Networx

Posted by Steve Graham | Sep 13, 2009

E-cloth - A New Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Solution

E-cloths, a popular new cleaning tool, are handy and eco-friendly.

What is E-cloth?

E-cloth is a new generation of micro fiber dusting cloths and mops. The thick, durable cloths pick up dirt, dust, and allergens, including pollen and pet dander, without chemicals or solvents. They can be used dry for dusting or with water for removing grease and fingerprints. They are durable and easy to wash.

E-cloth sells general-purpose cleaning cloths and mop heads. It also has specialized cloths for cleaning dust and fingerprints off computer screens and eyeglasses, and for silver polishing and other specialized tasks.

They are environmentally friendly, despite a couple of drawbacks, and they can be used on most household surfaces. We do not recommend them for kitchen counters, toilets or other areas that require disinfectants.

How does it work?

E-cloths use a dense net of tiny, positively charged fibers to attract dust and dirt. The fibers trap dust particles rather than pushing them across a surface where they must be collected. The strands of polyester composites are far thinner than other microfibers -- less than 1/100th the width of a human hair, and about 1/60th the width of a strand of silk.

How long do they last?

They are designed to last for years. Between daily uses, rinse e-cloths in warm water. Then regularly wash them at warm temperatures in a washing machine with basic detergent. Bleach and fabric softener can break down the fibers and make them ineffective.

Why is it environmentally friendly?

E-cloths are eco-friendly in many ways, but they also present environmental problems. The upsides:

  • E-cloths use less water than other cleaning cloths because they generally work on dry surfaces.
  • They do not require harsh or dangerous chemicals.
  • E-cloths can replace paper towels, bleach wipes, and other disposable cleaners, reducing landfill waste.
  • They are rated to last for 1,000 wash cycles, so there is less waste. The downside:
  • E-cloths are 80 percent polyester, which is typically made from petroleum in an energy-intensive, pollution-heavy production process. However, many justify the fossil fuel usage and pollution by touting the durability of the product.

Why is it good for my family?

There is no need to use harsh chemicals when you clean with with e-cloths. A medical study published in 2009 showed cleaning chemicals can exacerbate asthma symptoms and cause respiratory problems. E-cloths are made of polyesther, which may be toxic in large amounts during the production process. However, e-cloths are considered too small to pose a threat to users.

What are the drawbacks?

The main complaint about E-cloths is the cost. A pair of general purpose E-Cloths costs $26, and a set of six screen cleaners costs $153. Other brands of microfiber cloths are cheaper, but may not be as reliable. On the other hand, if E-cloths last through 1,000 wash cycles, they may be a solid value over time. They will bleed their colors during the first few washes, so make sure to only wash with like colors.

E-cloths may not tackle every cleaning job in the house, but they are a convenient and durable alternative to paper towels and chemical cleaners.

Photo credit: www.ecloth.com.

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