiber Sponge Cloths
- Best cleaning cloths for electronics: Magic Fiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
- Best metal polishing cleaning cloths: Sunshine Cleaning and Polishing Cloths
Zwipes Microfiber Cloths are a plush, 110,000 fiber-count cleaner that can scrub stubborn stains or dust delicate decor pieces.
Pros: Great at absorbing water and picking up dirt, can be used without chemicals or detergents, prevent lint and streaks, quick to dry, machine washable
Cons: Thinner and smaller than some other brands, can leave lint if not rinsed before using
If you haven’t added microfiber cleaning products to your arsenal, you’re missing out. These small fibers make a cleaning cloth more effective in absorbing water and attracting dirt molecules.
The Zwipes Microfiber Cloths are constructed with 110,000 microfibers per square inch and can be used without chemicals or detergents. With so many fibers (usually nylon and polyester), the dirt and bacteria are trapped in these cloth types until you use laundry detergent and water to flush them away. The cloths will leave mirrors, surfaces, and stainless steel streak-free, too.
What’s more, these cloths absorb eight times their weight in water and dry in half the time of the average brand, so you can clean multiple rooms in a snap.
The best cleaning cloths for tough messes
If you’re giving your home a deep clean — and hopping from room to room — Mr. Clean’s Magic Erasers will conveniently loosen tough grime.
Pros: Flexible for cleaning hard-to-reach areas, can be cut for smaller jobs, no additional chemicals needed, tackles tough grime
Cons: Can’t be used on highly polished surfaces or wood, too thin for some tasks
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sheets use melamine-foam activated with water as micro-scrubbers to remove scuff marks and stuck-on grime from nearly every type of surface. And they aren’t a favorite just because of the advertised cleaner clad in all white — the disposable sheets are only 1/16-inch thick and super flexible so I can reach caked-on dirt in hard-to-reach places.
My favorite thing about the sheets is their functionality without the use of additional chemicals, which is difficult to find when tackling tough grime. For tougher messes where a wipe won’t cut it, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser blocks should do the trick. I do recommend that the freshly cleaned area get a rinse with a damp microfiber cloth to remove any foam particles that might remain.
The best kitchen cleaning cloths
Libman’s Microfiber Sponge Cloths are a sponge and microfiber cloth hybrid that easily absorb and leave surfaces streak-free.
Pros: Naturally prevents bacteria, sponge and microfiber design, great for cleaning small items, highly absorbent, leaves surfaces streak-free
Cons: Cloths can be stiff until washed several times
If you love using a sponge in the kitchen, but are concerned about the number of coliform bacteria (Salmonella or E.coli) that can lurk in the pores, Libman Microfiber Sponge Cloths are a great option. Made from a synthetic sponge quilted between a soft microfiber exterior, they’re ideal for washing dishes and cleaning kitchen counters alike.
I appreciate that each cloth is small enough to wash the inside of drinking glasses and coffee mugs, too. The sponge adds to the cloths’ absorbency while the microfiber produces streak-free surfaces whether using them wet or dry.
One tip for any type of microfiber cloth is to never use fabric softener or dryer sheets (I hang mine to air dry) when cleaning. The fabric softener will coat the microfibers and make them less absorbent. I find that each cloth stands up to about 25 or so washes until I’m ready to replace it.
The best cleaning cloths for electronics
For crystal-clear smartphone screens and devices, Magic Fiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths will prevent scratches paper and cotton towels can cause.
Pros: Prevents scratches, removes smudges, long-lasting, safe on delicate surfaces, lint-proof
Cons: Black cloths may leach dye when wet and should be hand washed separately from other fabrics
Our smartphones, eyeglasses, and other delicate items take much abuse. To remove smudges, the Magic Fiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths are essential, as cotton and paper towels can leave lint and cause scratches.
The long-lasting and pocket square-like cloths are finely woven from microfiber and produce no lint, absorb oil, and can clean fingerprint-ridden screens. The microfiber attracts dust and holds onto it until the screen is spotless instead of dragging the particles across the surface. When I use them, just a few wipes with the dry cloth are effective most of the time. If screens or lenses have lots of smudges, lightly dampening the cloth with plain water will help.
The metal polishing cleaning cloths
If you spend hours polishing silver or brass with messy creams and liquids, Sunshine Cleaning and Polishing Cloths will make your metals gleam.
Pros: Cleans metal without messy liquids and pastes, leaves jewelry, dinnerware, and decorative metal pieces polished and streak-free
Cons: Cannot be washed and reused
It was always my job to spend hours polishing silver dinnerware and serving pieces before every holiday gathering. My kids have avoided the torture because I found Sunshine Cleaning and Polishing Cloths.
These cloths are amazing, thanks to the polishing agent embedded in the soft microfiber fabric. As you polish sterling silver, gold, brass, or copper, the dark oxidation that dulls the finish is transferred to the Sunshine Cleaning Cloth. When the cloth has turned black, toss it away.
Tips on how to best use cleaning cloths
When something needs to be cleaned, most of us just grab a cloth and dive in. But, there is a proper way to use any cleaning cloth to prevent redepositing soil on surfaces or cross-contamination between tasks.
No matter how great the cleaning cloth may be, once it’s full of soil, it won’t collect any more. If the cloth is saturated, you’re simply swiping dirt or germs all over the surface —not removing them.
When you begin working with any type of cleaning cloth, fold it in half, then fold in half again. This gives you eight clean sides to use. As you move from one area to the next, refold the cloth to a clean side for a fresh and soil-free cleaning cloth for each job.
To help prevent cross-contamination between bathrooms, kitchens, and living areas, use different colored cloths for each room. Once cleaning cloths are heavily soiled or beginning to fray, use them one last time for a really messy job — like cleaning a greasy outdoor grill or dirty car wheels — before tossing.
Check out our other guides to household cleaning products