Cleaning Cloths

A few notes on cleaning cloths

We go for mechanical removal over household sprays, particularly antibacterial sprays. So, microfibre for cleaning.

I can’t afford e-cloths. I bulk buy from Costco in an effort to keep these costs down and I boil wash all our cloths at 90 degrees centigrade for 2.5 hours in an effort to eradicate all life on earth :P. Top tip: it’s often cheaper to buy cloths from the car cleaning section than the house cleaning section. (Car detailers are really obsessed with microfibre! There’s no information on most generic microfibre cloths on exactly how many fibres or what shape or how effective these really are, but there are a couple ways you can evaluate this yourself:

  1. Pass your hand lightly across the surface. Do you feel a peculiar grabbing/prickling sensation on your skin? That means it’s actually grabbing and trapping dirt.
  2. Hold it up to the light. If you can see through the cloth easily, it’s not dense enough to be effective.
  3. Wipe it smoothly over a significant spill of water. If the cloth seems to hoover up the water, it’s the right thing.

We’re using these right now: microfibre cloths. I guess when they come out I’ll get a Cora Ball to try to ameliorate environmental costs.

We don’t use colour coding because you simply cannot get anyone to follow it. I would have to give up my job and become a full time Colour Coding Enforcement Officer. And I am already a part time Recycling Bin Curator, Dishwasher Interpreter, and Crown Prosecutor of Things Left on Floors. So forget that and enforce single use instead. Read: on designing out behaviour

Steam mop pads

These are actually just shaped microfibre cloths so you can just use a cloth pressed to the steam mop head, but they are not crazy money and a bit easier to use. The trick is to buy a dozen, so you can throw one in the wash every day and always have a clean one. They are expensive though so buy the generics on eBay instead of the branded ones.


These are a waste of money because the dwell times (how long the liquid has to stay on the surface to work properly) is way longer than the evaporation time (how long before the liquid dries). I buy them because carers believe in them and actually use them and I figure it’s better than nothing, though realistically even that is a fantasy. That’s the truth.

Tea Towels

I just buy these by the dozen at Costco and replace them a couple of times a day. The main advantage to this is to visually separate out the tea towels (kitchen cloth) and the hand towels (bathroom / patient towel) as an easy zoning guide. Again, it is much cheaper to buy car towels (52 for £18.99 but it’s probably better to buy things that are familiar as tea towels so you can leverage the habits people bring with them from home). We have a mix of Costco and IKEA (50p each - again, the IKEA ones are cheaper but fall apart quicker.)

Note: I eventually threw away everything “tea-towel-like” in the kitchen, like oven gloves, aprons, and pot holders, because if they are there, people will use them instead of getting a clean tea towel. So get rid of them. See also: cushions, curtains, clothes left around.