Fibromyalgics suffer increase sensitivities to chemical nuances. They can also suffer exhaustion from the simple act of cleaning. One definite stock you need to invest in is the invincible microfiber cloth. It needs little addition in the form of cleaning agents. What you may not know is it can wipe away germs in one swipe without the addition of a disinfectant. Life just got a whole lot easier!
Microfiber cloths are typically made of nylon or polyester fibers that are frayed into myriad microscopic strands. The tiny strands and the spaces between them are intended to lift and trap dirt and germs and absorb liquids. By contrast, chemical cleaners typically dissolve household messes and kill germs on contact.
The strands of its microfibers are 1/200th the diameter of a human hair, and cloths carry 1.6 million fibers per square inch. As those strands are wiped over a hard surface, they remove over 99% of bacteria. "These small fibers have a drawing power like a magnetic pull," says Allan Coviello, chief executive and owner of TADgreen Inc., the U.S. distributor for e-cloth, which sells for $7.99.
Cleaning with microfiber cloths took off in Scandinavia in the 1990s and soon after came to the U.S. mainly through specialty stores, direct sales and commercial-cleaning suppliers. Today, microfiber and other chemical-free cleaning tools, while still a small percentage of overall cleaning-product sales, are available widely on the cleaning-supply shelves of major retailers.
Scientists for years have studied microfibers' ability to remove germs. The findings have prompted hospitals, restaurants and other public places to incorporate them into their cleaning regimens.
"A damp microfiber cloth is a really good tool for removing microorganisms, including viruses and bacteria," says Kristen Gibson, a microbiologist at the University of Arkansas who published a study in 2012 comparing the performances of different cleaning cloths without the use of chemical cleaners on food-preparation surfaces.
The study, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found that microfiber cloth effectively removed viruses. It also outperformed terry-cloth and nonwoven cloth towels in preventing viruses from being transferred from one surface to another.
"There's no reason to use a chemical every time you clean, but there are obviously situations like handling raw meat or someone being sick that would warrant a disinfectant," says Dr. Gibson.
Major cleaning-product makers also are offering specialized tools that can be used with plain water. Scotch-Brite, owned by 3M Co., recently introduced a line of task-specific sponges with varied scrubbing surfaces designed to remove smudges and shine stove tops, granite or stainless steel.