Our textiles expert has come up with the best materials to use for cleaning iron skillets, Venetian blinds, and more. If you have more-basic cleaning needs, we also have test results for Bounty DuraTowels, on page 11.
A scrubber to get the main soil, then a paper towel and vegetable oil that won't turn rancid quickly.
Microfiber cloth. The microfiber should be labeled "split," which means that in cross-section, each fiber isn't cylindrical but looks like an asterisk, with open spaces that suck up moisture. Microfibers are positively charged and attract dust, which is negatively charged. Be sure to wash microfiber when it's dirty.
No-scratch nylon scrubber with smoothtop-stove cleaner. Follow the manufacturer's directions.
Clean sponge (wash dirty sponges in a dishwasher or a washing machine). First line the sink with a rubber mat to avoid chips, then use a rubber spatula to scrape. Dry with a clean, smooth, lint-free towel.
Paper towel and stainless-steel cleaner. Follow the manufacturer's directions.
White paper towel or clean white cotton rag. (Paint can pick up color from dyed towels.)
Clean white cloth or paper towel, with weight on top to blot (don't rub).
Dampened sponge with cleaner; squeegee to remove liquid; damp chamois or microfiber for wiping; soft, dry cloth to remove remaining streaks.
Wire brush or steel wool. (If using on a polished surface, test in an inconspicuous place first.) Wipe off any loose bristles or fibers when finished.