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Old 23rd March 2008, 01:54 PM   #1
Arkayik
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Norwex Material Claims

I'm wondering if anyone can point me to research regarding claims of companies who market the space-age fabric home cleaning fabric-cloths (rags). One such company is www <dot> norwexhome <dot> com.

Quote:
Microfibre cloths are environmentally friendly. They can reduce the consumption of cleaning chemicals in your home up to 90% while at the same time cutting down your exposure to toxic fumes. This can make a big difference for anyone with allergies and chemical sensitivities. In important areas of our home like bathrooms and kitchens, microfibre cloths remove 99% of the bacteria from surfaces, resulting in a cleaner, healthier environment. Microfiber cloths are very durable. They are widely used in commercial cleaning environments and can withstand the rigors of everyday usage.
On the face of it, the above seems to be mindless marketing. How is a polyester rag environmentally friendly?

A cloth rag can't reduce chemical consumption by a household, only the house-holder can do that...

I might be wrong, but couldn't you take a cotton towel, swipe a surface and remove 99% of the bacteria? Anyhow, bacteria is a small percentage of illness agents, aren't Virus' a more significant problem for health?

Anyhow, I'm not necessarily wanting to slag them for using "marketing-speak", companies have to flog product, just wondering if there is a reasonable amount of science behind them charging $$ for a hunk of polyester material made in China...

Cheers,

Arkayik
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Old 24th March 2009, 04:56 AM   #2
dejap
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Norwex microfiber

If you're interested in reading about how microfiber is completely different from cotton cloths,check out simplynorwex on the web. Also on that site are the scientific studies done on Norwex microfiber, which prove that it does indeed pick up and remove 99.9% of bacteria from the surfaces you wipe without using any chemicals.

To compare microfiber to cotton is like comparing shovels to balls. The micro fiber is made in such a way that it "scoops" everything from the surface being wiped, vs a ball which would simply move the dirt and bacteria from one place to another. It's much easier to explain with a picture....which I don't have access to here, but when you see it, it brings understanding. High quality microfiber is replacing the traditional methods of cleaning, more in Europe than here in North America unfortunately. As one of the scientific studies talk about, there are hospitals which are using microfiber exclusively, including in the surgical theaters and in the kitchens. Also, I just read an article which said that all of the McDonalds in Sweeden have switched from bleach cleaning to microfiber and water cleaning.

Lots of people ask why they would buy a Norwex microfiber cloth for $15 when they could just buy a 10 pack of microfiber cloths from the grocery store for $12? The answer is quality. The effectiveness of microfiber is in the size of the fibers; the smaller the fibers, the better the cloth, as it increase the suface area that is wiping your dirt away. Most of the microfiber in the cloths you would buy at the store are anywhere between 1/6th - 1/16th the diameter of a human hair. These cloths loose their effectiveness after about 30 washes (also you can't put these ones in the dryer which is a bit of a pain). The Norwex microfiber is 1/100th the size of a human hair, and has been proven to continue removing 99.9% of bacteria for well over 2 years worth of washing! It is also worth mentioning that Norwex is the only microfiber which has embedded silver nanoparticles (natural antibacterial agent) into their fiber. This means that the bacteria that is picked up in the cloth will be killed by the silver reducing the risk of cross contamination.

Also to answer your question about viruses. High quality microfiber has not been proven to remove viruses...it's very difficult to test because the size of a virus is so much smaller than bacteria. However, places that use microfiber for cleaning (such as the hospital the study was done on) have not seen an increase in viral infections since implementing microfiber cleaning, and the conclusion that's been drawn is that if the microfiber were not removing the viruses then a rise in viral infections would have resulted.

As for your statement that "a cloth rag can't reduce chemical consumption by a household, only the house-holder can do that", I am a householder with 4 kids and a husband, and we have gotten rid of all our chemical cleaners and now clean with Norwex microfiber and a minimal amount of water. I was a huge skeptic when I got my first one as a gift from my sister, but I decided it couldn't hurt to test it out, and I did my research, and now I wouldn't go back to my old ways of cleaning my house. My house is cleaner....really it is....and I'm not exposing my family to the very dangerous effects of the chemicals that are in cleaners.

Hope this helps to answer your questions!
Deja
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Old 24th March 2009, 07:19 AM   #3
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After a bit of Googling I could not find any actual research that demonstrates that this stuff works. (Note, I'm not claiming there isn't any. I just did not find it. I willing to be educated. )

However, I did find this about their Magnetic Ball:
Quote:
The magnetic field created inside the Magnet Ball causes a realignment of the electrons of the particles so that the clumps break up and the particles disassociate with each other. As the molecular charged water passes over surfaces and in the appliances, it causes existing scale buildup to disassociate and float away.
And this does send my Spidey Woo Senses tingling.
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Old 24th March 2009, 08:12 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by dejap View Post
If you're interested in reading about how microfiber is completely different from cotton cloths,check out simplynorwex on the web.
And I suspect if one wants to find out why Fords are different or better than Chevy's, we would want to visit a Ford or Chevy web site; rather than, say, Consumer Reports ?

Quote:
....
Hope this helps to answer your questions!
Deja
Interesting how a mention of a product brings a sales pitch out of the woodwork ..

Googling ' norwex ' , brings up about a gazzillion sites trying to sell this stuff..

I smell multi-level marketing...

I give you the " As Seen ON TV " corollary :

The effectiveness of a product is inversely proportional to the number you will be given " absolutely free ", in addition to the one you are buying at an inflated price ..
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Old 24th March 2009, 10:17 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
Interesting how a mention of a product brings a sales pitch out of the woodwork ..
Indeed. Any bets on whether or not dejap will bother posting in any other threads?
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Old 24th March 2009, 10:47 AM   #6
sanguine
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Originally Posted by Arkayik View Post
I
I might be wrong, but couldn't you take a cotton towel, swipe a surface and remove 99% of the bacteria? Anyhow, bacteria is a small percentage of illness agents, aren't Virus' a more significant problem for health?

Anyhow, I'm not necessarily wanting to slag them for using "marketing-speak", companies have to flog product, just wondering if there is a reasonable amount of science behind them charging $$ for a hunk of polyester material made in China...
Background - I'm a biologist; these days, I spend a lot of time being a microbiologist.

I had a conversation about this with a friend of mine when he asked me whether cleaning his kitchen and bathroom areas with microfiber cloth would be effective enough to let him not use cleaning agents, since he is sensitive to many of the cleaning agents (not in any woo-ish manner, that is - he legitimately has a lot of allergies). I researched the published literature concerning microfiber cloth in cleaning, and found out that:

1) There are no published reports comparing just microfiber cloth alone to other cleaning methods. (This is because no hospital in their right mind would stop using cleansers and just rely on a non-chemical cleaning method.)

2) In comparisons between cleaning with normal cloth + cleaning agent versus microfiber cloth + cleaning agent, the microfiber cloth generally leads to slightly more effective sterilization.

That said, let me reinforce that no one uses just the microfiber cloth. If you really care about sterilizing a surface, you need to use a cleaning agent of some kind. The CDC offers comparisons between the efficacy of different cleaners versus different pathogens (bacteria, fungi, viruses), but the shorthand version is "use bleach, bleach kills everything." Guided by this, my friend decided to use the microfiber cloth for general surface cleaning (keeping the stovetop clean) and to sterilize with bleach as needed. I think this is a wise choice.

Basically, microfiber cloth is more effective than normal cloth at picking stuff up off of surfaces. When combined with normal use of sterilizing agents, this helps add a couple percentage points to the effectiveness of your sterilization. Whether that's worth any potential added cost or not is up to the purchaser.

As a final aside, the issue in sterilizing surfaces largely is bacteria, rather than viruses. In general, bacteria can be significantly more robust on surfaces than their smaller viral brethren, especially since they can form biofilms that mean they can survive indefinitely (fun fact - some public soap dispensers have active bacterial biofilms growing inside them).
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Old 24th March 2009, 01:55 PM   #7
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Thanks sanguine. That's much easier than me continuing to Google.

PS. I love this place.
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Old 24th March 2009, 04:22 PM   #8
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You underestimate me...not so easily intimidated.

You don't have to like or buy the stuff - your choice

And I suppose being a part of this forum means that I should start being rude?....seems to be a theme here in many of the "higher thinkers" forums

enjoy each others company.
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Old 24th March 2009, 04:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dejap View Post
You underestimate me...not so easily intimidated.
I don't recall anyone trying to intimidate you.

And I suppose being a part of this forum means that I should start being rude?[/quote]

No, but when your very first post in a forum comes off sounding like an advertising pitch, well, people get suspicious. If you're really not here to advertise, accept that and move on, and no one will care about your first post.
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Old 24th March 2009, 06:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by dejap View Post
You underestimate me...not so easily intimidated.

You don't have to like or buy the stuff - your choice

And I suppose being a part of this forum means that I should start being rude?....seems to be a theme here in many of the "higher thinkers" forums

enjoy each others company.
Well I might have bought the stuff if there was any scientific evidence that it worked.

There was a lot of hand waving in your first post and it took sanguine to come up with some facts.

Is there some magic penny I could sell you for a buck so you could become rich? It's worked for dozens of people.
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Old 24th March 2009, 09:26 PM   #11
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I did follow up with Norwex, and request their test data. And they did provide some information to me. I was prepared to be converted, but still I found the information somehow unfulfilling.

Perhaps I suffer from the lack of technical sophistication to interpret the data presented (ignorance) and/or maybe I'm just being stubbornly-closed-minded.... I'm willing to grant that if someone can show me how their data satisfies their claim to be better than other commonly used cleaning cloth materials.

My question was is the Norwex material significantly better compared to regular cloths? Strangely the answer is not as clear as I'd like, despite apparent "scientific testing".... Oh Microbial gurus, should I care if the surface is 90% clean or 99.99999% clean?

I don't see in their studies a really basic scientific method like a proper "control". (I have the "studies" provided by Norwex, but I don't know if I should post them here... If you pm me I'll email you the copies...).

The problem with their studies is in one you get data on how good the Norwex cloth is alone, with no straight comparison to another type of cloth. Then there is a comparison study in which the Norwex is used with water (impressive) but the "other" cloth is used in combination with a chemical, which invalidates the comparison... If the Norwex is so much better than the "other" cloth, why not show it in a direct comparison... Its such a minor point, but so maddeningly simple to have accommodated (control group!)...

I did get a cheery email (copied below) which of course quoted the studies which in my humble (ignorant/confused) estimation were flawed....

Obviously if one stops using chemicals around the house, one shall get a significant reduction in use of chemicals in the house.... duh... but why not use an old squeegee cloth or a hunk of cotton... Is the difference between 99.0% and 99.54% bacteria removed a significant amount of cleaning difference!? And really, what's wrong with a bit'o'bleach between friends, we've been using it since the 18 hundreds if not longer...

Quote:
Hi Kevin,

Great questions...I'll see what I can do! Unfortunately, I don't know what Head Office sent you, so I apologize for any repetition.

Regarding protocols used for tests, I am assuming you are referring to our
claim of removing more than 99.9% of bacteria - these are based on a few
different studies with a few different cloths.....
<<<snip>>>
....I will include test results
and summaries of studies here for you to review.

The summary of the ACT study results shows that our method is as or more
effective than cleaning with chemicals and regular cloths - although using
straight 409 and leaving it wet on the surface for 30 seconds prior to
wiping was slightly more effective <<<SNIP>>>

Regarding 90% reduction in chemical and disposable cleaning product use - I don't know if there was an actual "study" done on that per se. We also say "up to" 90%, but it would obviously depend on the household.

<<<<SNIPPED mucho marketing-speak>>>>>

To my knowledge, however, I have never seen anything where regular cotton cloths were used just with water - it would be an excellent example on how much better our cloths are. Of course, if a regular cotton cloth can't do what ours does with chemical, I think it is pretty obvious that it is going to miss by a mile without chemical. {yeah but is that what the studies show???}

<<<<SNIP>>>>

....It has been said that it is not possible to prove viral removal, but I do
believe I have a way...perhaps one day I will get to do the research on the cloths that I would love to see done in North America, so we can better
satisfy Health Canada and the like
, that they can get rid of most of the chemicals they recommend for cleaning and have an even more sound body of evidence for our clients.

If you have further questions, please let me know.

Cheers,
Candi

Candi Bezte, M.Sc.
Science & Technical Advisor
Norwex Enviro Products Inc.
I could be accused of editing the above email out of context, I'd be more than willing to provide the complete text if asked.

To me the bottom line was that the studies could not be interpreted to show a significant benefit of the Norwex, because simple and direct comparisons were not made.... Furthermore, there is no background info on why I should care if the floor/counter is 90% or 98% or 99.99% clean...

Yours sincerely in stubborn ignorance,

Arkayik
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Old 25th March 2009, 09:43 PM   #12
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Arkayik was kind enough to forward me the supporting documents supplied by Norwex. I'll give a quick review of what they sent, along with some comments on how well these documents support their claims.

To background this, the overall Norwex claim is that you can stop using cleaning agents around the home, and will be able to sterilize all your surfaces with their specific brand of microfiber cloth alone.

Arkayik has forwarded me the following documents:

ACT Natural Micro-Fiber Cloth and Mop Microbiological Use Study - 1998
Feiringklinikken Clinic Hospital Study- March 2004
New Antibacterial Microfiber (ad copy piece)
Individual ACT Study
Two test certificates from Norwex Japan in 2003

Okay, let's take them one at a time:

ACT Natural Micro-Fiber Cloth and Mop Study

This is an executive summary of a study testing the ability of different cleaning methods to remove bacteria from smooth or textured surfaces. The bacteria used were E. coli and Staph aureus; Staph is a decent choice since it's a legitimate pathogen (and I checked; they did use a pathogenic strain). They do an interesting set of comparisons, running wet microfiber cloths up against using a cleaning agent on the surface and using normal cloth. They report that normal cloth + cleaner results in about 99% "effectiveness," and microfiber cloth + water results in about 99.9% "effectiveness."

So what do they mean by "effectiveness?" This summary did not explain, although I had my suspicions. The assay method was addressed in...

Individual ACT Study Results

This scanned PDF describes a lab test of cleaning bacteria from floor material or PVC plastic with wet versus dry microfiber cloth. Now, that's not the most exciting comparison, since it's all "microfiber versus microfiber," but it enlightens us about their assay method. The assay here, which I believe they probably used for the study summarized above, involved putting a mixture of dust and some amount of bacteria on the test surface, then applying the cleaning method, and then testing for colony forming units (cfu).

An aside -- When we need to test for low counts of bacteria, we often do the cfu test. To do this, you swab the sample area, then spread it on a petri plate, then wait some amount of time (a day, two days). After that growth period, you count the number of colonies, and that is your number of "colony forming units." It's a standard readout on how many bacteria are there.

Anyway, they dropped some bacteria mixed with dust on these two surfaces, then tested how many bacteria were left afterward.

THIS IS A TERRIBLE TEST.

Just to be clear. Let me explain why.

I mentioned in my earlier post that one of the big issues with bacteria is biofilms. Bacteria that are on surfaces are often in some stage of actually adhering to that surface. This is a vastly different situation from having bacteria mixed in with powder that has just been dropped onto a surface. (For an intuitive comparison, think of the difference between trying to de-mildew your bathroom versus wiping up some freshly spilled flour with a damp cloth. One of those is much easier than the other, right?)

This is in no way a legitimate test of actual household (or medical) cleaning and sterilization. Okay, let's move on to...


Norwex Japan test certificates

These show the results of another basically meaningless test. Liquid bacterial culture samples were dropped on a surface, and then wiped off with the microfiber cloth. Nonsurprisingly, the microfiber cloth was able to very effectively clean up liquid that was just placed on a surface. Moving on from there, we have...

Feiringklinikken Clinic Hospital Study - March 2004

This is another executive summary of a study that was supposedly carried out at a heart clinic in Norway. I checked up on this place, and it's a cardiac clinic that does various procedures, including heart surgery and installation of stents. I was immediately skeptical that a facility doing open-heart surgery would rely solely on microfiber cloth to keep its patients safe, but this document tries its hardest to imply that this was what they did.

However, reading the summary carefully, we arrive at a key quote:

"The use of microfiber cleaning products combined with only water was used to clean the cafeteria kitchen. The test data shows a good and satisfactory hygiene level that is just as good as traditional cleaning methods and products. The clinic has experienced that microfiber cleaning products are excellently suited for cleaning a cafeteria kitchen.

The use of microfiber cloths and mops in the operating room has a higher hygienical level. The results after cleaning is done are absolutely acceptable, even on the floor where there are very different conditions present in the operating room. In the operating room, conditions for ultra clean surgery (sterile) are met consistently and in every condition tested."

Which is to say that they only did the "microfiber + water" method in their kitchen. The second paragraph is a very dodgy, roundabout "semi-admission" that they used cleaning agents in their OR. Which, of course, they would have to unless they were insanely irresponsible.

To backstop this observation that the clinic did not make some radical move to stop taking appropriate care of its patients, as far as I can tell the only published reports in the medical literature that have come from the clinic concern cardiac care (stents, etc.).

Finally, let's look at the ad copy:

New Antibacterial Microfiber (ad copy piece)

This final document is basically ad copy lauding how their latest microfiber cloth contains imbedded silver particles for extra antibiotic goodness. This document opens with the classic "FDA approved" bit, which as forum readers may know, doesn't mean much for medical devices, since you don't have to show efficacy, just that it isn't going to hurt someone.

They indicate in this document that they're still using the cfu test; with nothing to show otherwise, I assume this means they're using some variant of the "drop stuff on a surface and wipe it off immediately" test.

As a random cap to my discussion of this document, they refer to demonstrating that SARS and Bird Flu are cleaned up via "bacterial testing." Interestingly, they appear to have only tested the ability of the silver particles to inactivate SARS in solution, and they cite no direct testing that it is killed in an actual silver-imbued microfiber cloth.

In summary

Overall, none of the cited materials say anything valid about the superiority of the Norwex microfiber cloth (or the earlier ACT cloth) over cleaning with an actual cleaner (e.g. bleach). The only testing that they cite was completely nonvalid for that purpose, and involved dropping a material on a surface and wiping it off. This is entirely unlike actual household or hospital conditions. Based on my review of the supplied documents provided by Norwex, it is my opinion as a biologist that their claims of being able to safely and effectively replace chemical cleaning agents with just water are unsupported.

Last edited by sanguine; 25th March 2009 at 10:18 PM. Reason: Added some helpful bolding
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Old 25th March 2009, 10:08 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by sanguine View Post
Arkayik was kind enough to forward me the supporting documents supplied by Norwex. I'll give a quick review of what they sent, along with some comments on how well these documents support their claims.
<snip>
Thank you! Nominated
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Old 25th March 2009, 10:47 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by sanguine View Post
In summary

Overall, none of the cited materials say anything valid about the superiority of the Norwex microfiber cloth (or the earlier ACT cloth) over cleaning with an actual cleaner (e.g. bleach). The only testing that they cite was completely nonvalid for that purpose, and involved dropping a material on a surface and wiping it off. This is entirely unlike actual household or hospital conditions. Based on my review of the supplied documents provided by Norwex, it is my opinion as a biologist that their claims of being able to safely and effectively replace chemical cleaning agents with just water are unsupported.
Thank you so much for the insight!

I am still willing to be swayed if proper test protocols result in support for their claims. However, I was pretty sure what I was given didn't get the pony out of the starting gates....

As a follow-up, is there a relevant translation for interpreting the difference between 90% and 99% pickup of bateria from a surface? Is pathogen presence a threshold issue or absolute (bad if there in any amount)?

Cheers,

Arkayik
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Old 26th March 2009, 12:12 AM   #15
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I have a couple of microfiber cloths that I use for some kinds of cleaning chores. They're nice for places where you don't want to use a lot of chemicals -- say, kitchen surfaces in the midst of food prep--and do a pretty seriously good job of taking food/drink out of car upholstery. As such , they were invaluable when the Next Generation was younger.

I don't regard them as a good answer to either the mildew problem or disinfecting, though. For that, we have our friend Mr Bleach.

I will say that they're nice for cleaning up a glass shower-stall wall when you don't want to use anything stinky in such an enclosed space...but I wouldn't be using them to clean a surgery any time soon.

Just my thoughts, YMMV, etc. -- MK
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Old 26th March 2009, 04:01 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Sanguine
This is an executive summary of a study testing the ability of different cleaning methods to remove bacteria from smooth or textured surfaces. The bacteria used were E. coli and Staph aureus; Staph is a decent choice since it's a legitimate pathogen (and I checked; they did use a pathogenic strain).
I'm sure Sanguine is well aware of this, but in case anyone misinterprets that paragraph, e-coli, though a normal resident of the human gut, can also be a pathogen, notably the 0157 strain referred to in the following linked item.
To declare an interest, the shop named was my own butcher for many years. I always found it excellent in both apparent cleanliness and quality of produce. A shop need not, it transpires, look in any way dirty for lethal contamination to occur.
At home, I use wooden chopping boards for purely aesthetic reasons. I clean both them and any knives used on them using bleach and boiling water. I aten't dead yet!
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/154107.stm

Last edited by Soapy Sam; 26th March 2009 at 04:02 AM.
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Old 26th March 2009, 07:29 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
I'm sure Sanguine is well aware of this, but in case anyone misinterprets that paragraph, e-coli, though a normal resident of the human gut, can also be a pathogen, notably the 0157 strain referred to in the following linked item.
Right. As it happens, their studies used a pathogenic form of Staph and a non-pathogenic form of coli. My intention was to point out that Staph, too, can be a pathogen, so it's a good pick (also, a good pick because it's one of the more common "Eek, I caught this from a dirty surface!" pathogens). Of course, then they used them for a completely pointless test, but that's a separate issue.

There are a number of pathogenic colis (fun fact -- Salmonella, Shigella, and coli are all nearly the same species, but earned different genus labels for historical reasons).
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Old 26th March 2009, 09:04 AM   #18
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So Microfiber + Silver Not Equal to a Magic Bullet?
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Old 26th March 2009, 10:27 AM   #19
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They are great for cleaning optics...
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Old 26th March 2009, 10:29 AM   #20
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Oh, and I buy my microfiber lens cloths SURPLUS from American Science & Surplus. Very cheap.

EDIT: http://www.sciplus.com/ - I have no connection with these guys other than being a customer for 35 years.
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Old 26th March 2009, 10:55 AM   #21
sanguine
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
They are great for cleaning optics...
They are awesome for cleaning optics. That is, in fact, all I use them for.

On the question of "how clean is clean enough?", in general it is a threshold effect rather than a "even one bug is bad." You'd really want to ask an experimentalist working in hospital infection control for an in-depth evaluation, but in normal life, you're awash in pathogens all the time, and the main issue is avoiding getting one big bolus of bad stuff at once, or in such a way that it sidesteps some of your defenses (e.g. by accidentally cutting yourself with a dirty knife, or ingesting some Salmonella-laden food).

To give you an impression of "how clean is clean enough," I point you at a recent paper concerning modeling of hand-washing in hospitals:

BMC Infect Dis. 2008 Sep 2;8:114.
Increasing the frequency of hand washing by healthcare workers does not lead to commensurate reductions in staphylococcal infection in a hospital ward.

Beggs CB, Shepherd SJ, Kerr KG.
School of Engineering, Design and Technology, University of Bradford, Bradford, BD7 1DP, UK.

PubMed ID: 18764942

The upshot of this modeling study? Most staph outbreaks can be prevented if people wash their hands after ~40% of patient contacts. Now, this is person-to-person rather than person-surface-person contacts, but it's instructive for cost-benefit analyses about the worth of going from 99% clean to 99.9% clean. In short, if you're a relatively normal, healthy person, there's no realistic added value of covering that final percent.

(Also, consider what this means about how often people actually wash their hands when they should.)
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Old 26th March 2009, 12:49 PM   #22
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My own feelings on the situation is that the source of most household germs are- your self! And if you live with someone, you are going to get their germs any how, regardless of hand washing or surface cleaning.

You are already exposed to the same old germs. Re-exposure will be harmless, or only act to maintain immunity. You can't catch any disease that you already have.

Tighter rules would apply to people with compromised immune systems so far as exposure to new germs. I'd still like a review of the latest salmonella scare, the one re: peanut butter. 8-10 people died, of millions exposed. That is a miniscule chance, even of the thousands of AIDS patients, transplant patients, and cancer sufferers, with their bad immune systems.

But I guess health care is one growth segment of our economy. And cleaning is just one portion of that. Maybe no benefit for our health, but possibly beneficial to our life style in other ways?
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Old 26th March 2009, 01:20 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
My own feelings on the situation is that the source of most household germs are- your self! And if you live with someone, you are going to get their germs any how, regardless of hand washing or surface cleaning.

You are already exposed to the same old germs. Re-exposure will be harmless, or only act to maintain immunity. You can't catch any disease that you already have.
In general, you are, indeed, safe in your own household, but it's not true that re-exposure to microbial pathogens is harmless -- you can actually reinfect yourself with certain viral infections, for example! Similarly, even though you have incidental contact all day, every day with fecal matter, you still want to wash your hands after using the restroom to avoid making the fecal-oral pathway an easy one in your household. Consider that your body is not a uniform mass, and organisms that are okay in one area (say, your digestive tract) can be bad elsewhere (your urinary tract, for example).

Around the kitchen, the concern is that many of your products come with some amount of pathogen by default. Again, if you clean surfaces with soap, you're good.

There's an overwrought market for household cleansers, and I and many of my peers in biology are not fond of everyone using soaps full of triclosan and other bacteriostatic agents, when good old normal soap would do. At the same time, people don't wash their damn hands often enough, and there are a lot of avoidable illnesses as a consequence.

If you live with other adults, you can actually avoid catching every single sickness they catch by adhering to good sanitary practices. If you have sick kids, you're screwed.
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Old 26th March 2009, 10:26 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by dejap View Post
Hope this helps to answer your questions!
Deja
Nope, didn't really do it...

Still here or MIA...?

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Old 27th March 2009, 01:22 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by dejap View Post
You underestimate me...not so easily intimidated.
<snip>
Apparently, we don't...and he/she/it is.
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Old 30th March 2009, 06:16 AM   #26
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not MIA, just not around for the last while.

For me the choice to use microfiber (and Norwex in particular) was due to the overwhelming evidence that their products are much better at cleaning, and much healthier for everyone in my house. For all the cleaning jobs in our home (except for molds, for which I use bleach to kill), I have switched from the toxic waste cleaners that I used to use and I now use microfiber......the benefits of this are obvious, not just for my families health and well being, but also, on a small scale, for the benefit of the environment, and even the health of others (not contributing to the production of super bugs).

I didn't do the same sort of critique of the Norwex studies as have been done here, (which were great...thanks for being so thorough) but I did do some "testing" of my own - just a simple, 'does this get my bathroom, kitchen, house as clean as Mr.Clean or Bleach?', and I tested the Norwex microfiber against some that were bought at Costco. My own personal experience has been that the Norwex cloths do a better job than Mr.Clean....and again, in my opinion, do a much better job than the Costco brand microfiber.

"The use of microfiber cleaning products combined with only water was used to clean the cafeteria kitchen. The test data shows a good and satisfactory hygiene level that is just as good as traditional cleaning methods and products. The clinic has experienced that microfiber cleaning products are excellently suited for cleaning a cafeteria kitchen." (Quoting from the Feiringklinikken Clinic Hospital Study - March 2004)

Would I be right in assuming that in a cafeteria kitchen they would be processing raw meat such as chicken and ground beef which would, presumably contain bacteria such as E.Coli and salmonella?

If the microfiber is good enough, with just water, to use in the cafeteria kitchen of a hospital, then I feel comfortable using it for my house and think it would provide enough 'clean' for schools and office buildings, and stores, etc. It would be a big improvement on the cleaners that are used at present anyway.
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Old 30th March 2009, 07:42 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by dejap View Post
not MIA, just not around for the last while.

For me the choice to use microfiber (and Norwex in particular) was due to the overwhelming evidence that their products are much better at cleaning, and much healthier for everyone in my house. For all the cleaning jobs in our home (except for molds, for which I use bleach to kill), I have switched from the toxic waste cleaners that I used to use and I now use microfiber......the benefits of this are obvious, not just for my families health and well being, but also, on a small scale, for the benefit of the environment, and even the health of others (not contributing to the production of super bugs).

I didn't do the same sort of critique of the Norwex studies as have been done here, (which were great...thanks for being so thorough) but I did do some "testing" of my own - just a simple, 'does this get my bathroom, kitchen, house as clean as Mr.Clean or Bleach?', and I tested the Norwex microfiber against some that were bought at Costco. My own personal experience has been that the Norwex cloths do a better job than Mr.Clean....and again, in my opinion, do a much better job than the Costco brand microfiber.

"The use of microfiber cleaning products combined with only water was used to clean the cafeteria kitchen. The test data shows a good and satisfactory hygiene level that is just as good as traditional cleaning methods and products. The clinic has experienced that microfiber cleaning products are excellently suited for cleaning a cafeteria kitchen." (Quoting from the Feiringklinikken Clinic Hospital Study - March 2004)

Would I be right in assuming that in a cafeteria kitchen they would be processing raw meat such as chicken and ground beef which would, presumably contain bacteria such as E.Coli and salmonella?

If the microfiber is good enough, with just water, to use in the cafeteria kitchen of a hospital, then I feel comfortable using it for my house and think it would provide enough 'clean' for schools and office buildings, and stores, etc. It would be a big improvement on the cleaners that are used at present anyway.
"toxic waste cleaners" A small bell just started ringing.
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Old 30th March 2009, 09:44 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
"toxic waste cleaners" A small bell just started ringing.
well what would YOU call it? It's toxic, and it's waste or have you not seen the skull and crossbones symbol on the labels of many of these products?
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Old 30th March 2009, 10:20 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by dejap View Post
well what would YOU call it? It's toxic, and it's waste or have you not seen the skull and crossbones symbol on the labels of many of these products?
Really? Consumer cleaning products toxic enough to warrant the skull and crossbones.


Any evidence for this?

I suspect that you may have it confused with the "harmful" symbol.
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Old 30th March 2009, 11:10 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by dejap View Post
For all the cleaning jobs in our home (except for molds, for which I use bleach to kill), I have switched from the toxic waste cleaners that I used to use and I now use microfiber......the benefits of this are obvious, not just for my families health and well being, but also, on a small scale, for the benefit of the environment, and even the health of others (not contributing to the production of super bugs).
As a lead-in, I'll reiterate my approval of no one ever using "antibacterial" soaps with bacteriostatic compounds such as triclosan. Although there hasn't yet been a clear upswing in resistance to things like triclosan, there's also no reason to risk it. That said, if you're using normal detergents and oxidizing cleaners (e.g. bleach), you won't generate super bugs, as there's no easy evolutionary path to developing resistance to these cleaners (sort of like how bacteria don't develop resistance to fire no matter how many times I sterilize metal tools with an open flame from a bunsen burner).

Originally Posted by dejap View Post
Would I be right in assuming that in a cafeteria kitchen they would be processing raw meat such as chicken and ground beef which would, presumably contain bacteria such as E.Coli and salmonella?
I honestly don't know. A hospital food services facility may use pre-processed materials that are cooked offsite and merely require rewarming. That's how (for example) my old school cafeterias used to operate back when I was a primary school student. They literally never had raw foods of any kind around on-site. Unfortunately, the Norwex overview provides very little detail.

As for the worth of the Norwex...well, their most recent flier lists the "Spring Cleaning Pack" which offers three microfiber cleaning items (a small cloth, a window cloth, and a mitt) for $44.99 (as a sale price). My friend who uses microfiber cloth for general household cleaning can buy 200 of them for $10 - and his are reusable as well. On a cost basis alone, I would require significantly better evidence than Norwex has provided to suggest that their product is worth paying 100x more per cloth over competing products.

As a general policy, cleaning surfaces to prevent the growth of microbes is a solid decision for household health, however you do it. However, certain surfaces need to be actually sterilized from time to time, and the most generally effective way to do so is via something like bleach. If you had a kitchen and bathroom that were structured appropriately, pressurized steam would be a good, water-based solution as well.

My opinion of Norwex stands, unless other evidence comes forward to suggest that (1) it's reasonable to clean with only water and (2) that their product is a hundred times better than competing similar products.
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Old 30th March 2009, 04:20 PM   #31
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The truth is that nothing, and I repeat nothing, is a good replacement for hard scrubbing with clean water and ordinary soap, and if you do that it scarcely matters what sort of cloth you use.
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Old 30th March 2009, 05:07 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by dejap View Post
... I didn't do the same sort of critique of the Norwex studies as have been done here, (which were great...thanks for being so thorough) but I did do some "testing" of my own - just a simple, 'does this get my bathroom, kitchen, house as clean as Mr.Clean or Bleach?', and I tested the Norwex microfiber against some that were bought at Costco. My own personal experience has been that the Norwex cloths do a better job than Mr.Clean....and again, in my opinion, do a much better job than the Costco brand microfiber. ...
How did you determine that the cloths are superior to "Mr. Clean" or bleach?
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Old 1st April 2009, 08:20 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by sanguine View Post
I honestly don't know. A hospital food services facility may use pre-processed materials that are cooked offsite and merely require rewarming.
The other major option would be vac-sealed and pre-cut meat, just slice open and tip straight into the pot - that's what we used to use in the canteen. Even if we were allowed to get fancy your work surface was normally a colour coded chopping board which went straight in the dishwasher when you were done and a wipe down with the sanitiser fluid.
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Old 23rd October 2009, 10:04 PM   #34
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Norwex Norway Heart Clinic Trial

Originally Posted by sanguine View Post
Arkayik was kind enough to forward me the supporting documents supplied by Norwex. I'll give a quick review of what they sent, along with some comments on how well these documents support their claims.
<snip>
Feiringklinikken Clinic Hospital Study - March 2004

This is another executive summary of a study that was supposedly carried out at a heart clinic in Norway. I checked up on this place, and it's a cardiac clinic that does various procedures, including heart surgery and installation of stents. I was immediately skeptical that a facility doing open-heart surgery would rely solely on microfiber cloth to keep its patients safe, but this document tries its hardest to imply that this was what they did.

However, reading the summary carefully, we arrive at a key quote:

"The use of microfiber cleaning products combined with only water was used to clean the cafeteria kitchen. The test data shows a good and satisfactory hygiene level that is just as good as traditional cleaning methods and products. The clinic has experienced that microfiber cleaning products are excellently suited for cleaning a cafeteria kitchen.

The use of microfiber cloths and mops in the operating room has a higher hygienical level. The results after cleaning is done are absolutely acceptable, even on the floor where there are very different conditions present in the operating room. In the operating room, conditions for ultra clean surgery (sterile) are met consistently and in every condition tested."

Which is to say that they only did the "microfiber + water" method in their kitchen. The second paragraph is a very dodgy, roundabout "semi-admission" that they used cleaning agents in their OR. Which, of course, they would have to unless they were insanely irresponsible.
<snip>
Overall, none of the cited materials say anything valid about the superiority of the Norwex microfiber cloth (or the earlier ACT cloth) over cleaning with an actual cleaner (e.g. bleach). The only testing that they cite was completely nonvalid for that purpose, and involved dropping a material on a surface and wiping it off. This is entirely unlike actual household or hospital conditions. Based on my review of the supplied documents provided by Norwex, it is my opinion as a biologist that their claims of being able to safely and effectively replace chemical cleaning agents with just water are unsupported.
O-kay. Here goes with my first topic post - be patient! So I have a couple of questions about this. Let me first state that I'm not a Norwex agent or salesperson; I'm just a consumer, the slightly neurotic, Consumer-Reports reading kind. Secondly, my background is in social sciences and so I don't feel I have the biological knowledge to evaluate some of these claims (which is why, of course, it's so helpful to have forum members with this expertise!) With those disclaimers out of the way...

I have found what seems to be a longer paper of the Norway heart clinic trial at www <dot> norwexonline <dot> com. In it, it states that "It was emphasized that the goal of the project was not to benchmark each individual employee, but rather to determine the long-term effect of using microfiber combined with water as the single method of cleaning and sanitation at the hospital." It also includes a number of charts listing the products and cleaning routines used, etc.

As I said above, I just don't have the background to evaluate this. What I'm wondering is, given the information (that appears to be additional to the executive summary sanguine was working with), does this represent greater support to the claim of being able to clean nonchemically using only water?

(As one final disclaimer, I realize that even if the abovementioned claim is correct, there may still be other valid objections to these products - the cost and marketing strategies being two of them!)

Thanks for any comments on this.
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Old 23rd October 2009, 10:26 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Indeed. Any bets on whether or not dejap will bother posting in any other threads?
Is it too late to place a sizable wager on "No"?
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Old 25th October 2009, 02:37 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by bokonon View Post
Is it too late to place a sizable wager on "No"?
Take a look at the date of thread and number of posts of his...
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Old 17th June 2010, 06:40 AM   #37
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I know I am coming to this post a bit late, but I just found it since I was researching Norwex products. In regards to the Deja threads, if you google Norwex, the first online store site that is returned is "Deja's Norwex". If you're going to hype a product on a forum like this, that's fine, but I think we would all prefer if you would add a disclaimer that you profit from the product.
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Old 30th August 2010, 05:56 AM   #38
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Not sure if anyone will respond to this as there has been quite a discussion so far. I am new to all of this so hopefully I can articulate my thoughts. My problem is that I agree that Norwex does sound too good to be true. Like others, I love how they work, but how would I ever know if they are sanitizing what I clean. Because I would love to tell everyone to use them (if they work as advertised), I made it my mission to find out how I could test them. I have a friend that works in a lab for a group of hospitals and clinics. She said there was no way on earth they worked and that she would test them for me. Naturally, I was thrilled. She got herself the "starter set'. At that EXACT time, her company came to the lab workers and said that the doctors were hearing that some people were "self testing" for strep, etc. and that a new policy was being instituted banning ANY personal testing (something that is apparently pretty fun for lab geeks!). Naturally, I did not want her getting fired. On her own, she decided to risk it on a Saturday that she was scheduled by herself. She did not clean her toilet for over a week, swabbed it, used the Norwex "starter cloth" to clean it, and swabbed it again (she did this a few days before her shift so that she could get something to grow). On Saturday, she took in her dishes and the cloth. Wouldn't you know, her boss was there!! He came in to get some work done before a vacation he was taking. She was forced to throw the dishes away, but for some reason was able to take a look at the cloth. To her surprise she said she could not find anything on the cloth.....even cut off a corner. This forum was really zero PRACTICAL help. It really was a company website (naturally I am skeptical of them) against what appears to me to be some people that absolutely do not agree this could work (pretty skeptical of them, as well). Here is my question: Why can't someone that works in a lab just do a PRACTICAL test? Throw some chicken on the counter, wait until something unfavorable grows, test the area, clean it, test the area again and test the cloth? We have a local program here called "Does it work?" and I am thinking of asking them to give it a go. Is there anyone out there that could simply test them?

As a side note, when researching I did find patents for antibacterial cloths and simply could not keep up with the information (too much AG the cloth changed color too little it did not work, etc). There is also a company in Green Bay Wisconsin that makes cloths with AEGIS (aegismicrobesheild.com) and they make similar claims not Norwex, but my friends that have used them say that although they are WAY cheaper then Norwex they fall apart fairly quickly. While it still may be a scam, sure does seem like the idea is spreading....
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Old 30th August 2010, 08:51 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by mamaX6 View Post
Not sure if anyone will respond to this
I will: is that you, dejap?

And if it's not, will you stick around longer than (s)he did?

Quote:
as there has been quite a discussion so far.
No there hasn't. There's hardly been any discussion at all. Is this post perhaps a spam intended for posting on multiple forums?
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Old 30th August 2010, 11:02 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by swienke View Post
I know I am coming to this post a bit late, but I just found it since I was researching Norwex products. In regards to the Deja threads, if you google Norwex, the first online store site that is returned is "Deja's Norwex".
Red flag. My google search echoes what you found. I actually wouldn't care if it was called Christ's Norwex, dejap's testimonial "evidence" and fallacies scream marketing. Let me elucidate:

Originally Posted by dejap View Post
For me the choice to use microfiber (and Norwex in particular) was due to the overwhelming evidence that their products are much better at cleaning, and much healthier for everyone in my house.
First, list the evidence, and then call it overwhelming. Second, why Norwex in particular? Where is the overwhelming evidence for Norwex being the choice that we can't refuse?

Originally Posted by dejap View Post
For all the cleaning jobs in our home [...], I have switched from the toxic waste cleaners that I used to use and I now use microfiber
dejap, around here we call "toxic waste cleaners" a clear "appeal to fear fallacy", or perhaps "guilt by association" ... useless banter

Originally Posted by dejap View Post
......the benefits of this are obvious, not just for my families health and well being, but also, on a small scale, for the benefit of the environment, and even the health of others (not contributing to the production of super bugs).
"the benefits are obvious" = weasel word

It's obvious that I should wash my hands before I eat, but why do I have to use microfiber ("especially Norwex")? Again, evidence needed.

Originally Posted by dejap View Post
I did do some "testing" of my own [...] My own personal experience has been that the Norwex cloths do a better job than Mr.Clean....and again, in my opinion, do a much better job than the Costco brand microfiber.
Anecdotal evidence, right? That and you seemed to have compared Norwex to Mr.Clean (but no mention of what cloth you used with Mr.Clean), and also tested Costco microfiber on the side? How do you know that it produced better results? Even if you had the instruments to measure this, you applied no control (regular cloth w/ mild soap vs. microfiber cloth w/ mild soap vs. microfiber w/ water only vs. microfiber w/ a stronger cleaning agent). Then you would have to have done this at least on the order of 100 times for it to be considered nearly good enough to be valid.

Originally Posted by dejap View Post
(Quoting from the Feiringklinikken Clinic Hospital Study - March 2004)
Is this what you called overwhelming?

Originally Posted by dejap View Post
It would be a big improvement on the cleaners that are used at present anyway.
A big improvement was the polio vaccine from no polio vaccine. I can hardly begin to see any significant improvement, let alone any big improvement.

I'm enjoying this, as clearly you are completely biased towards your product and don't care about the lack of research supporting your position. I'll be interested to see if you can demonstrate any overwhelming evidence for your product, dejap, otherwise I'll stick to bleach, water and any old cloth I find around the house.
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