Microfiber blankets and throws are a fairly recent addition to the many bedding and décor fabrics used in modern homes. They not only add affordable quality to the ambiance of living spaces but also provide much-needed warmth and soft stylish comfort with exciting textures that make a home more homely.
Microfiber fabrics come in different grades with each being purpose-driven. From kitchen cleaning cloths to sheets, pillowcases, blankets, throws, and even clothing, microfiber has truly become part of everyday life across the world.
What exactly is microfiber in the context of home fabrics?
We will look at microfiber from different perspectives, outlining the pros and cons of microfiber in the home so you can form your own opinion on this widely accepted and used home fabric.
This sought-after fabric has its roots in polyester and as a synthetic or manmade fabric, how well does it fare in our daily lives? Let’s find out.
What is Microfiber and why its a great fabric for blankets?
In a nutshell, microfiber is polyester but in a much finer form hence the “micro” in microfiber.
Although microfiber is made in a similar way to polyester with both being synthetic fabrics the thickness of their respective fibers is what primarily sets them apart.
Interestingly, the thickness of the fibers changes the dynamics or characteristics of the fabric.
Fibers used to create microfiber fabrics must be finer than one denier which is thinner than a strand of silk and these ultra-fine fibers make the fabric more breathable than conventional polyester.
The thinner fibers also enhance the softness of microfiber fabric. While microfiber is predominantly an extension of polyester there are microfiber blends that include nylon and result in changed fabric characteristics.
Because of the different characteristics of the two fabrics microfiber cannot be called polyester and vice versa.
Uses: Both fabrics have specific uses as well as general uses that overlap.
The characteristics of microfiber are created during production and each fabric type is designed around specific characteristics.
Moisture-repelling and moisture absorption are often cited as benefits but in reality, it is just the degree that varies and this depends on the manufacturing process and type of weave selected. Keep reading to see the different weaves
Different Microfiber weaves make a difference when choosing a microfiber blanket
This simply means that each fiber is split increasing the surface area which increases softness and the moisture absorption ability.
Split weave microfiber is common in cleaning fabrics as the splitting process creates thousands of tiny loops which pick up dirt particles without being abrasive.
Microfiber Blanket Flat-weave.
With a flat weave, the absorption rate of the microfiber fabric is reduced by half when compared to the split weave fabric. It will be soft but the fibers will not cling to your skin like they do with a split weave which is what makes it such a good cleaning fabric.
Purchasing a microfiber blanket or throw is a personal choice and there is no right or wrong standard that should be adhered to.
Some people prefer natural fiber blankets mostly because they look beyond simple aesthetics, softness, and warmth value in an attempt to find a lasting solution to improving their sleep environment against the scourge of allergies.
For example, many people get cold when they sleep and the added warmth that microfiber blankets provide will put them into that comfortable sleep temperature.
Some may overheat at night and will have to find the right microfiber blanket or throw that will maintain their specific sleep temperature.
Are Microfiber blankets Hypoallergenic?
Claims of microfiber being hypoallergenic are subject to specific use like regular washing and not allowing pets on your bed to mention just two causes of allergies. Being hypoallergenic is the ability to reduce allergies and not completely prevent them.
In essence, microfiber bedding is considered hypoallergenic in the same way natural fabrics like wool and cotton are.
Yes, microfiber fabric has water-wicking characteristics which are more of a fast absorption and evaporation process than it is a process of drawing moisture away from your skin and pushing it to the surface or repelling moisture in the way that wool does.
Although these and other characteristics bode well with being hypoallergenic there is a dark side to microfiber that demands more scrutiny.
What dampens the hypoallergenic claim related to microfiber is that although breathable, almost on the same level as cotton, it absorbs moisture including oils from our skin which attract dirt that clogs up the pores between the fibers.
In conjunction with heat generation, the clogging of pores creates an environment for bacteria to thrive which in turn promotes allergic reactions.
Regularly washing microfiber blankets and throws without using fabric softeners will prevent pores from clogging up and thus limit the build-up of allergens. In this way, by maintaining clean blankets you will be contributing to an allergen-free sleep environment.
So, through care, you will be able to regulate the hypoallergenic characteristic of your microfiber bedding.
Types of microfiber blankets.
Microfiber blankets and throws vary in softness and warmth or comfort level. The type of fibre used will create a unique look but there are other processes during manufacturing that gives a distinctive texture and feel to microfiber blankets.
Microfiber fleece blankets.
Microfiber fleece or polar fleece was created as a lightweight alternative to wool but there are many different manufactures of synthetic microfiber fleece and the most important thing to look out for is if the fleece is resistant to pilling.
Lower-quality fleece is prone to shedding or pilling so be sure of the quality. Another aspect of fleece is the weight and thickness to a lesser degree.
The heavier a fleece blanket is the warmer it’s going to be and in warmer countries, they will only be used for the few cold winter months of the year.
Microfiber plush blankets.
Plush blankets tend to have a long soft nap which is long soft directional fibers that are cut or looped to the same length.
A plush blanket can be seen as an exaugurated version of a polar fleece blanket. It is super soft, cozy, and warm. The brushing and shearing process to round off a plush blanket ensures that pilling will not happen or in most cases is greatly diminished.
The raised nature of plush blankets creates a fiber-rich air cushion between you and the base of the blanket which helps to circulate air and regulate body heat in the process. This mimics the natural temperature regulating characteristic of wool which retains warmth but prevents overheating.
FAQ about Microfiber Blankets
Are microfiber blankets safe?
Generally speaking, microfiber should be considered safe because it had to go through ethical health screening processes to be approved for use.
However, there have been concerns raised about microfiber being a petroleum-based synthetic product that is said to cause respiratory and other issues like skin-related allergies.
There may be some truth caused by pilling from cheaply made microfiber blankets that may cause respiratory irritation when the very fine broken-up fibers are inhaled.
Furthermore, the chemical makeup of microfiber is said to contain toxic chemicals that can lead to health issues. Whether this claim is genuine or if it is part of the currently green narrative needs to be properly investigated.
Millions, perhaps even billions of people worldwide use or wear microfiber daily without any serious health issues.
Looking at these “not safe” claims the same people may want to look at the quality of tap water, air pollution, rules of the road, sport-related injuries, or even the dangers that stem from the screens of digital devices.
If you or a member of your family develops any health issue discuss your home environment including the use of microfiber with your doctor as a means to rule out the possible cause.
Can microfiber blankets or throws be used for infants?
It is not advisable to use microfiber blankets or throws to warm your baby because the temperature regulating characteristic of microfiber may lead to overheating.
Babies cannot regulate their body temperature as well as older children or adults and it’s best to stick to lightweight breathable cotton baby blankets until your child is at least a few years old.
How often should microfiber blankets be washed?
As a rule, bedding should be changed at least once a week and this will include your microfiber blankets or throws.
Washing once a week will prevent the build-up of oils and grime that will clog the pores of the fabric. Besides, the more you wash microfiber, the softer it becomes bur please avoid using fabric softeners as they contribute to clogging.
Is Microfiber better than fleece?
It depends on the specific use or application. Both Microfiber and fleece have their unique advantages and disadvantages.
Microfiber is a synthetic material made from very fine fibers, making it lightweight yet durable.
It is water-resistant and dries quickly, making it ideal for outdoor activities or athletic wear. Microfiber is also machine-washable and easy to care for, making it a popular choice for household items like blankets and towels.
Fleece, on the other hand, is made from a type of polyester and is known for its insulating properties. It is warm, soft, and lightweight, making it an excellent option for winter clothing and outdoor gear.
Fleece is also highly breathable, which helps regulate body temperature, making it a popular choice for activewear.
The choice between Microfiber and fleece comes down to personal preference and intended use. Microfiber may be better for everyday household items, while fleece is better for outdoor activities and winter clothing.
What is microfiber fleece made of?
Microfiber fleece is made of synthetic fibers, typically polyester, which are very fine and thin, much finer than a human hair.
The fibers are twisted together to form a dense, soft fabric that has a plush feel and is lightweight and warm.
The microfiber construction of the fabric makes it very durable and quick-drying, making it a popular choice for clothing and home textiles like blankets, throws, and bed linens.
Is microfiber fleece safe?
Microfiber fleece is considered safe for use in most applications. However, some concerns have been raised about the presence of microfibers in the environment, as they can be released from clothing during washing and end up in water bodies.
Additionally, like many other fibers like wool and cotton, some people may be allergic to polyester, the primary material used in microfiber fleece.
It's always a good idea to check the product information and wash instructions before purchasing and using any fleece.
Additionally, if you have any concerns about allergies or environmental impact, choosing a fleece made from natural materials such as wool or cotton may be a good idea.
Does Microfiber shrink?
Yes, Microfiber can shrink if not washed or dried properly. It is recommended to wash it in cold water and air-dry it to prevent shrinkage. Always check the care instructions on the label before washing and drying the microfiber item.
Does Microfiber attract dust mites?
Microfiber does not naturally attract dust mites but can still harbor dust mites if not adequately cleaned.
Dust mites feed on organic matter, such as dead skin cells, and can thrive in bedding and other soft surfaces.
Regular washing and properly storing microfiber bedding can help reduce the risk of dust mite infestations.
Why does Microfiber make me itch?
In rare cases, Microfiber can make some people itch due to the synthetic materials it is made of, such as polyester or nylon.
These materials may cause skin irritation, especially for sensitive skin or someone who has allergies.
Additionally, Microfiber may not breathe as well as natural fibers like cotton, which can increase the likelihood of skin irritation.
Whether Microfiber is better in summer or winter depends on personal preferences and needs. Microfiber is a synthetic material that is lightweight and breathable, making it ideal for use in hot and humid conditions.
However, it may provide less warmth than natural fibers like wool or cashmere in cold weather, which makes it better suited for use in the summer.
Ultimately, the best choice between Microfiber and other materials will depend on personal preferences and needs, including the climate in which you live, your preferred level of warmth, and the amount of care and maintenance you are willing to invest.
What are the pros and cons of Microfiber?
Pros of Microfiber:
Durability: Microfiber is highly durable and can withstand repeated washing and use.
Absorption: Microfiber is highly absorbent, making it great for cleaning and drying surfaces.
Softness: Microfiber is soft and comfortable, making it ideal for clothing and bedding.
Lightweight: Microfiber is much lighter than other synthetic materials, making it easy to carry and transport.
Low Maintenance: Microfiber is easy to care for and dries quickly, making it a low-maintenance option for everyday use.
Cons of Microfiber:
Environmental Impact: Microfiber is a synthetic material that is not biodegradable. However, it can be made from recycled material, making it a good environmental impact option.
Allergic Reactions: Some people may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions to Microfiber.
Chemical Treatment: Depending on the manufacturer, Microfiber often requires chemical treatment during the manufacturing process, which can lead to the release of harmful chemicals into the environment.
Pilling: Microfiber can develop pills over time, making the fabric look worn and unattractive.
Limited Breathability: Microfiber is less breathable than other natural fibers, making it less suitable for warm weather.
Is microfiber fleece soft?
Yes, microfiber fleece can be very soft to the touch and provide a warm and cozy feel. However, the softness of microfiber fleece can vary depending on the quality of the product and the specific type of Microfiber used in its construction.
Some microfiber materials may feel coarser or rougher than others, while others are made to be exceptionally soft and comfortable.
It's essential to consider the specific qualities of the microfiber fleece product you are interested in to determine whether it will be soft enough to meet your needs and preferences.
Why is Microfiber so popular?
Microfiber is popular for several reasons:
Affordability: Microfiber is an inexpensive alternative to natural fibers such as cotton or wool, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious consumers.
Versatility: Microfiber can be used for a wide range of products, from cleaning cloths to bedding and clothing, making it a popular material for various applications.
Durability: Microfiber is strong and long-lasting, making it ideal for use in high-traffic areas, such as furniture and bedding.
Easy Care: Microfiber is machine-washable and quick-drying, making it low-maintenance and convenient for busy consumers.
Softness: Microfiber is soft and smooth to the touch, making it a popular choice for clothing, bedding, and towels.
Synthetic: Microfiber is made from synthetic fibers, which are less prone to wrinkling and fading than natural fibers, making it ideal for various products.
Eco-Friendly: Microfiber is often made from recycled materials, making it a more environmentally responsible choice than other materials.
Microfiber fabrics have become a part of everyday life. They fall into the range of affordable fabrics that are lightweight and soft. Comfort is something that all people desire and microfiber has made owning soft durable blankets and throws a reality for most people.