A good quality microfiber cloth has anywhere between 200,000 and 380,000 fibers per square inch. That's over 70 million fibers on the average 16x16 inch split fiber microfiber cloth! The thickness of the strand varies from 1/6th the thickness of a human hair all the way down to 1/200th. The smaller the fiber, the better it will be at picking up germs and grime. As you may have guessed, the smaller the fiber, the higher the price.
GSM stands for “Grams per square meter” and indicates the density of the cloth. For house cleaning, a GSM rating between 200 and 350 tends to be effective for most purposes. The microfibers in the 300-330 GSM range are a good balance of quality and price. The higher the density, the softer, more durable and gentler the cloth will be. The lower the density, the more aggressive the cleaning action will be on tough stains and debris.
Split fiber microfibers tend to be higher priced because the process requires special equipment but the towels last much longer and are way more effective. A split fiber microfiber cloth can absorb over 7 times their weight in water! It has also been proven that the splits in the strands are what is responsible for picking up and retaining the germs on hard surfaces. The strands work like tiny “fingers” reaching out to grab the ultra-fine particles (like germs) and pulling them deep within the fabric. If you've ever hand washed a microfiber, you might be amazed at the amount of dirty water that rinses through it after use. Research also shows that a better quality microfiber reduces germs on surfaces by 99%.
Microfiber cleaning cloths, just like the name says, are microscopic fibers weaved together from a blend of polyester and polyamide. There are also newer blends that have come out recently that incorporate cotton and silk for a softer, stronger fabric which leaves little chance of scratching fine automotive finishes, but these cloths tend to be on the more expensive side. For residential cleaning purposes, the polyester/polyamide blends work very well.
There are many different types of microfibers on the market these days. You can probably go into a dollar store and get yourself a pack of 3 for a couple of dollars or, you can spend up to $20 for a cloth embedded with silver, which helps inhibit microbial growth within the fabric. Several factors go into the price, which I will explain down below.
Microfiber towels are color coded to help prevent cross-contamination of mold and other pathogens. It also eliminates the possibility of embedded sand from scratching glass and other delicate surfaces. So, for example, red cloths may be used for bathrooms while blue cloths are always be used for windows and mirrors. Green cloths can be designated for dusting furniture while yellow cloths can be used exclusively for floors. If you do this, like we do, it also helps if you launder the colors separately as well.