microfiber towels

Frugal Tools: Microfiber Towels

Frugal fringers aren’t complete anti-materialists. They simply insist that if a material thing takes up space in their lives, it needs to carry its weight by delivering good value.

In this post, I advocate that you open the doors of your home to some microfiber towels.

The Basic Advantages. Here’s a short list:

  • Reuseable. Unlike paper towels, they can survive dozens of washings before they wear out.
  • Absorbent. They take in a lot more water than standard towels before you have to wring them out. They vacuum up the last few droplets of water that remain after you squeegee any glass surface.
  • Scratch-Free. The microfibers polish without scratching.
  • Streak-Free. A dry or barely damp towel leaves no streaks. If the towel gets too wet, however, you’ll likely see streaking. The solution: wring the towel out or switch to a dryer one.
  • Lint-Free (nearly). Towels fresh out of the package tend to leave a small bit of lint (but still much less than paper towels do). Once a towel receives its first wash, the lint disappears completely.

The Basic Uses. Some examples:

  • Dust. Microfiber towels excel at evicting dust bunnies. In this function, they work quicker than paper towels or rags because there’s no need to use a spray. Just wipe the dry surface, take the dusty cloth outside, and shake it vigorously to release all the bunnies back into nature where they belong.
  • Spider Webs. The towels attract them like magnets.
  • Dashboards. No need to spray the vinyl first with a “protectant.” Microfibers trap almost all the dust with a single wipe.
  • Glass and Mirrors. Have you seen that annoying haze that builds up on the inside of your windshield, even if you don’t smoke? Make it go away. Spray the glass lightly with cleaner and buff it dry.
  • Computer and TV screens. Spray lightly with cleaner and wipe.
  • Wax and Polishes. After the wax or polish dries, buff it out. The microfibers capture the flaky residue.

The Cost. At Costco, these go for about fifty cents per 16” x 16” towel. I buy them in jumbo packs of 36. If this seems like too many for you to absorb, divide them up among a few friends.

The Savings. In our household, microfiber towels often take the place of disposable paper towels. Don’t get me wrong: we still buy paper towels, but we use far fewer of them than we otherwise might. Also, we end up buying fewer cleaning products because the cloths work so well on dry or lightly sprayed surfaces.

Buying Tips. As with any product, quality varies. Cheap versions are thinner so they tend to scratch surfaces and wear out sooner. Some reviewers complain about a faint chemical smell, but they apparently miss the point that they could air the towels out or wash them prior to use. Amazon provides reviews of specific brands. For a product description of the ones I bought last year and have enjoyed using, click here (note: I paid less for them at Costco).

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