When it comes to selecting cleaning tools, you have a simple choice to make…chemistry or physics? After all, cleaning is science. When you scrub with soap and water, you’re using long molecules called surfactants with one end that loves water and one end that loves grease. Those ends act like magnets, pulling the grease off the surface you’re cleaning and pushing it away with water. That’s chemistry.

Microfiber cloths don’t need soap to work because they’re made from split plastic fibers that are each finer than a human hair. That adds up to tons of surface area plus the ability for each little fiber to squeeze into tiny crevices. Thanks to subtle molecular charges, all those fibers pull on the dust and microbes on your dirty surfaces, locking them to the fibers until you wash them away in the faucet. This is mostly physics.

Here are three places you should definitely embrace the science and clean with microfiber.

These soft scrubbers are different colors so you can tell the toilet wipe from the stove wipe. Yay! MR.SIGA

Microfiber is killer in wet, grimy areas that breed bacteria—like kitchens and bathrooms. And we mean that literally. In an experiment at the University of California, Davis Medical Center, microfiber mops reduced floor bacteria by 99 percent. Cotton mops could only manage 30 percent. Packs that include multiple colors are ideal for these areas since it makes it easy to designate kitchen versus bathroom cloths to avoid cross-contamination.

These cloths have high pile and short pile sides, so you can wipe off dirt then flip over and rub in waxes. Chemical Guys

Microfiber is a great option for caring for your vehicle—especially if the cloths have two sides. Longer fibers (high pile) lift away dirt and are gentle enough to detail interior electronics and delicate finishes. Shorter fibers (short pile) make it easy to apply waxes and sealants to make the hard work last.

These 11.5” by 11.5” wipes fit perfectly around the head of a floor sweeper or mop. S&T INC.

Floors are gross, so it’s an obvious place to whip out the microfiber. Look for larger wipes (think: at least 11 inches square) so that you have the option to wrap them around a standard floor sweeper or mop for easy cleaning. Microfiber absorbs up to eight times its weight in liquid, so be sure to wring the cloths out and hang them up before tossing them in the washing machine.