Not all cleaning cloths are created equal, says as 40+ year old Residential Cleaning Service in Evanston, Il. Depending on the task at hand, you might reach for a terry-cloth towel, a microfiber cloth, or even an old t-shirt. Here are cloths that are suited to the most common household chores, Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Housebook says.
* Terry, cotton cloths are comprised of thousands of raised, woven loops on the surface that absorb a lot of liquid. Use for blotting surface stains on carpets and upholstery and for soaking up big spills. White towels are best so there's no chance of dyr transfer when blotting spills. Look for inexpensive bar mops, the classic white towels used in restaurant kitchens and bars, at kitchen-supply stores. Machine wash and dry after each use.
* Paper Towels are made of wood pulp and generally treated with chlorine bleach to whiten the brown pulp. For the sake of the environment and your budget, reserve paper towels for minor messes, spills that stain, such as red wine, and bacteria-laden spills, such as poultry and meat juices. Avoid patterned paper towels. The dyes can run when they come in contact with cleaning products and stain the surface you're cleaning.
* Microfiber cloths are woven from superfine synthetic fibers. Millions of tiny loops on the surface of the cloth create pockets that collect and trap dirt. Use on surface prone to scratching, such as computer and television screens and stainless- steel appliances. Cloths come in different weights and with different loop sizes for specific purposes, fine, light cloths for computer screens and thicker ones, with more pronounced loops, for stainless steel, for example. Use a dry one to rub out small smudges, or a damp one for more stubborn marks, such as fingerprints. Because they are so effective, there's no need to use cleaning solutions. Machine-wash after use: hang to dry.
* Lint-free linen or cotton towels, without nap or loops, are great for use on mirrors and on any other surface where lint will be a nuisance. Huck towels, diapers, and cut-up old white cotton T-shirts all make excellent lint-free cloths. Machine wash and dry after each use.
* Polishing cloths are soft, napped cloths that distribute polish evenly. Use for polishing silver or other metals. Choose untreated 100 % cotton flannel, which is softer than plain cotton. Even with these gentle cloths, however, you should not polish silver-plated too aggressively or too often because the coating can wear away, says a 40+ year old Residential Cleaning Service in Evanston, Il.