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You may have noticed microfiber cloths popping up in your social media feed or squeezing their way in between cleaning products on the store shelves recently. These little rectangular rags are marketed as the most cost-efficient, eco-friendly, and non-toxic solution for cleaning any part of your household.
The two most prominent players in high-quality microfiber products are E-Cloth and Norwex. Both companies offer rags, mops, dusters, and towels that harness the natural powers of microfiber to help keep your home safe and tidy. If you’re in the market for new microfibers cleaning products but aren’t sure which brand to buy, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I provide an in-depth comparison of E-Cloth vs. Norwex and break down their differences, similarities, pros, and cons so you can determine which brand is best for your household.
Let’s get right into it!
You can navigate this article by clicking the links below:
- E-Cloth vs. Norwex: 30-Second Summary
- E-Cloth vs. Norwex: Comparison Chart
- Why Use a Microfiber Cloth?
- E-Cloth: Quick Overview
- Norwex: Quick Overview
- How to Use Microfiber Cloths
- How Exactly Do They Work?
- How Much Do They Cost?
- Are They Durable?
- Common Customer Complaints
- Bottom Line: Which Microfiber Cloth Should You Buy?
If you only have time for a quick rundown, here are the key differences and similarities between E-Cloth and Norwex:
Differences Between E-Cloth and Norwex
- E-Cloth is cheaper by 50-60% on average.
- E-Cloth guarantees 300 washes while Norwex has a two-year warranty.
- E-Cloth offers slightly finer split microfibers.
- E-Cloth’s effectiveness has been scientifically proven.
- Norwex must be bought through websites or consultants.
- Norwex has a sturdier, more luxurious design.
- Norwex has BacLock™ technology.
- Norwex’s products tend to be slightly larger.
Similarities Between E-Cloth and Norwex
- Made from the same polyester/polyamide blend.
- Identical usage instructions.
- The same cleaning and care instructions.
- The same durability.
- Approximately the same effectiveness.
- Both are available on Amazon (link to E-Cloth, link to Norwex).
Here’s a quick side-by-side comparison of E-Cloth’s General Purpose Cloth vs. Norwex’s EnviroCloth®.
|E-Cloth General Purpose Cloth||Norwex EnviroCloth®|
|Material||Polyester and polyamide||Polyester and polyamide|
|Fiber Width||1/1000th strand of cotton||1/200th strand of hair|
|Cleaning||Rinse after use, launder once per week in only water, air/tumble dry||Rinse after use, launder once per week in only water, air/tumble dry|
|Warranties||300 washes||2 years|
|Price||Lower (See Current Pricing on Amazon)||Higher (See Current Pricing on Amazon)|
In short, microfiber cloths eliminate the risk of exposure to toxic chemicals because they effectively remove bacteria and germs with pure water instead of cleaning solutions.
According to the EPA’s guide on Green Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting, manufacturers of household sanitizers and disinfectants are required to prove that their products do kill the germs specified on their labels. However, there are no regulations for outputting cleaning solutions that could be hazardous to your family’s safety.
Companies essentially receive a pat on the back for being non-toxic; they can have their product evaluated by the EPA as a part of the Design for the Environment (DfE) Safer Product Labeling Program, and they’ll be able to put a special safety sticker on their cleaning solution as a reward for passing.
Most companies will skip these voluntary safety tests, however, and roll out their products regardless of the harmful effects they could have on millions of households.
Thanks to proprietary laws, companies are only required to list active ingredients on their labels. So, within the ten or so minutes that most manufacturers recommend leaving their “green” cleaning agent on your counter, you and your family could be breathing in neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors, harsh ethers, and other aggressive chemicals that have gone unlisted.
Your favorite lemon-fresh scents are often labeled as “fragrance,” which is a vague term that could include a mixture of 3,000 separate ingredients, including terpenes such as formaldehyde.
As stated by the EPA, 11% of employees in California who reported having work-related asthma were directly connected to cleaning or disinfecting chemicals. Half of those workers never had asthma before starting their job. In other words, there is a strong correlation between chemical cleaners irritating and causing asthma.
The EPA also reports that “5% of childhood cancer and 30% of childhood asthma are related to chemical exposures.” They strongly suggest for expecting parents to turn to natural solutions for keeping their house germ-free and warn against cleaning solutions that are marketed to be “green,” since there is no regulated standard for that claim yet. In fact, researchers have found that products claiming to be “non-toxic” or “green” often have as many hazardous chemicals in them as the regular cleaners.
With all these legal loopholes protecting a company’s right to sell you toxic chemicals, how can you be sure your cleaning products aren’t doing more harm than good? The best way to ensure you’re not being exposed to harmful chemicals is to not use them at all.
E-Cloth and Norwex offer microfiber cleaning products that harness the natural capabilities of pure water, so you never have to worry about chemicals again.
E-Cloth was founded in 1995 on the idea of high-quality, chemical-free cleaning products that would withstand years of use. In their words:
“What if you could build dazzling cleaning power into a durable, reusable cloth instead of delivering it in a disposable bottle?”
E-Cloth claims to have a top-notch formula for creating microfiber cloths, down to the yarn’s ratio of nylon to polyester, knit patterns, and density. This forges a magical textile that removes bacteria, mold, pollen, and other contaminants as well as (or better than) chemical solutions.
They weren’t afraid to put their money where their mouth is; E-Cloth ordered lab testing from a third party to verify their results. Silliker, a pillar of Mérieux NutriSciences, has been in the food safety and quality business since the ’60s and is a historically reliable company to hire for this type of work.
Their results from testing E-Cloth products against two strains of bacteria and one type of mold spore were astounding:
“The results demonstrate that E-Cloth + water removes over 99% of bacteria and mold, locking it away inside the cloths’ fibers, where it stays until the cloths are rinsed.
Further tests show that after a rinse with warm water, the E-Cloth products re-introduced just 0.01% of bacteria back onto a sterile surface.”
If you would like to hear more about high-quality microfiber from E-Cloth, here is a quick video that goes over the details.
The Norwex product mission statement is simple: “Safe, Effective and Sustainable.”
They operate under the same environmentally-conscious and family-friendly ethics as the E-Cloth brand, and they won’t put the Norwex label on anything that they believe does not uphold those three standards.
The company originated in Norway, where founder Bjørn Nicolaisen discovered that he could clean bugs off his dirty windshield with a little bit of water and a microfiber cloth.
Since then, the brand has expanded to cover three continents and is mainly run through multi-level marketing (MLM). MLM salespeople (called “consultants”) are advertising Norwex Microfibers online and hosting Norwex parties to sell the product to their friends and families.
Although Norwex historically had to be purchased through MLM consultants, Amazon is now selling both Norwex and E-Cloth products. To make sure you’re getting the real deal, double-check that the seller listed on Amazon is “Norwex” or “E-Cloth” (or use the links below).
Disclaimer: Be wary of any third-party sellers, since customers have raised suspicions that some of these merchants are producing knock-offs.
While Norwex hasn’t backed their claims with science, as E-Cloth has with Silliker, their innovative textiles look scientifically sound. Reviewers overwhelmingly support Their cleaning products, and some products include a technology called BacLock™ that neutralizes odors and inhibits mold or mildew growth while you’re waiting to launder your microfiber cloth.
Each microfiber cloth sold on their website pledges that it can remove up to 99% of bacteria, which is slightly less than the “over 99%” E-Cloth guarantee.
Here is an additional video on the details and benefits of Norwex Microfibers:
E-Cloth and Norwex both recommend the same usage and maintenance routine for their microfiber cloths.
For the best performance, the cloth should be soaked in water and wrung out, then folded over to give multiple cleaning sides. If you’d like to dust, using the cloth dry will still pick up particles with the microfiber’s natural positive charge. Once you’re finished, rinse the microfiber cloth under hot water and hang it to dry until next time.
It’s generally recommended that you launder the cloth once per week and skip using bleach or fabric conditioner since they can be damaging to the microfibers. You only need to use minimal detergent, and you should only wash microfiber cloths with other microfiber cloths. Why? Becuase they will absorb dirt and microbes from other dirty laundry.
Air drying gives the best results, but they can also be set on tumble with no dryer sheets. If you purchase a Norwex product, they have additional dishwashing liquids and laundry detergents that you can buy alongside their microfiber cloths to give them a gentler, more thorough clean, but this shouldn’t be necessary.
For more details about cleaning and maintaining the cloths themselves, check out our recent article where we explain, step-by-step, how to clean and disinfect microfiber cloths.
Microfibers are often minuscule blends of polyester and polyamide (nylon), but they are technically any fiber that is one denier or less in diameter. It might be more helpful to consider that a denier is approximately the diameter of a strand of silk.
For cleaning purposes, microfibers are individually split to resemble an asterisk, which leaves spaces in the shape of wedges for particles and microbes to stick. According to the EPA, this process thins their diameter to 1/200th of a human hair and makes them an incredibly absorbent textile.
You can tell if your microfiber cloth has been split by pushing it over a puddle of water; if it is moving the water like a bulldozer pushing around piles of dirt, then it is probably not split. You only know you have the real deal if the cloth absorbs the water.
Water is an all-natural magnet for dirt and dust particles. That means when it fills those gaps in the split microfibers, every single droplet acts like a little vacuum, sucking microbes up into the microfiber as you wipe household surfaces.
Additionally, the natural positive charge of the microfibers attracts negatively charged particles of grime when the cloth is used dry.
Both E-Cloth and Norwex use a polyester and polyamide microfiber blend for their cleaning cloths, with variations in the splitting size.
E-Cloth’s general use fibers are 1000 times finer than cotton, which means that they are anywhere from 0.000011 mm to 0.000022 mm in diameter.
Norwex claims that their EnviroCloth® microfibers are 1/200th the diameter of a human hair, which is slightly trickier to convert. Human hairs range from 0.017 mm to 0.181 mm, which leaves us with a ballpark diameter of 0.000085 mm to 0.000905 mm per microfiber. Regardless, each measurement is considered to be unimaginably lightweight and effective for most of your household needs.
The only notable difference in the design of the E-Cloth and Norwex Microfiber cloths is in BacLock™ technology. There has been widespread confusion over this term, mostly because Norwex has kept the trademarked technology shrouded in vague, unscientific descriptions.
Norwex describes their BacLock as:
“The BacLock* in the cloth—our exclusive micro silver antibacterial agent—goes to work to self-purify and inhibit odors from bacteria, mold and mildew growth within the cloth within 24 hours so that it is ready to use again.”
Most people saw “antibacterial agent” and “self-purify” and rightfully had the idea that the silver woven into Norwex’s microfiber products was meant to kill bacteria. However, products can be called antibacterial even when their primary function is to inhibit bacterial growth instead of outright killing bacteria upon contact. In the fine print, Norwex is careful to clarify:
“*Contains BacLock, an antibacterial agent for self- cleansing purposes only. The agent is solely designed to inhibit odor from bacteria, mold and/or mildew growth within the product.”
Essentially, this means that your Norwex Microfiber product won’t get increasingly bacteria-infested and smelly if you leave it crumpled in the laundry bin for a week. However, that does not mean it sanitizes itself.
Laundering the microfiber cloths should wash away all of those gathered microbes, but what they don’t mention is that bacteria have a difficult time surviving on microfibers in comparison to cotton washcloths, whether or not you rinse them. Microfiber textiles dry quicker, resulting in a harsh, nutrient-parched wasteland where bacteria simply can’t live.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly microfiber cloth, you might find yourself leaning more towards E-Cloth products. They generally run for half the price of Norwex supplies or less, across the board.
Norwex’s bestseller all-purpose microfiber cloth is called EnviroCloth® and is 13.78″ x 13.78″ in size. For slightly less fabric (12.5” x 12.5”), you can purchase E-Cloth’s General Purpose Cloth for about a 50% reduction in price.
The same general pattern applies to all comparable supplies between E-Cloth and Norwex. The “Deep Clean Mop” by E-Cloth, for instance, currently is sold for around 60% less than Norwex’s comparable “Superior Mini Mop System.”
Both E-Cloth and Norwex have durability guarantees on their products, although E-Cloth’s promised “300 washes” is slightly ambiguous. If it goes through the recommended one laundering per week, then it should be guaranteed for up to five (and 3/4) years.
Norwex has a straightforward 2-year warranty on most products, and you may be able to have an item replaced if you are simply unsatisfied with its performance.
Customers report long-lasting value from either microfiber cloth, but both will have their lifespan cut short if they’re washed improperly. The microfibers often become frayed or dulled when laundered with bleach, fabric softeners, or too much detergent, so skip the extra expenses and wash your microfiber cloths in warm water.
Buried under pages and pages worth of people singing the praises of E-Cloth and Norwex products, there is still a large group of skeptics and unhappy buyers.
Norwex Is Expensive:
A lot of people are raising their eyebrows at Norwex’s excessive prices, in particular. For a product with very similar specs as their competitor in everything, not including Norwex microfiber’s slightly thicker width and slightly lower percentage of bacteria removal, it feels as though customers are paying twice as much for a prettier package.
Norwex BacLock Doesn’t Make Much of an Impact:
The BacLock™, according to most buyers, doesn’t seem to make a massive difference in comparison to a plain E-Cloth if the product is being rinsed and laundered correctly. Some skeptics have even gone so far as to call the BacLock™ a kind of snake oil, hiding underneath careful wording to make it sound as though silver is a sterilizer, efficient and magical enough to charge clients double for it.
Scientific Evidence Is Limited:
Suspicions also heightened among many internet forums when the public could not locate any lab test results or scholarly articles proving that Norwex Microfiber was as effective as they claimed to be. At most, their performance has been featured on infomercial-style news or backed by poorly designed agar plate analysis that hasn’t officially been made public. However, general microfiber cloths are powerhouses, and most customers are satisfied enough with their Norwex product to have very few suspicions about their validity.
Additionally, some customers have described Norwex’s mop heads as being too large, awkward, and stiff to handle. The microfiber cloths themselves rarely receive complaints like this, and some mop owners report that the pads feel sturdier than E-Cloth’s.
E-Cloth Feels Less Durable:
E-Cloth receives complaints mostly for their design; customers regard some of their products as feeling cheaper or more breakable. Instead of a solid, metallic mop handle with a good amount of heft, E-Cloth offers a lighter and more plastic-like product.
Their General Purpose Cloth is more up to snuff on its design, but consumers still wonder if they could purchase a generic microfiber cloth to do the same job.
E-Cloth and Norwex offer very similar products overall, with a few core differences that might tilt your vote in one direction or another.
If you prioritize a sturdier, more luxurious feel to your products, it might be worth it to invest the extra money into Norwex.
If you want more bang for your buck and don’t care as much about design, then purchasing from E-Cloth is probably the wisest choice.
Personally, Norwex Microfibers would leave my wallet feeling a little lean for something that should perform the same as an E-Cloth product. By all respects, an E-Cloth General Purpose Cloth measures up to Norwex in its manufacturing of finer (more absorbent) microfibers and its seal of approval from a trusted food safety test lab.
If you’re a first-time buyer for microfiber cloths, it also seems like the safer route to purchase a cheaper E-Cloth microfiber with a longer-lived 300-wash guarantee.
At the end of the day, you should base your choice on your budget and your personal preferences.
You can check out both brands and read hundreds of additional reviews on Amazon at the links below:
Thank you for reading our comparison of E-Cloth and Norwex! Have you tried either of these products? Do you feel strongly about one over the other? Let us know in the comments below!
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