One of the reasons we started Smug Store was because of the amount of so-called plastic free products with hidden microfibre. Microfibre is microplastic, and it is often used in products like kitchen cloths, cloth nappies, and clothing.
These products shed a ridiculous amount of microplastic shards. We eat them, breathe them in, wash them down the drain, and dump them in the soil.
Cleaning cloths with microfibre are cheap and reusable. But every time you wash them, you are releasing microplastics into water that cannot be removed.
Plastic particles are then eaten by animals and eventually by you.
Plastic Free Microfibre Swaps
These Maistic cloths are designed to be an alternative to microfibre cleaning cloths. They aren’t perfect, but they’re a pretty good plastic free July swap. I found that the absorption is brilliant, and the cloths perform just as well as the microplastic alternatives.
After a few washes, the cloths lose their smooth finish and start to look a bit more wooly.
One downside of these cloths is that, despite being washable, they do lose a fair bit of fluff in the machine. It’s harmless, plant-based fluff, but it does tend to catch on other things; I’ve found that black clothes and cloth nappies are showing up little white strands where the plastic free cloths are breaking down.
(It’s possible that one got into the dryer by accident, which could explain some of the fluff I found.)
I’m going to try washing mine in a net bag to avoid this, and perhaps sticking to a delicates cycle.
Either way, I think cloths that shed natural plant based fibres are better than cloths that shed plastic. If you wear fleece clothes, you might be releasing 17 million microplastic shards in each wash.
By swapping your microfibre cloths for plant based, plastic free cleaning cloths, and buying clothing that isn’t made from fleece, you can eliminate this problem completely.