Silver in Microfiber Cloths: 5 Things You Should Know About Norwex Antibac Microfiber

There’s a lot of confusion over how Norwex Antibac microfiber cloths work and what exactly the silver does. All Norwex microfiber works amazingly to clean surfaces and pick up dirt and bacteria, but here are 5 things you should know about your Antibac cloths:

  1. The Microfiber Cloth cleans your house (or car, or boat…) and the silver agent cleans your microfiber cloth!  Let me phrase that another way: THE SILVER DOES NOT CLEAN THE SURFACE. Once you’ve wiped up dirt, bacteria and viruses with your Antibac cloth, the silver works to inactivate the bacteria and viruses within the cloth. It does this by suffocating the bacteria so that it doesn’t get the oxygen it needs to survive. After about 18 to 20 hours, your Norwex Antibac cloth will be much cleaner than it was when you finished cleaning with it.  The key point here is that the silver agent does NOT help in the cleaning of surfaces. It’s only when you’re done cleaning that the silver starts working.
  2. The Silver is embedded into every strand of the microfiber and cannot be separated from the fibers. It is NOT nano-silver. It is significantly larger than nano-silver and cannot penetrate the skin.
  3. Your Norwex Antibac cloth must be wet to activate the silver. So if you’ve been using the Antibac cloth (or dusting mitt) dry and want to get rid of any bacteria that was picked up, you’ll need to moisten the cloth.
  4. It will take 18 to 20 hours for the silver in your antibac cloth to inactivate the bacteria.
  5. Sometimes there is more bacteria in the cloth than the silver can handle. So, if you just cleaned your toilet or raw meat juices, please launder your cloth before using it again.

Personally, it’s my opinion that if you’re washing your microfiber cloth regularly, you don’t need the confusion associated with the silver.

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48 Responses to Silver in Microfiber Cloths: 5 Things You Should Know About Norwex Antibac Microfiber

  1. Rachel Pauley says:

    I just contacted the company and asked about norwex killing viruses and they stated that they have only tested on certain bacterias and they can not claim that it kills or removes any or all viruses such as the common cold. Our church nursery uses these products and my kids are sick alot more since they switched to this method. Has anyone else heard or had a problem with this.

  2. gb says:

    If the cloths pick up all the germs from the surface, and then you rinse to remove the germs from the cloth (and the cloth continues to kill bacteria in itself), wouldn’t the bacteria then be in the sink that you rinsed the cloth in?

    • gb – I’m not an expert but I’m going to assume that the bulk of the bacteria gets washed down the drain with the water. Then, if you’re iffy, you could wipe with the cloth and rinse once more. I usually give my sink a quick rinse with the sprayer afterwards.

      • Marie says:

        I would also assume that the bulk of the bacteria gets washed down the drain. But it does the same if you are using a sponge or ANY other cloth. The only thing that would help you avoid that is using a paper towel that could be thrown away, but then you’d have to use chemicals with it, and both Norwex and e-cloth are trying to help us avoid chemicals. I think it’s important to remember that we’re not going to be germ- or bacteria-free…and we shouldn’t be. First, it’s unrealistic. Second, we need to be exposed to some germs/bacteria in order to build up immunities in our bodies. There is absolutely no way to remove germs from every place. It’s a normal part of life and we just do our best to keep things as clean as we can. I’m just thrilled that now I can do that without the use of chemicals (except for a very few which are rarely used).

  3. Marie says:

    Well, I’ve been reading all over this site and I’m still confused. I started using Norwex about a year ago and love it. I have all kinds of Norwex products and they have made cleaning so simple and even enjoyable. But I was under the impression that when I wipe my counters, sinks, toilets, etc., I am removing the germs and bacteria. What I’m “hearing” here is that bacteria is picked up from the surface and held in the Enviro Cloth, but there’s nothing that says that the bacteria is actually killed or eliminated from the surface. What does “clean” mean in Norwex terms (or eCloth for that matter)???? I chop and prepare many meals on my granite counter tops and use the Enviro Cloth, rinsing with hot water after each use. I also kneed bread right on my counter tops, first wiping down with the Enviro Cloth. I haven’t used a chemical on the seats or rims of my toilets in a year. Haven’t used a chemical cleaner anywhere in a year. I wash my Enviro Cloths regularly in hot water and Norwex detergent. We rarely get sick in our home. I haven’t had so much as a cold in the past year. So what’s happening to the germs/bacteria on my counters and toilets and sinks, etc.???? Is it still there?? HELP!!!

    • Hi Marie – When you use an e-cloth or Norwex cloth, bacteria is picked up by the cloth. With an e-cloth, over 99% of bacteria is picked up! The bacteria is then IN the cloth, which is why you rinse it. E-cloth has had very good lab testing done and found that when you give the e-cloth a good rinse under warm/hot water after you use it, over 99% of the bacteria in the cloth will be rinsed away. Probably Norwex cloths are similar but I don’t believe they have done any tests to prove this. (I could be wrong about the Norwex testing but I’m sure any number of Norwex consultants will jump in and correct me if need be).

      So, to answer your question, you clean the bacteria off your counters, sinks, etc. by wiping them with the e-cloth (or Norwex cloth) and then get the bacteria out of the e-cloth by rinsing it.

      As you’re probably aware, Norwex has silver in some of their cloths. The silver speeds up the killing of any bacteria left in the cloth. E-cloth no longer produces cloths with silver in them because it’s really not needed. The silver in NO WAY improves upon the cleaning ability of the cloth and as I mentioned above, if you rinse your e-cloth after use, there won’t be any bacteria in the cloth.

      I hope this helps. If not, feel free to ask more!

      • Marie says:

        Thank you for this! I’m still stuck, though, on your second paragraph. Is the bacteria and other germs GONE from the surface I’m wiping? To be more specific, if I accidentally get some raw chicken on my counter and wipe with my Enviro Cloth, is there anything left on the counter that would cause danger/sickness? I completely understand that I need to take care of the cloths properly after doing this (or cleaning toilets, etc.), but I want to know what’s left on the surface. Thanks for all information!

        • Marie – e-cloth picks up over 99% of bacteria so when you use one to wipe your counter, the bacteria is gone from the counter and is in the cloth. I’d recommend that if you’re wiping raw meat juices that you rinse the cloth and then set it aside to be laundered instead of using it again – just to be on the safe side.

          • Marie says:

            Thank you. That is a very clear answer! Since I use the Norwex Enviro Cloth, can anyone tell me if that cloth does the same thing as Kate described for the e-cloth?

        • Brenda says:

          Marie, Yes your Norwex cloth is doing the same thing. And all you would need to do is Rinse in the warm/hot water. If you want to be even safer after wiping raw meat juices using the anitbac towels then rinse it well and add a couple of drops of the Norwex dish soap lather and rinse well. A test that is often done my Norwex consultants is the Chicken test. We will lay raw chicken on a counter then clean it with a Norwex cloth. After we wipe up the chicken we rinse it well in hot water and continue cleaning but we test each surface before we clean with the cloth and then after and we have a) no transfer of chicken germs and b) removed germs that were there before we cleaned.

  4. Gracia says:

    Do you know how long the silver lasts in the cloths (e-cloth or Norwex)? For example, Norwex says that if you wash the cloth with fabric softener, you lose the silver antibac effectiveness, but that you can still use it for the microfiber–just not antibac. If you take proper care, does the silver antibac last forever or does it ‘wear off’ after a couple years?

    • Gracia – I’m not 100% certain but here’s what I think about the silver. Firstly, I should tell you that ecloth no longer manufactures cloths with silver in them as the silver in no way improves upon the amazing cleaning power of the e-cloths and only added confusion and cost to the customers.

      The silver in the Norwex cloths is woven right in there somehow and will stay there for as long as you have the cloth. If you wash the cloth with fabric softener or too much detergent, etc., the silver can get coated and therefore won’t be effective (the silver has to be able to make contact with any bacteria in the cloth to kill that bacteria. So if it’s coated, it won’t work). If you mistakenly wash your cloth with fabric softener, just re-wash it. Or boil it.

  5. Cindy Hendricks says:

    On the dust mitt, do I still need to use Pledge for wood furniture?

    • Hi Cindy – No, you won’t need Pledge on your wood furniture. If you’ve used Pledge in the past, you might find the microfiber drags a bit as you dust. That’s because it’s trying to pick up the Pledge. If your furniture can stand it, I’d actually recommend using the dusting mitt damp and wiping the pledge right off. Then in the future it will just be a case of a simple dusting. If you’ve got a Glass & Polishing cloth, you can use it afterwards.

  6. Kaylee says:

    What if you’re cleaning several areas with “high bacteria counts” at a time? I’ve just bought some Norwex cloths to use for cleaning my church. How many times can I go straight from one toilet to another without worrying about the cloth holding too much bacteria for it to handle(I normally clean up to 8 toilets at once)? And is there a point where it would get so full that it would transfer it to the next area you’re cleaning?

  7. Jo says:

    I just bought a few ecloth products due to your blog as i LOVE norwex but the price is so often a huge inhibitor for me.

    Thanks for your blog.

  8. Anne says:

    Do you know if Norwex cloths will clean up Norovirusa. Things I am reading say that only bleach kills the virus. I really dislike using bleach with kids around and because it stains things so easily. Thanks!

    • Anne – sorry for my tardy response here. I don’t know if Norwex will pick up Norovirus. I don’t believe they have done any specific testing on that but you would have to contact them. Sorry.

  9. Deb says:

    Hi, I have been using Norwex cloths for over 2 years and love them all. I would never go back to any other micro fiber cloth. Reasons are… They just clean better and you don’t have to go over and over it again. like the other cloths. there is No flicks of cloth nothing. I do find there is a drag when I use my cloths meaning they just clean great…
    The one thing I have noticed I don’t see then cleaning the stainless steal as they advertize. maybe I am not useing it right.
    What kind of cleaner is good for cleaning grout? I’ve not used it yet. I do have many cleaners ..
    I did have Norwex for myself to get the discount but to get it is just to much money even if I orderd it every 3 months.
    It would be great if few ppl went in with. Even if you have a cleaning business it’s hard to order every 3 months…
    Anyways, I love Norwex and would never go back to another cloth even if it was cheaper.
    Also…. it says on the lable.. used best with Soft Water…. I have hard water but I get a great clean with my Norwex products.

    • Deb – thanks for the comment. Yes, the Norwex cloths are great! But if you’re ever looking for an equally good cloth, give the e-cloth General Purpose cloth a try. I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised by it’s performance and the price.

      For the Norwex (or e-cloth) microfiber cloths to properly clean Stainless Steel, you’ve got to make sure that any old spray cleanser/polish is removed first. It there’s ANY left, the microfiber will leave streaks where it has picked up some of the spray but left some of it behind. And you’ll definitely have to use either the Norwex Window Cloth or the e-cloth Glass & Polishing cloth after you clean for the real streak-free finish. If you’ve got the Norwex Paste, you can try it on your Stainless appliances – but try it on an inconspicuous area first as it is slightly abrasive – to get rid of any old cleanser/polish.

      I don’t use any cleaner on my grout – just the e-cloth bathroom cloth. As long as I use the cloth at least once a week, everything is fine. Occasionally I spray some vinegar on first if I’ve got soap scum buildup.

      You’ve probably gathered by now that I was also a Norwex Consultant. I sold mainly to my friends at my discount. Every few months I would send an email to all my friends that lived within driving distance to see if they needed/wanted anything. I’d offer it at my discount and submit the order as a party so that I could get the free stuff. Then they would pick it up at my place when it arrived. It was win-win that way and I didn’t feel I was ripping off my friends. Since discovering e-cloth, I gave up on Norwex. It’s just as good – better in many ways – and the price is right.

      Like you, we’ve got very hard water and I find both the Norwex and e-cloth microfiber products to work wonderfully.

  10. Carolyn says:

    So, I just went to my first Norwex party and have a question the consultant couldn’t answer. When I use the Antibac microfiber cloth, I understand the silver doesn’t clean the surface but instead self-cleans the rag…but how do I know the surface I just cleaned actually GOT clean, since there is nothing antibacterial actually cleaning that surface? For example, if I’m wiping up raw egg residue, I always use antibacterial soap on a paper towel to be sure the bacteria is gone. Is the idea that the microfiber is so good it catches all those bacteria off the surface so that’s no longer necessary?

    Sorry if it’s a silly question, but it’s been bugging me! :)

    • Hi Carolyn – Thanks for the question. It’s most definitely NOT silly. Since we can’t see bacteria, it’s hard to know if it’s there or not and you have to put your faith into the science. Even with chemical cleansers, it’s hard to know – especially since a lot of them actually have to be kept on the surface for 10 minutes to kill the bacteria (but who does that?).

      High quality microfiber like Norwex and the e-cloth General Purpose cloth pick up bacteria off surfaces and trap it within the fibers until the cloth is rinsed or washed. I’ve got some more information about how the microfiber works on my website. You’ll see a link on that page to the results of the lab tests that were completed for e-cloth.

  11. Terri says:

    Good morning. I realize the silver works AFTER you’ve cleaned, but are you spreading bacteria from one surface to another?

    • Hi Terri. Great question. This is a major difference between high quality microfiber products like e-cloth (or Norwex) and the cheap ones you buy at the Dollar store. High quality microfiber products have more fibers per square inch (way more!) and are very good at picking up grease, dirt, and bacteria and trapping it. The bacteria gets trapped into the fibers and isn’t released until you rinse or wash the cloth. e-cloth has had some pretty impressive independent lab testing done that shows the e-cloths pick up over 99% of bacteria and then don’t transfer the bacteria when used again. The key is to rinse the cloth between uses, and the hotter the water, the better. If you’re cleaning areas of high bacteria counts (like around your toilet, or raw meat juices), please launder your cloth afterwards instead of simply rinsing.

  12. Nat says:

    I assumed that the mitt has antibac because you’d wet it to rinse off the dust. If you use any reusable dusting cloth you’d have to rinse it or wash it after use right?

    • Hi Nat. No, you don’t have to rinse a microfiber dusting cloth after eash use. Just brush it off/shake it out as much as possible. I recently posted something on how to clean off your microfiber mop and those tips would work equally well for your microfiber cloth/mitt. I generally only wash my microfiber dusting cloths after every 3 or 4 uses – when the cloth actually looks dirty even after I brush it off.

  13. zippy says:

    Hi, I’d like to set something straight (as an objective viewer here and admirer of e-cloth.. just about to purchase some to try). In my new Norwex catalogue that I have sitting here, it says the dustmitt IS antibac. Plus the silver works BETTER when wet, not only when wet. I’m sure the same would be said of e-cloth’s silver cloths since they are pretty much the same.
    Oh and here’s an all-purpose cloth that doesn’t have any silver, it’s the grey all purpose cloth .. I think it used to be called the grease cloth.

    • Hi Zippy. Thanks for the comment. I see from another of your comments that you are a Norwex Rep. I also see that you refer to $AUD. Are you in Australia? You’re certainly a long way from me!

      You are correct in that the Norwex Dusting Mitt is “antibac”. I think I’ve eluded to that in my post by mentioning that if you use the Dusting Mitt dry, you’ll have to wet it to activate the silver.

      The information I provided about the microfiber having to be wet to activate the silver was presented in a Webinar from the North American Norwex Head Office for consultants in North America (back when I was one). To my knowledge, Norwex has not changed their stance on how the silver works and it must be wet to be activated. If you have other information, I’d welcome you to post it here as I think it will be useful to anyone using Norwex products.

  14. Pingback: When and how to Launder / Wash your Norwex or e-cloth ® Microfiber Cloths | Cleanin' Up

  15. Lainey F says:

    But… regular microfibre dries really fast – and since bacteria can’t thrive in dry conditions – doesn’t the microfibre itself do a bang-up job of – as you say – inactivating the bacteria? Wouldn’t wetting the microfibre to “activate” the silver be counter-intuitive to just letting the microfibre do its thing as it dries? Does Norwex sell any plain old microfibre without silver? I hear it’s a really good product in terms of how well it cleans – but I feel the addition of silver is a waste and it must also contribute to what I see as – in my opinion – ridiculously high prices.

    • Lainy – Thanks for your comment. I was smiling when I read it because I’ve frequently asked myself the same questions. My biggest question is “why does Norwex make and antibac dusting mitt?”. You’re going to dust and THEN wet the cloth to kill bacteria? Norwex does sell some products without the silver (like the dry mop pad) but you can’t get a plain microfiber cloth without it. Thanks for the comment.

      • Deb says:

        I like to have it in there… just to think I am using the cloths. I know I am not sick like I was before. maybe it’s due to the silver in the cloths…. maybe not.
        The Blue or Green dust mitt. it cleans really nice on blinds. damp. it’s the best. I am glad Norwex is out there for us to have…. it is a choice and I love it.
        I have thought is it safe to use it all the time? Cuz I do. everyday I use mine with the silver in it.
        Thank you.

  16. Megan says:

    Good post Kate. I didn’t realize how the cloth actually worked. I had a very different story in my head :)

    • Thanks Megan. I think it’s important to know that the silver is not important to the function of the cloth. I think a lot of people think that the silver is actually doing the cleaning when in reality, it’s the high-quality microfiber that does it all.

      • me says:

        So if we buy a good quality microfiber rag we should be good to go?

        • Generally, yes. By “good quality” I mean one that has tests to prove their effectiveness if you’re wanting to ensure removal of bacteria.

        • karen says:

          Not ones in regular stores…but the ecloth yes! The high quality microfiber strands are a different size.

          • me says:

            I just got my first enviro cloth and I can’t even touch it. The feeling is….”sticky” or something but it gives me the willies! Are the ecloths the same? Someone gave it to me because they didn’t like the feel of it either :(

          • That’s the microfiber – it grabs stuff. And that’s why it works so well. When you use the cloth damp, the “grabiness” on your skin pretty much goes away. Some people use gloves with them when using them dry – but over time, as you use the cloth more and launder it a few times, the grabiness on your skin seems to lessen without effecting the performance of the cloth.

          • me says:

            Okay. Thanks! I don’t use gloves so I could see that being a real deterrent to using the clothes.


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