When and how to Launder / Wash your Norwex or e-cloth ® Microfiber Cloths

YES, you do have to wash your antibacterial microfiber cloths with silver!

Last week alone, 8 people asked me how often and how to wash their Norwex antibac microfiber cloths. So if you’re confused, trust me when I say you’re not alone. Interestingly, it’s NOT a question that I get about e-cloth ® microfiber. I’m certain it’s the darned antibacterial silver in the Norwex cloths causes so much confusion.

So before we start, if you haven’t already done so, please read my post on how the antibacterial silver in Norwex works.

OK, that’s out of the way.

when to wash or launder your ecloth or norwex microfiber clothAs for washing and laundering your Norwex and e-cloth ® microfiber cloths (regardless of whether they have silver in them or not), a little common sense and your best judgement go a long way. Lets hope this helps you out.


Keep in mind these are my suggestions. They’re not set in stone. I have no idea what you’ve been cleaning or how frequently. This is the method that works for me so please don’t come after me if this method doesn’t work for you (unless you think I’ve made a mistake here or should add something).

How and When to Clean your Norwex and e-cloth ® Microfiber Cloths

  1. If you’ve used your microfiber cloth for light cleaning (eg. wiping the table, a small spill, the stove top, the outside of appliances, cupboards, etc.) rinse the cloth out in HOT water with a bit of dish soap. Give it a good rinse afterwards with HOT water to get the soap out (the rinsing of the soap is especially important for microfiber cloths with silver in them). Then hang it to dry and you’re good to go again.
  2. If you’ve used your microfiber cloth to clean areas where the bacteria level is high (like around the toilet, to clean raw meat juices, the garbage can, etc.), you need to wash it in your washing machine. YES, EVEN THE MICROFIBER CLOTH WITH ANTIBACTERIAL SILVER. I always rinse it in my sink in HOT water with a bit of dish soap first for good measure (because it could be days before I actually throw it in the wash). Like I said above, rinse again to get the soap out.
  3. If you’ve been dusting with your microfiber cloth, just brush it off or shake it out (outside) and you’re good to go again.
  4. If your antibacterial microfiber cloth with silver starts to stink, try boiling it for 10 – 15 minutes with a bit of dish soap (again, rinse the soap out afterwards)
  5. If you microfiber cloth starts to get stiff, try boiling it for 10 – 15 minutes with a bit of dish soap (again, rinse the soap out afterwards).
  6. If your microfiber cloth starts to look really dirty – this is normal and mostly unavoidable over time. The microfiber grabs the dirt and just doesn’t like to let it go. Hot water will open the fibers and release more of the dirt/grease so try boiling it for 10 – 15 minutes with a bit of dish soap (again, rinse the soap out afterwards). This is why I recommend always washing in HOT water.
  7. In my opinion, you should be laundering your microfiber cloths – with or without antibacterial silver – at least once a week. By “laundering”, I mean a proper wash in the washing machine on the HOT setting.
  8. No, you do not have to use the Norwex Ultra Power Plus detergent to clean your Norwex cloths (or any other microfiber cloth). Ideally, you’ll use a detergent that dissolves easily and has no fillers – especially if you’re washing a microfiber cloth with antibacterial silver in it because it’s important that the silver not end up coated after it’s washed. You want all the detergent to wash out of the cloth. The Norwex detergent is good. The problem I have with it (and this is no secret) is it’s price. If you’re looking for a good, non-filler, concentrated detergent that dissolves easily and rinses away completely, look no further than one of a million cloth diapering sites. Here is a good link that provides a lot of information on detergents that are reasonably priced and easily accessible. In my opinion, if it’s good enough for cloth diapers, it’s good enough for your microfiber cloths. That being said, you can use ANY detergent as long as it does not contain bleach or fabric softener. If your antibacterial cloth starts to get stinky (which may happen if soap is not being rinsed out), refer to number 4 above.
  9. Wash and dry (yes, you can put your Norwex and e-cloth ® microfiber cloths in the dryer) your microfiber cloths with non-lint items.
  10. Do not use bleach (it destroys the fibers) or fabric softener. If you accidentally wash or dry your cloth with liquid fabric softener or a dryer sheet, DON’T WORRY. You haven’t ruined the cloth. It may not work perfectly the next time you use it (especially if you’re dusting since it won’t have any “charge” to it) but the softener will be washed out over the next few washings.

I’m writing this in a bit of a hurry as a certain 10 month old is waking from his nap so it’s entirely possible that I’ve left something out here. If you have anything to add, please do! I love to get comments and I’m sure they’ll be helpful to others too.

I’ll just add that it’s no secret that I use Charlie’s Soap for ALL of our laundry. It’s a little pricey up here in Canada (unless you order the mega-box, for which you pay an arm and a leg in shipping) but well worth it. If you live in the states, the cheapest I’ve found it is at www.marmeedear.com. Their 4 gallon bucket deal is amazing – especially since it has free shipping!

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50 Responses to When and how to Launder / Wash your Norwex or e-cloth ® Microfiber Cloths

  1. Patty Lorenz says:

    My dust mitt leaves a white film when I dust. What do I do? Will the boil method help? Am I not cleaning it right?

    • Patty – what do you think the white film is? Is it dust? Microfiber cloths should not be leaving anything behind. Did you just start using the mitt recently? And if so, did you use something like Pledge in the past? if that’s the case, it’s possible that the mitt is picking up some of the pledge and leaving some of it behind. You’ll want to get rid of all that Pledge/polish. You can do that by using a slightly damp microfiber cloth. you’ll know it’s gone when the cloth stops “dragging”.

      Are you using the dusting mitt dry or wet?

      If you can give me more details on the “film”, I may be able to help more.

  2. Kim says:

    I too have had issues with stinky cloths, and am trying your method now of soaking them in HOT water in my sink to see if that does the trick. I do have a question, however about Oxyclean……I make my own detergent, and it does have Oxyclean in it. Is this a problem for the Norwex cloths? Thanks so much for all your info….it has been so helpful!

    • Kim – please let me know if it works for you! As for the Oxyclean, e-cloth has done some tests and found that it’s OK to use it. BUT, I don’t know for sure about the Norwex cloths. I would suggest contacting their customer service and asking them about it directly. If you hear anything back, I’d be interested and grateful if you could post the info here.

  3. Betty Ann Watkins says:

    I have been unsure about these cloths because of the washing requirement. My husband and I wash our own clothes and he has jeans and I only have my work clothes that I wouldn’t want to wash in hot water. I have wondered about throwing them in a wash cycle by themselves, since I have an HE washer which calculates the water need for the load, so it shouldn’t be wasteful, and it sounds like this would work based on previous comment above. Right? Besides we wash everything n cold water so I will have to wash them separately. I hope that isn’t a problem.bawa

    • HI Betty Ann. YOu can wash your e-cloths in cold water. We recommend hot water because the heat opens up the fibers to release more dirt/grease/grime. If you are washing your cloths in cold water, I’d highly recommend boiling them occasionally (except the e-cloth dusting cloth and dusting mop pad) with a bit of detergent or dish soap to give them a deep clean.

      If you’re doing a small wash in your HE washer with hot water, make sure to use very little detergent to make sure that it’s all rinsed out.

  4. Karen says:

    I took my norwex towel with me on my bike to watch a water ski show. I sat on it in the grass. Now the grass won’t come off. Any suggestions?

    • Karen – Do you mean grass clippings or grass stains? If it’s grass clippings, they should come out if you put it in the dryer. If it’s grass stains, you can try washing in very hot water (even add a pot of boiling water to the wash) along with some baking soda and add some vinegar (1/4 cup or so) in the rinse cycle.

      I’m not certain that will work but hopefully. Please let me know what happens. If it doesn’t work I’ll see if I can come up with something else.

  5. DiAnna Sheller says:

    Help! My husband used the Norwex cloth with the Greenworks cleaning spray. Will the cloth be ok, and what do I need to do to save it?

    • DiAnna – Oopsie! Darned husbands, eh? To be honest, I don’t know what is in the Greenworks spray. I’m going to assume (but possibly incorrectly since you just never know with these so-called “green” cleaners these days) that it does not contain bleach or ammonia or anything “destructive”. If that’s the case then just launder your cloth and all the cleanser should be rinsed out and you’ll be ready to go. If that’s NOT the case then the fibers may have been destroyed a bit and you’ll probably notice that the cloth isn’t performing as it should. Sorry I don’t know for sure. You could try contacting Norwex customer service (NOT your consultant as he/she likely won’t know) and see what they say. If you get an answer, I’d love it if you post it here!

      • DiAnna says:

        Thanks so much for the reply! I did contact the Norwex lady, and – exactly like you said – she wasn’t sure. I’ll contact Norwex customer service and will post their reply.

      • DiAnna says:

        Here is the response I received from Norwex customer service. Thank you again for your advice!

        “The cloth may be okay, you will need to test it to find out if any damage was made. If anything, the cloth may feel filmy afterwords. If this is the case, some chemicals may have gotten trapped in the fibers. You can try boiling the cloth for up to ten minutes to deep clean the cloth.”

  6. Sharon Pehrson says:

    Can I use Oxyclean to wash my cloths? I also have Borax. I’m confused!

    • Sharon – I’m so, so, sooooooo sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. Borax is fine to wash your e-cloths with. We’re doing some testing on Oxyclean and I’ll post here once the testing is done. I’d hoped to have the info by now but apparently these tests take time. e-cloth is a very thorough company, indeed!

  7. barbraabf says:

    I also love Norwex products. I started using them and am amazed what you can do with just water and not chemicals.

  8. rebecca says:

    Help ladies! My husband threw towels in with my Norwex cleaning cloths:( How can i restore them. I washed them again in the machine with borax and vinegar and detergent……any suggestions?
    thanks so much!

    • Hi Rebecca – by “towels” do you mean bath towels? Did your microfiber come out all linty? The lint will come out over time. If you boil the cloths in a big pot of water, the fibers may open up enough to release the lint. Otherwise, you could try vacuuming them. Or use a comb or brush to brush it out. If on the other hand you’re referring to fabric softener sheets, don’t worry, the softener will come out after a few washings.

      • rebecca says:

        yes, it was bath towels. they feel stiff actually. i will try the boiling.
        thanks so much!!

        • Rebecca – OK, they should be all right then. The only reason you don’t want to wash them with towels is that the microfiber will collect all the lint. My cloths get stiff sometimes too. I generally just add a bit of vinegar to the wash and that seems to help fine. Good luck!

  9. Sue says:

    I hope you are still answering questions. I just started getting into the Norwex products and I want to know if the laundry detergent can be used in my HE machine? It doesn’t say HE on the container and my Norwex lady said I can but then after we both read the back she wasn’t sure. I’m a little leary and would hate to ruin my machine!

  10. Brenda says:

    I have a husband who tries to help with laundry but he seems to always forget the “rules” So I made a cheat sheet and have it on the wall above the machine. Any load that has mine or my daughters clothing in it even 1 sock can not have any fabric softner in it including sheets, towels and blankets. We both have major allergies to soaps and scents and softners. I have been making my own deturgent for a couple of years as has my mother and sister. and it works in HE mechines you just put it in the barrel with the cloths not in the dispencer. Its 2 Cups WASHING SODA 2 Cups Borax 1 bar or Castille soap and 1 Bar Fells Nappa. Grate the soap, I use a micro grader since I dont have a food processer, then add the soda and borax. You need only a tablespoon per load like the norwex soap and it cleans just as well. You can use a little more if needed for really dirty clothing. I also wash everythng but sheets and towels on Cold and it washes out just fine in cold water. I have not used vinager though does this really help kill bacteria and soften clothing even more? We just use the dryer balls.

    • Hi Brenda – thanks for the recipe for the homemade laundry soap. I make my own hand/body soap and have been meaning to try the laundry soap but just haven’t gotten my act together yet.

      I occasionally put vinegar in my wash. I’m not sure that it kills bacteria but it definitely makes my towels come out softer.

      • Betta says:

        Hi everyone! I was reading this blog to look how many textures and types of microfiber cloths are out there (I had one to dry my face after taking off make up, until it got lost by the cleaning lady in a hotel… ). This post was really useful! Unfortunately I have to bring your attention to few little things that despite being consider ecological cleaning options might do more damage than benefits: Borax is a derivation of Boric acid, a substance that is consider irritating and dangerous (Here in Europe its use is forbidden in detergents. Also the same EPA who previously suggested its use now bring the attention to the danger borax could have even for hormonal system and fertility! “. Borax, commonly considered a safer DIY ingredient, actually presents concerns for potential human health effects.) ” (from http://www.epa.gov/greenhomes/protectingyourhealth.htm#householdgoods). Also using vinegar as softener sure works great in make you laundry fluffy! But its a really strong acid that can ruin your washing machine (as well as your dishwasher if you use it for that too), decreasing the life span of a big and much more polluting (when tossed) object than the use of softener! for a greener and gentler option for vinegar use citric acid: it has the same functions but it is less aggressive on metals. I think lemon has too few citric acid to make the function (plus other compounds which I am not sure which effect they might have on the fabrics.) Prefer pure citric acid!
        hope thius might help and sorry for the bother! :)
        xo Betta

  11. cjpb says:

    I fear I may have permanently stunk-up my Norwex cloths. :( Some of the ones I’ve used a lot still stink after they’ve dried from a boiling session (10 minutes, with vinegar and a bit of dish soap.) Could this be because I didn’t wash them frequently enough when I first got them? (I would wait sometimes 3 weeks between boiling or washing them—I know, looking back that wasn’t such a good idea. I was confused about how often I needed to wash them.) It’s disappointing to grab a “clean” one off the shelf, sniff it, and get grossed out. Any ideas?

    • Hi cjpb – Sad news about your Norwex cloths. Yes, perhaps 3 weeks between launderings is pushing it a little. What kind of detergent do you use? Sometimes it’s the detergent. It builds up on the cloths and doesn’t get fully rinsed away. Most commercial detergents have a lot of fillers in them. If you try a good, “green”, non-filler detergent that might help. I’d suggest doing a super “deep” clean in your kitchen sink with a good detergent (you’ve read my post so you know I use Charlies. A Norwex consultant is going to tell you to use the Norwex detergent but… Cha-ching, it’s expensive). Put about a tablespoon of detergent in your sink and dissolve it in hot (preferably boiling). Add the cloths and gently agitate with a spoon a bit. Fill the sink right up so the cloths can move around freely and are completely covered. And just let them soak there for a while. Afterwards, rinse them really well to make sure all the soap is gone. Hopefully this helps. Either way, will you let me know? I’m interested.

      • cjpb says:

        I’ve used Arm and Hammer mostly. However, I usually just boil on the kitchen stove, not throw them in our machine to wash, since we share the machines with other people in our building and we have little ones, so it’s hard to get to our laundry in the basement in a timely manner. :) When I boil, I use a bit of Dawn soap (not a lot) but I don’t do the post-boil rinse, so that could’ve contributed to the stink factor. I really like your deep clean soak idea in the kitchen sink. I’ll find a greener detergent, try the soak out, and let you know. Thank you!

  12. Priscilla says:

    you don’t have to use fabric softener or dryer sheets….read online about using vinegar in your fabric dispenser, that is what I do. I also learned about using safety pins on clothing, when drying clothes in the dryer. I adapted & used a clean/old sock…put about 4 safety pins in it and throw that in the dryer with wet laundry. On a load that has items that I know tend to be really static-y (certain blankets)…I’ll add 2 socks with safety pins…placing those socks in 2 different areas within the wet load you can read a little more here (I am unsure if this was the 1st place I learned about the safety pin idea) http://www.simpleorganizedliving.com/2011/02/14/a-laundry-experiment-10-ways-to-reduce-static-cling/

    • Priscilla – thank you for the comment. Good tips for sure. I’ll just add that you may not want to use these tips with your e-cloth products – particularly any that you use for dusting – as they need the static charge to work properly.

  13. Jessica says:

    I follow the exact same guidelines with all of my cloths. I have the norwex dusting mitt and I have never gotten it wet, I take it outside & beat the dust out of it. I also wash my cloths (a bunch of them!) inside a lingerie bag on the heaviest & hottest setting on my washing machine, without any other clothes or towels,( they will suck up & not let go of fibers from other stuff) Sometimes I add white vinegar & water to the rinse cycle, if they seem a litle stiff. I have only had one of my cloths ever smell & it was after being used & left balled up in the sink overnight. I washed it in the machine right away & it hasn’t smelled since. I also do not dry them in the dryer, I hang them all up to dry. I have a towel bar thingy that I hang my current kitchen cloth on to dry between uses, that towel gets changed out every 3-4 days depending on how dirty it gets, of course if i am cleaning up raw meat or eggs it gets washed with dishsoap & then added to my next norwex laundry load. These are just what I do based on what I’ve read all over the Internet. Sorry for such a winded response!

    • Jessica – thanks for taking the time to comment. Great tip about the vinegar. Personally, I put mine in the dryer once in a while to fluff them up a bit – especially the more plush ones like the mop pads, bathroom cloth/mitt and dusting cloths/mitts.

      • Priscilla says:

        I also use vinegar in place of fabric softener in my washing machine, does vinegar leave a build up on the cloths, that I would need to be concerned about?

        • Priscilla – I use vinegar with my cloths on a regular basis. I’ve never noticed a buildup. If you’re ever worried about it though, just throw them in a pot of boiling water with a bit of dish soap or laundry detergent. Boil for 10 minutes then rinse.

  14. Cloth Diaper Guru says:

    What are your thoughts on washing the microfiber cloths with cloth diapers? Ours aren’t particularly fluffy anymore (prefolds have been used for many many months) so they shouldn’t create the lint like towels do. I find that to be the easiest way to launder the cloths since it avoids the hubby accidentally using the wrong detergent, or putting in a dryer sheet (which I’ve continually reminded him we don’t use anymore ;)!).

    • Well Cloth Diaper Guru, I’ve got to admit, this is an interesting question :). I know what you mean about unfluffy prefolds. We’ve got some that have been used for years and they’re generally lint free. It would be convenient to wash them with diapers since, as you say, you’d be using the same “no additive” detergent and you’d be washing on HOT presumably. I just don’t know though. My little guy has some pretty disgusting poos and even with a pre-rinse and then a wash in our mega-water-use, non-HE machine, I still occasionally find bits (eg., raisins, blueberry skins, who knows whats) that have been “processed” and “washed”. I’m pretty sure my microfiber cloths would attract those bits.

      So, I’m going to say no. I know they’d be clean, I just can’t wrap my head around it.

      What detergent do you use? You could simplify and use the same detergent for all your laundry. We switched to Charlie’s Soap before my first son was born and have been using it exclusively on EVERYTHING for almost 4 years now.

      • Cloth Diaper Guru says:

        We use Rockin green for the diapers, and either “eco sprout” or “Nellies all natural laundry soda” for the rest of the laundry. I’ve had such a struggle with laundering the norwex stuff though, because my hubby always wants to use a drier sheet on the regular laundry even though we have a ton of nice and expensive drier balls lol! If the cloths get washed with the diapers I know they are “safe” because he knows the rules of the diapers ;). We do use a diaper sprayer so that removes any “bits” of poopies!! I’ll agree with you though, that microfiber cloths really need to be washed separately from diapers…

        • Darned husbands. What if you just got rid of your dryer sheets? ;)

          Oh, the bless-ed diaper sprayer. We had one, and needed it badly with our first son who pooed a pasty mess no less than 3 times/day until the day he was potty trained – and then miraculously he switched to a once-a-dayer. But our sprayer broke a couple of months ago and I was slow to order a new one (it’s on the way now thankfully) so I’ve been living without. Once you’ve had the good life with a sprayer, it’s hard to deal without.

          • Cloth Diaper Guru says:

            Yeah I don’t know if I’d survive without the sprayer! I do have to give the hubby some credit, he makes a good effort with the laundry but there are so many “rules” about laundry now :).

          • We got our new sprayer in the mail on Friday. Thank GOODNESS! I ordered it off ebay for $8 and it’s just as good as the one I paid $40-something for a few years ago.

          • Cloth Diaper Guru says:

            Wow!! Sweet find! We paid $40 for ours new, but it has been a life saver. I also like it for rinsing out the potty chair :D.


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