Microfiber is used in the manufacture of non-woven, woven and knitted textiles. The shape, size and combinations of synthetic fibers are selected for specific characteristics, including: softness, durability, absorption, wicking abilities, water repellency, electrodynamics, and filtering capabilities.
Microfiber is commonly used for apparel, upholstery, industrial filters and janitorial products.
Microfiber underwear have been said to cause problems with yeast infections for some women.
Microfiber products used for consumer cleaning are generally constructed from split conjugated fibers of polyester and polyamide. Microfiber used for commercial cleaning products also include many products constructed of 100% polyester microfiber. Fabrics made with microfibers are exceptionally soft and hold their shape well. When high quality microfiber is combined with the right knitting process, it creates an extremely effective cleaning material. This material can hold up to seven times its weight in water. They are also used for some cleaning applications, because of their exceptional ability to absorb oils.
Microfiber is also widely used by car detailers to handle such tasks as removing wax, quick detailing, cleaning interior, cleaning glass, as well as drying. Due to its fine fibers which leave no lint or dust, microfiber towels are a popular choice for avid car detailers and enthusiasts. Chamois leather is also used.
In professional cleaning, microfiber is used in many tools, for example mops and cleaning cloths. Microfiber mops are more costly than conventional mops, however some institutions find them more economical because they are longer lasting and require less effort to use.
Microfiber cloths are also now used to clean photographic lenses, with major manufacturers such as Nikon and Canon offering them.
Care should be exercised when using microfiber for cleaning of sensitive surfaces. By nature it accumulates dust, debris, and particles inside its material. Sensitive surfaces (such as all high tech coated surfaces e.g. CRT, LCD and plasma screens) can easily be damaged by a microfiber cloth if it has picked up grit or other abrasive particles during use. The cloth itself is generally safer to use on these surfaces than more common cloths, particularly as no cleaning fluid is required for cleaning such surfaces. One way to minimize the risk of damage to flat surfaces is to use a flat, non-rugged microfiber cloth, as these tend to be less prone to holding for example sand grains.
Cleaning textiles made of microfiber must only be washed in regular washing detergent, not oily, self-softening, soap-based detergents. Fabric softener may not be used. The oils in the softener and self-softening detergents will clog up the fibers and make them less effective until the oils are removed by washing.
Microfibers are not made from a renewable resource and they are not biodegradable. However, they are designed for repeated use, unlike many disposable cleaning materials such as paper towels. In many household cleaning applications (washing dishes, floors, furniture, etc.) using microfibre tools disposes of the need to use detergents and cleaning solutions, bringing potentially significant environmental and economic benefits.