Norwex Microfiber Cloths vs. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes: What’s the Difference?

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If you’re stocking up on cleaning supplies or getting ready to clean your house, you might be wondering:

What’s the difference between Norwex microfiber cloths and Clorox disinfecting wipes?

Which kills more germs?

When should I use one versus the other?

The key difference between Norwex cloths and Clorox wipes is that Norwex cloths trap and remove viruses and bacteria while Clorox wipes kill it. Norwex cloths don’t contain any chemicals, making them ideal for everyday cleaning. Clorox wipes contain germ-killing chemicals and are designed specifically for disinfecting. 

In this comparison of Norwex cloths vs. Clorox wipes, I dive deeper into the differences between these two popular cleaning products.

Keep reading to learn:

  • The science behind Norwex cloths and Clorox wipes
  • When to use a Norwex cloth and when to use a Clorox wipe
  • How to properly use each to maximize effectiveness
  • Which are better for the environment
  • And more.

Let dive right in!


Use the links below to navigate the article:


What Are Norwex Microfiber Cloths? A Quick Overview

Norwex has been in the cleaning business since 1994. Its mission is to make safe, effective, and sustainable cleaning products for your home.

If you’re looking for eco-friendly ways to amplify your cleaning routine, Norwex is a great brand to consider.

Norwex makes face masks, toiletries, towels, spray bottles, and dish mats, but the brand’s most popular and best-selling products are their microfiber cloths.

Norwex Microfiber Cloth
Norwex Microfiber Cloth

There are many sustainable and eco-friendly cleaning cloths on the market. But what makes Norwex microfiber cloths so great?

These reusable cloths remove 99% of bacteria and dirt with water alone. You don’t need chemical cleaners or paper towels when you use Norwex.

They’re made from an ultra-fine and dense blend of polyester and polyamide, with each fiber around 1/200th the size of a human hair, which is much thinner than other microfiber types.

Norwex cloths are made with 10 million feet of fiber, making them much denser (therefore more durable) than other microfiber cloths. If you hold a standard microfiber cloth up to a light, it shines right through. Norwex’s thick construction blocks most of the light.

The combination of ultra-fine microfibers and dense construction gives Norwex an incredible ability to catch dirt and debris up to seven times its weight. 

You can use these cloths wet or dry. Either way, the cloth traps dirt in its fibers and removes it from the surface.

Finally, Norwex microfiber cloths contain a proprietary technology called Baclock. It’s a micro-silver antibacterial agent embedded into the fibers that control bacterial odor, mold, and mildew growth. 

What Are Clorox Wipes? A Quick Overview

Clorox has been a trusted name in the cleaning industry for over 100 years.

While they’re best known for being the leading manufacturer of bleach, Clorox Disinfecting Wipes are bleach-free.

The active ingredient is Alkyl C12-18 Dimethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride, an antimicrobial ammonium compound used to disinfect and sanitize surfaces.

Clorox wipes come in a variety of scents, textures, and packaging (canisters and on-the-go packs), but the function and ingredients are basically the same.

Clorox Disinfecting Wipe
Clorox Disinfecting Wipe

Clorox wipes can kill 99.9% of germs, viruses, and bacteria in as little as 30 seconds (in some cases it takes up to 4 minutes). Plus, they prevent bacteria regrowth for up to 24 hours. Unlike Norwex cloths which trap and remove germs, Clorox wipes kill it.

Norwex Cloths vs. Clorox Wipes: Differences

In this section, I’ll review the key differences between Norwex microfiber cloths and Clorox disinfecting wipes so you can make the decision that’s right for your cleaning needs.

Main Purpose

While both are designed for cleaning, Norwex microfiber cloths and Clorox disinfecting wipes serve different purposes.

Norwex microfiber cloths are a cleaning product. They remove dirt and bacteria, rather than killing it. They are labeled as antibacterial but don’t let that confuse you. They aren’t killing it outright, but they can remove it and restrict bacterial regrowth.

Clorox disinfecting wipes are cleaners and disinfectants. When used according to the instructions, they kill 99.9% of germs. Serious lab testing shows that the ingredients are safe and that the product works as Clorox claims. 

But keep in mind that Clorox wipes are only effective when used correctly. Typically, they aren’t — people don’t leave the surface wet for long enough. Clorox wipes can take anywhere between 30 seconds and four minutes to kill bacteria.

On the back of the box, it clearly states: “To disinfect: Allow [the surface to remain wet for 4 minutes. Allow [the] surface to air dry.” This detail is critical if you’re using Clorox wipes to kill bacteria or viruses.

How They Work: The Science

Norwex works by picking up and trapping dirt and debris in between its thin and dense fibers. It collects minute particles and 99% of bacteria from surfaces using water alone. The damp cloth will lift grime and trap it, leaving no lint or dirt behind.

When used dry, Norwex microfiber creates a positive static charge that attracts and traps dirt. When wiped across a surface, the static pulls particles and locks them into the fibers instead of pushing them around.

Norwex microfiber cloths contain the brand’s proprietary BacLock technology, a powerful micro silver agent that self-purifies the cloth as it dries, eliminating odor, mold, and bacteria growth.

How does this work?

Silver ions break down the bacteria cell’s life-supporting functions, starving the bacteria, inactivating the enzymes, and damaging the bacteria’s DNA so it can’t reproduce.  

Keep in mind the silver agent isn’t killing the bacteria; it’s just preventing more from growing. However, Norwex claims that you can use the cloth multiple times before laundering.

Overall, when you use and care for Norwex properly, you can eliminate most bacteria without the need for any chemical products.

Alternatively, Clorox wipes disinfect and kill bacteria in two ways.

First, it breaks down the cell membranes and proteins so they can’t multiply in a process called growth inhibition.

Second, the wipes can outright destroy bacteria in a process called lethal action.

The active ingredients in Clorox wipes include:

  • Alkyl C12 – 14 Dimethylethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride and Alkyl C12 – 18 Dimethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride: These ammonium-based compounds have surfactant and antimicrobial properties to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses.
  • Isopropanol: A disinfectant.
  • C12 – 14 Alcohols Ethoxylated Propoxylated: Cleans, but also has antimicrobial properties.

When to Use Norwex Cloths vs. Clorox Wipes

In what situations should you use Norwex cloths? And which situations call for Clorox wipes?

You should use Norwex for general household cleaning. Any time you’d use a cotton cloth or paper towel, you can replace it with a Norwex cloth. This includes:

  • Dusting
  • Wiping up spills
  • Cleaning taps and faucets
  • Cleaning windows and mirrors
  • Cleaning floors

Clorox wipes aren’t intended for daily use — only use them when there’s a specific need to disinfect surfaces. This includes:

  • Disinfecting surfaces after working with raw meat.
  • When someone in the household has been exposed to a virus, but even then, you should only use them to clean common touchpoints such as phones, tablets, doorknobs, light switches, handles, and faucets.
  • Clorox wipes are great for wiping down surfaces in public, such as the hand rest at a movie theater, your chair at a restaurant, or the seat on an airplane.

While the Clorox wipes sound ideal for the bathroom, they’re not suitable for a deep clean (you’d need to use a lot of them). Instead, use disinfectant sprays (like Clorox Clean-Up Disinfectant Bleach Cleaner) and products designed specifically for cleaning bathrooms.

Proper Usage

Another key difference between Norwex cloths and Clorox wipes is how you use them.

To use Norwex cloths, follow these instructions:

  1. Use dry for dusting, or dampen for wiping away dirt and debris from washable surfaces.
  2. Fold the cloth in fourths. This leaves you with eight clean sides.
  3. Wipe in even strokes, keeping the cloth flat against the surface.
  4. When a side becomes dirty, flip it to a clean side.
  5. If using Norwex on surfaces that scratch easily, such as brushed stainless steel or computer screens, test the cloth in an inconspicuous spot first.

For regularly everyday cleaning, you can rinse and hang the cloth to dry after you’ve finished using it. For heavy-duty cleaning, launder it afterward. Here’s how to clean and disinfect Norwex cloths:

  1. Rinse with warm water for 30 seconds to remove dirt and debris.
  2. If more than one cloth needs cleaning, separate the ones you used in the bathroom and kitchen from ones you used on other surfaces to avoid cross-contamination.
  3. Pre-soak the cloths in a bucket with detergent. If any of the cloths are contaminated, submerge them in boiling water for 10 minutes to kill the bacteria.
  4. Wash the cloths in a washing machine with warm water (140°F is good, but always check the manufacturer instructions) and detergent. Don’t use fabric softener.
  5. Hang them to air dry or tumble dry without heat. Don’t use dryer sheets.

When using Clorox wipes, follow the instructions correctly. Otherwise, you may not truly disinfect the surfaces.

Most people don’t use Clorox wipes appropriately. A quick wipe down is not enough;  you need to use enough wipes so that the surface remains wet for at least four minutes. Some viruses can be killed within 30 seconds, but four minutes ensures disinfection.

Here are the steps to use Clorox wipes properly:

  1. For simple cleaning, wipe the surface with the wipe and let it air dry.
  2. For disinfecting, use enough wipes so that the surface remains visibly wet for at least four minutes.
  3. Let the surface air dry.
  4. For extremely dirty surfaces, remove the excess dirt before using the wipes.
  5. Rinse with water after the wet surface from the wipes has dried.

If the surface is drying too quickly, use more wipes. If going between surfaces, get a new wipe to avoid cross-contamination.

If you’re disinfecting anything that might come in contact with someone’s mouth (dishes, toys, or utensils), rinse with water after the disinfectant has dried.

Safety

Norwex is safe for any surface that you would typically clean with soap and water or chemical cleaners. This includes countertops, walls, windows, floors, vehicles, toys, tools, appliances, outdoor furniture, and much more. 

Norwex cloths can scratch anti-glare surfaces, so test it in an inconspicuous spot if you’re cleaning TV screens, smartphones, and glass. 

Norwex microfiber cloths have been independently tested for over 350 harmful substances and received the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® certification.  In other words, Norwex cloths are incredibly safe. 

Clorox wipes are NOT safe on these surfaces:

  • Dishes
  • Glassware
  • Eating utensils
  • Cleaning or sanitizing skin
  • As a diaper wipe
  • For personal use
  • Unpainted wood
  • Unfinished, unsealed, waxed, oil or worn surfaces

Clorox isn’t safe for items that will come in contact with your mouth, nor is it safe for your skin because some ingredients are irritants.

Be careful when using Clorox wipes on wood as the chemicals can cause damage. Also, limit their use on sealed surfaces, as the chemicals can break down the finish.

For instance, you shouldn’t use it on granite, untreated wood, or leather. Don’t use Clorox wipes on upholstery either as the alcohol can stain or fade fabrics.

Finally, if using Clorox to disinfect children’s toys, always rinse with water after the Clorox wipe liquid mixture has dried.

Ingredients

Norwex cloths are made from a blend of polyester and polyamide. Each fiber is 1/200th the size of a strand of human hair. 

They don’t contain any chemicals or cleaners — it’s just a well-designed microfiber cloth. 

Most Norwex cloths contain the brand’s unique BacLock technology, a special silver-based agent to prohibit bacteria, mold, and mildew growth. It’s essentially tiny silver fibers woven into the cloth. Again, no chemicals involved. 

Clorox wipes feature nine ingredients, including water, solvents, alcohol, surfactants, disinfectants, baking soda, acid, and fragrances. 

Although Clorox is synonymous with bleach, Clorox wipes are bleach-free. You can check out the full list of ingredients here.

Environmental Impact

Without a doubt, Norwex is better for the environment. You can wash the cloth 500 times, meaning it will last for years. These cloths reduce landfill waste, chemicals in the waterways, and air pollution in your own home.

Although it takes energy and resources to make Norwex microfiber, and they can shed, the fact that you can reuse them means they’re much better for the environment than Clorox wipes.

Here are a few fun facts about Norwex’s environmental impact:

  • Thirteen billion pounds of paper towel waste is created in the United States every year. Norwex helps minimize that.
  • The self-cleaning BacLock technology saves water and energy since y don’t have to clean them after each use.
  • Most Norwex microfiber products are made with 70% recycled materials.

Clorox wipes, on the other hand, must be disposed of in the trash after each use. They cannot be flushed. The container, however, can often be recycled.

Clorox wipes, although made with relatively safe ingredients, still contain some harsh chemicals and fragrances. These can contribute to indoor air pollution and cause skin reactions, headaches, eye and throat irritation.

Once in a landfill, they take years to decompose since they’re not compostable or biodegradable.

Price

Both Norwex cloths and Clorox wipes are relatively inexpensive. Although Norwex may have a higher upfront cost, they’re cheaper over time since they’re reusable and known to last for years.

The exact prices depend on what size pack you choose. You can check the current prices on Amazon:

If you like Norwex, but want something cheaper, E-Cloth is an excellent choice. Check it out on Amazon, and be sure to read my comparison between Norwex and E-Cloth.

Bottom Line: Should You Use Norwex Cloths or Clorox Wipes?

Now that you understand the key differences between Norwex cloths and Clorox wipes, which should you use?

As you may have guessed, it’s not an either-or situation.

Norwex cloths are eco-friendly, reusable, and allow you to clean without chemicals. 

They’re great for daily cleaning, and you can use them on pretty much any surface. They are designed to trap and remove bacteria, but they don’t kill it.

Clorox wipes contain chemicals and are designed to kill bacteria and viruses. These wipes are disposable and ideal for disinfecting hard surfaces. 

Since Clorox wipes contain chemicals, you need to be extra careful when disinfecting toys, utensils, or any surfaces that come into contact with your skin. 

After the moisture from the wipes dries, wipe the area with a damp cloth or rinse it with water to remove any leftover chemicals.

My advice — every home needs both Norwex cloths and Clorox wipes (or equivalent products from other brands). They serve different purposes, but both are necessary tools in the fight to maintain a clean, germ-free home.

Both products are available on Amazon at the links below:

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