The Ultimate Guide To Microfiber Blankets

6 min read

The Ultimate Guide To Microfiber Blankets women and child under mali mudcloth blanket

Fabrics made from microfiber are a fairly recent addition to the many bedding and décor fabrics used in modern homes.

Microfiber blankets and throws 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.

But 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.

Xhosa African tribal microfiber blanket

What is Microfiber?

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.

Here is a basic rundown of key characteristics between microfiber and polyester:

  • Breathability: Microfiber is more breathable than polyester.
  • Durability: Because of the thicker fibers, polyester is more durable.
  • Softness: microfiber is much softer due to the finer fibers.
  • Warmth: both fabrics offer similar degrees of warmth.
  • Care: Both fabrics are easy to wash but washing instructions should be followed.
  • Cost: Both fabrics are affordable.
  • 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.

Split-weave.

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.

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.

Microfiber blankets

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.

Each fabric type has a different range of benefits that some people will focus on what makes life more pleasant in their homes.

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.

Mali mudcloth microfiber blanket

Hypoallergenic or not?

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.

Ghana kente microfiber blankets and throw

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 fibres 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 fibre-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

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?

Family on bed with microfiber mali mudcloth blanket black and white

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.

Conclusion.

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.

As far as warmth is concerned microfiber has been able to mimic natural fabrics like wool and cotton to a large degree. Breathability and its unique moisture-wicking process make microfiber a fabric that has a place in our fast-paced world. You will be the ultimate decision-maker on whether you use microfiber to a minimum with only the super absorbent hygienic cleaning cloths or if you include microfiber in your wardrobe and living spaces.
Steve Watts
Steve Watts


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