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Microfiber vs. Cotton Cleaning Cloths: What’s the Difference?

A healthy office is a happy office. To ensure the health and happiness of your customers, employees, and guests, you should keep your office clean and sanitary. And to maintain office cleanliness, you need the right supplies.

Cloths are one cleaning staple that every business should have on hand. However, there's more than one option when it comes to cleaning cloths. Two of the most common options include microfiber and cotton cloths. But what's the difference between these two kinds of cloths? Is one better than the other? Let's find out.

Pantero_MicrofiberCloths_1920Microfiber vs. Cotton

What's the difference between microfiber and cotton cleaning cloths? Here's a brief rundown.

Cotton cloths are natural cloths made from cotton fibers. Cotton is plucked from cotton plants. Then, the cotton fibers are extracted and woven into yarn. We use this yarn to make cloths. Cotton is a common material for cleaning cloths because it's highly absorbent, breathable, and soft.

Microfiber cloths use synthetic materials such as polyester, polyamide, and nylon. They have extremely fine fibers (up to 110,000 fibers per sq. inch) that make them impressively absorbent and durable.

Which is better? It's hard to say. Ultimately, it comes down to what you’re looking for in a cleaning cloth. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both to help you decide.

Advantages of Cotton

Wondering about the benefits of cotton cloth over microfiber? Here's where cotton excels.


Cotton cloths are some of the most inexpensive cloths you can purchase. This makes them an economical choice for businesses running on a tight budget.

Easy to Care For

Cotton cloths are easy to clean. You can wash your cotton cloths the same way you would wash a cotton cloth or bedsheet—toss them in the wash or handwash them with detergent, soap, and softener of your choosing.

Disadvantages of Cotton

Of course, cotton cloths also have their fair share of disadvantages. Here are some areas where cotton falls behind.

Easily Damaged

Cotton cloths might be cheaper, but that's because they have a considerably shorter lifespan than microfiber cloths. Cotton cloths weaken with each use and will eventually begin to fray, shed lint, tear, and show other signs of wear. Because they wear down quickly, you'll need to replace them every year or so. Microfiber cloths, on the other hand, can last five to ten years.

Not as Absorbent

Cotton is absorbent, but not nearly as absorbent as microfiber. It can absorb up to 25 times its weight in liquid—more than microfiber—but when it comes to tougher messes like dirt and grime, cotton can't keep up.

Instead of picking up dirt, dust, and other debris, cotton cloths push it along. This results in unclean, streaky surfaces. This means that you can't rely on your cloths alone to handle larger messes—you'll need to break out cleaning chemicals.

Mildew Growth

Mildew can grow on damp cotton cloths. It isn't too difficult to remove—bleach usually does the trick. However, if you don't notice the mildew right away, it can spread from surface to surface and contaminate your entire office.

Advantages of Microfiber

Microfiber cloths come with numerous benefits that have caused many business owners to make the switch. Here are some advantages that microfiber has over cotton.

Fine Fibers

Microfiber cloths have smaller fibers than cotton cloths. What difference does this make? Good question. The more fibers your cloth has, the more efficient it will be at absorbing liquid and picking up dirt and dust. This means you can use microfiber cloths to clean up all kinds of messes, whereas cotton cloths are really only effective at cleaning up spills.

Clean Up a Wide Variety of Messes

Microfiber cloths can absorb seven times their weight. Compared to cotton cloths, which can absorb 25 times their weight, they’re not as effective at absorbing water and other liquids.

However, thanks to their extremely fine fibers, microfiber cloths are better than cotton cloths at absorbing other messes. They clean up dirt, dust, and debris quickly and efficiently, leaving behind a spotless and streak-free surface.

Long Lasting

Microfiber cloths are durable. They don't fray, shed lint, or tear as easily or as quickly as cotton cloths do. Even if you clean them weekly, they can last anywhere from five years to a decade before needing replacement.

Downsides of Microfiber

Despite the many benefits of microfiber, this versatile cloth also has some drawbacks. Let's look at what those are.

Requires More Maintenance

The process of washing microfiber is complicated and time-consuming. For one, they should never be washed with other fabrics. If you're handwashing your cloths in a sink, this shouldn't be a problem. But if you use a washer and dryer, make sure not to mix your cloths in with your office curtains or seat cushions unless you want to risk damaging the cloth’s fine fibers.

Microfiber cloths also require cleaning with specific chemicals. Never use detergent, soap, or softener that contains additives such as fragrance or conditioner. These chemicals can damage the fibers and make the cloth less absorbent.

Costs More

Microfiber is more expensive than cotton, which means you'll have to spend more on your cloths up front. But it's important to remember that, assuming you take care of them, microfiber cloths will last much longer than the average cotton cloth. This makes them the cheaper option in the long run.

Pantero_MicrofiberCloths_GUIDE_800Which One Should I Choose?

Now that you know the difference between microfiber and cotton cleaning cloths, you're probably wondering which cloth is most effective at making your office sparkle. In the end, it comes down to your office’s needs.

For smaller businesses with a limited budget, cotton cloths will work fine in most instances. They're also a great option for fast-paced offices where messes are common. That's because cleaning them is fast and easy. You don't have to waste time carefully washing each cloth and can have them ready again in a flash.

For the best clean, however, microfiber cloths are the better choice. They can effectively clean up a range of messes. They also last a long time, which means you can buy them wholesale and not have to worry about purchasing more for at least a few years.

If you need office cleaning supplies wholesale for your business, come and check out Pantero's impressive section of microfiber and cotton cloths, brooms, dusters, and more today! We offer same-day delivery for orders placed before 4:00 PM within our service area, so you don't have to wait to get an office that's as clean as a whistle.

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