Smelly Norwex Cloths? Deep Clean Them!

I LOVE my Norwex microfiber cloths – all of them; the Enviro Cloths, Face Cloths and Kitchen Cloths.  I use them to clean everything in my house, including myself.

For the first few months after getting them, I thought that “sour cloth syndrome” was a thing of the past – my Norwex cloths never smelled bad – I was a happy cleaner!  Within about 4 months, however, my beloved Norwex cloths began to smell sour, just like my cotton cloths – GROSS.

Stinky smelly Norwex Microfiber Cloths

I tried boiling them – still smelled; soaking them in vinegar – still smelled; washing them in really hot water…. all as recommended, but but the cloths were still stinky.  Then I remembered a bit of advice another Norwex consultant had given me about deep cleaning the cloths when they’ve been used for REALLY dirty or greasy jobs – give them a deep clean using the Norwex Laundry Detergent.

So, I soaked them in my kitchen sink with a few scoops of the Norwex Detergent, rinsed them with warm running water, and then hung them to dry.  The smell?  GONE!

smelly norwex cloths

I was a little horrified at the color of the water in the sink after the cloths had soaked – brown; even after boiling them and laundering them before hand… these were supposedly clean cloths.  I guess it’s an example of how amazing these little cloths are at picking up and holding dirt.

So if you have Norwex cloths that smell awful, don’t despair!  Here’s how to get them smelling like new again:


(For stain removal, degreasing, and smelly microfiber cloths)

Norwex HE Laundry DetergentFill sink or bucket with hot water, and disolve the Norwex Laundry Detergent in the water.  I use 1 scoop of detergent (2Tbsp) for every 6-7 cups of water.  Yes, this is WAY more than what you use for a normal load of laundry, but necessary to really deep clean your cloths.  You will need to make sure that your cloths have room to move in the water and are completely submerged in the water, so be sure to use enough water and adjust your Laundry Detergent accordingly.

Add the cloths, and soak for at least 30 minutes.  I also agitate them a little to get the soap and water moving through the fibers.

Rinse each cloth thoroughly, wring the water out, and then hang to dry (or launder them in your washing machine if you feel the need to).

Your cloths should smell clean and odor free!

… and if you like instructions in pictures, here you go!

stinky norwex cloths


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  1. Jackie says

    Thank you so much for this added tip! Norwex cloths are absolutely amazing…but over time they just need that little “pick me up” to go again. They’re like NEW all over again!

  2. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this info – I shall try this! I’ve been doing some SERIOUS cleaning with my ONE Enviro cloth all over the house – I think it needs a deep clean b/c I was so bummed when it started to smell like other cloths do.

  3. says

    Thank you thank you thank you! I had stopped using my cloths because I couldn’t get the smell out; just tried this and they smell clean and fresh again!

  4. Lori says

    Really? I have to buy another Norwex product to clean my other Norwex product? So are you telling me that nothing else on earth will clean them?

    • Deja says

      Hi Lori, No, I don’t think you necessarily have to use the Norwex Laundry Detergent to deep clean your Norwex cloths, but I would think that you would have to use another brand of detergent that is natural, concentrated and free of fillers, optical brighteners, fragrance, and colorants. I don’t think the store brands, like Tide or Sunlight would do trick. If you do an internet search for “great natural laundry detergent”, you will get a long list of ones you could try, and all kinds of user reviews on them. If you try another brand and love it, come back and let me know… even though I sell Norwex, I’m always on the hunt for great, green products!

      • chelsie says

        I used my own homemade laundry detergent to deep clean them when they were starting to smell. Seemed to work just as well.

  5. Linda says

    Would it work to nuke the damp cloth in the microwave? I tried boiling them but I am concerned ed about the pretty salmon color fading.

    • says

      Hi Linda ~ Since there’s silver woven throughout the cloth, we advise NOT putting them in the microwave… you know, sparks flying and starting the cloth on fire… that sort of thing! Good idea though :)

      • Linda says

        LOL. I did actually try it and nothing ignited! Hopefully I didn’t damage the antibac properties of the cloth… What do you think?

        • says

          Haha! Glad to hear there was no fire :) I don’t think you damaged the antibacterial properties of the cloth – silver is silver, and can’t be ruined by heat.

  6. Lenore Lodge says

    I purchased the Crystal Deodorant Natural Protection. How do you use it? Since it’s dry, do you have to add water?

    • says

      Yes, you do need to wet the Crystal Deodorant before each use – you really can’t use it dry. Once you’ve wet the crystal, simply apply it in the same way you would any other deodorant. One extra bit of info; try not to get the base of the crystal deodorant wet repeatedly as it can cause the deodorant to break off it’s base. Also it’s very helpful to rinse the deodorant off after each use, and allow it to air dry… unless I’m traveling with it, I generally don’t put the lid on it in between uses.

  7. Deb Garber says

    How do I pick up the dirt after using my dry mop? Do I need to use my old broom and dust pan? I know it sounds silly but I really don’t know.

    • says

      Deb, that isn’t a silly question at all! Yes, you can use your old broom and dust pan to collect the dirt – I often do. If you have a Norwex microfiber cleaning cloth, you can also use that, damp, to scoop up the dirt and dust from your floor. And some people use their vacuum, and then clean the dust bunnies from the mop pad with their vacuum as well!

  8. Betty Miles says

    I just bought my norwex dish cloths and they started smelling a few days after I started using them to wash dishes/counters, etc. I seriously doubt they need a deep clean…any suggestions??

    • says

      Hi Betty, The Norwex microfiber dish cloths are actually not meant for use with soapy water. If you’re using them to wash dishes, the microfibers in the cloth are going to be coated in soap, which inhibits the work of the silver in the fibers to self sanitize. This would definitely cause your cloth to get stinky. With my Norwex dish cloths, I use them for general kitchen wiping (counters, cupboards, front of appliances, table, etc.), and I only get them wet under warm running water… I don’t recommend dipping them in soapy dish water. Once I’ve used the cloth (especially for really greasy, messy jobs), I use a little dish soap to hand wash it, and then rinse it REALLY well under warm running water – you want to get all the soap out. This method keeps the cloths cleaner longer. For dishes, the best Norwex product is the Netted Dish Cloth… it’s made for washing and scrubbing dishes, and doesn’t get stinky.

  9. Dee says

    Norwex detergent my butt! You know why it works? Because it has phosphates in it! That has got to be the LEAST environmentally friendly thing you can wash with! I never would have bought Norwex myself, the clothes were given to me by my mother-in-law. And they get stinky!!!! But you know what works like a charm to unstink them? The tablets that you get for cleaning front loading washers to get the scummy/funky smell out of them (never getting a front loader again- came with the house. Getting an HE Toploader when it dies). The tablets are made by Tide, or Affresh, and you know what they contain? Borax. Plus sodium carbonate, (which is one step more basic than baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, and both break down to salt and carbon dioxide, which is much less harmful than phosphates!). I have used straight Borax, but the washer-cleaning tablets work better- just add 1/2 a brick to your regular load with regular soap. Voila! Clean washer and clean clothes, saved a load of water too!

    • says

      Dee thanks for you honest comment! Unfortunately, you’re wrong about the phosphates… I’m happy to report that the Norwex laundry detergent does NOT contain any phosphates!

      I’ll have to try the Affresh or the other washing machine cleaning tablets… I’m definitely interested in seeing how well they work. Thanks for the tip!

  10. Lisa says

    I’m having a terrible time with keeping my kitchen cloths stink free. I do the deep soak and they smell great, but after 3-4 days in the kitchen, gross again. I hang them away from the kitchen sink on a separate towel bar so I don’t get them in the soapy water. I only use hot water and wipe counters and appliances with them. I’m so disappointed! I really thought they were the answer to the stinky cloth/stinky counter problem. The gal that sold them to me says she had the same cloth in her kitchen for 2-3 weeks. I just don’t understand what I’m doing wrong… I like the way they clean, so I keep trying.

    • says

      The Norwex kitchen cloths do not last more than 3-4 days without becoming smelly… they most definitely do not last 2-3 weeks, unless you are consistently hand washing them with dish soap every night and rinsing really well before hanging them to dry. Your kitchen is full of grease, tiny particles of food, and general dirt & bacteria. The self sanitizing silver in the cloth can only handle so much bacteria before it becomes overloaded and your cloth starts to stink. The Norwex kitchen cloths need to be laundered at least once a week. For really detailed instructions on laundering and caring for your Norwex microfiber, read my How To Wash Norwex Microfiber blog post.

  11. Terisa Sloan says

    I made a mistake and left my Norwex cloths wet in a plastic bag for a week! Now they have red spots on them – I assume it’s mold. How can I get them out?! Will the cloths always be stained?

    • says

      Terisa, You Norwex cloths are definitely not ruined. The mold can be removed and killed by washing them thoroughly with hot water and soap, and then I would also recommend boiling them… yes, this is one case where I would recommend boiling just to make sure all the mold spores are dead and gone. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if the red color stain will remain even after the mold is killed – I hope it doesn’t, but you put your minds at ease, your Norwex cloths will still be just as effective at cleaning as it was before the mold incident!

  12. Anne Miklya says

    Hi there, how many times can I use my dusting mit before I have to use the brush to go against it to get the dust off? I know that sounds dumb, but I wasn’t sure each time? One other question a friend of mine said her enviro cloth got a hole in it. Can that happen is there a life time guarantee? Or does she just need to get a new one. She said she used it a ton.

    • says

      Anne, I usually just hit my dusting mitt against my deck railing to get the dust out of it, and then about once a month (or less), I launder it. I typically don’t use the rubber brush on my dusting mitt, but that’s a great idea! With regards to the Enviro Cloth with a hole it in; the Norwex microfiber has a 2 year warranty, not lifetime, so if you’re friend has had it for less than 2 years, she can have it replaced.

        • says

          Amanda, to have your Norwex cloth replaced you will have to contact the Norwex consultant you purchased your cloth from. If your cloth is less than 2 years old, she/he will be able to get you a new cloth!

  13. Pam Clemens says

    I have black mold that grows daily in my bathroom window. Can I wipe the window down with my enviro cloth and window cloth or will the mold damage the cloth?

    • says

      Hi Pam, using your Norwex enviro cloth to clean the mildew from your window will not damage your cloth, UNLESS you don’t wash your cloth afterwards. If you leave your cloth in a damp heap somewhere on your bathroom floor, the mildew may grow in your cloth, however if you hand wash it with a little dish soap, rinse and wring it well, and hang it to dry, you won’t have any problems.

  14. Linda says

    I have used the deep clean method to clean my dish cloths, but they fade terribly in the Norwex Laundry Detergent. Regular hot water doesn’t cause them to “bleed” their color, but the Norwex Detergent always causes this. My dish cloths are now lighter in color than their matching dish towels! I have the latte and red ones.

    Any suggestions or comments why this is happening and what I can do about it? Thanks for your imput!

    • says

      Hmmm… Linda I’m not sure what to tell you about your fading cloths. I’ve never really paid attention to the color of my dish cloths, just the smell! Unfortunately, I don’t have any advice regarding your fading cloths.

  15. Chelsie says

    Shouldn’t they not get smelly in the first place with the embedded silver? I thought that was the point. No bacterial growth should mean no smell.

    • says

      Chelsie, the silver can only handle so much bacteria before being overloaded. If there is more bacteria than the silver can effectively “handle”, then they take over. This is especially true if the cloth isn’t given any time to dry between uses. If you read through my “Washing Norwex Microfiber” post, you’ll get a better explanation!

    • says

      Your netted dishcloth is not made of microfiber, so you can use bleach to wash it, if you really can’t get the smell out of it (but don’t tell anyone that I suggested bleach!). I would recommend though, that you wash it in really hot water (boil it even), to get the smell out.

  16. amber says

    Hi, I’m new to Norwex and I’m trying to find information that actually proves and shows that the surface I wipe with my enviro cloth is actually clean. I’m just new to not spraying a disinfectant on my counter after getting raw meat, or eggs on my counter. I want to be sure I’m not putting my family in danger. I love my cloth so far, but I have this little twinge of worry that I’m not killing the bacteria. I understand the silver and microfiber, but have you seen any reports that could help me understand a little more? Thank you so much!

  17. Phil says

    The only Norwex party I attended gave the boil method. At the last State Fair, I was told that it is no longer recommended. Would you address this & if useful at certain times clarify when? Thank you.

    • says

      Phil, Norwex still recommends using the boil method for cleaning, as it helps expand the fibers and releases anything still inside. I have found that the deep cleaning method is MUCH more effective at getting a smelly or stained cloth clean compared to the boil method. The boil method is useful when you don’t have much time and want to do a quick clean. It’s easy to boil it for ten minutes while you’re tidying up the kitchen!

    • says

      Suzie, bi-carb (baking soda) will not harm your kitchen scrub cloth, so it’s fine if it’s laundered with it. Deep cleaning with it is fine too, although I don’t know how effective it will be, as I’ve never tried it or heard of others trying it. There is also the boiling method (boil in water for 10 minutes on the stove) and soaking in vinegar and hot water, either overnight or in the washing machine (not as effective as deep cleaning though). Hope this info helps!

  18. Bev Edworthy says

    hi, I have found your site very informative. Thank You. My question is: when you refer to NOT leaving the kitchen cloth in soapy water, as the soap will/can coat the silver, do you also mean Norwex Dish Detergent? I thought Norwex Dish detergent had no fillers/ etc . I use the Norwex dish detergent, but have to admit over time my cloths do smell !!!!! I was pretty bummed about that!!!! I have since done the deep clean and all is good in my Norwex world again, would still like to hear if I can put my kitchen cloth in the sink with Norwex dish soap?????
    Thanks again”………………..Bev E

    • says

      Hi Bev,

      Any soap, whether it is Norwex Dish Detergent or not, is going to coat the fibers of your cloth, over time, causing a very bad smell. Even without soap, microfiber does need deep cleaning every once in a while. Norwex kitchen cloths are not meant to be used for washing dishes in soapy water (while laundering in soap is doable, since they are rinsed so well and soap doesn’t linger as much). They are meant for wiping down kitchen surfaces and countertops with JUST water. However, the Norwex Dish Cloth (a netted type cloth) IS meant for dishwashing, and while it can eventually get smelly from bacteria build up, it takes MUCH longer than the average cotton or microfiber cloth and does not require much maintenance. Norwex Spirisponges and Spirinetts are also great alternatives to dish washing. Since those products aren’t great at wiping down counters and surfaces, they’re great partners for your Kitchen cloths!

    • says

      If you’re going to boil your Norwex cloths, only do it when you REALLY need to… I find it a little hard on them – the texture of the fibers changes somewhat. I have definitely found though, that just boiling the cloths is not NEARLY as effective as deep cleaning them using the method above.

  19. Jalon McFadden says

    Thanks so much, I’m so glad I found this website, I love my norwex cloths and now I know how to better care for them!!!

  20. Deb Smalley says

    I make my own laundry detergent with washing soda, borax and Ivory bar soap. Will this harm my Norwex cloths? Thanks

    • says

      Deb, as long as there’s not bleach in it, you will be fine to use your homemade laundry detergent with your Norwex cloths!


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