Saw a study a while back claiming that the typical American family could discard 85% of the cleaning chemicals in their utility room by simply using microfiber cleaning cloths .
I find a similar situation in commercial cleaning (we're in janitorial service in Phoenix AZ). Microfiber scrubs better than a cotton rag or a sponge, and absorbs better; you don't need as much, or as strong, a chemical to loosen dirt, or to hold it in solution. Our rough rule of thumb, in comparing cotton cloths to microfiber, or cotton string mops to microfiber mops, is that we can "dumb down" the chemical by a step using microfiber. That is, we use a neutral cleaner rather than an alkaline, or water rather than a neutral cleaner. Further, on floors, we can use much less solution (which is weaker to begin with).
So: less chemical, milder chemical, less water. Better for the health of my crew, my client, and the larger environment. Cheaper as well. Not much to not like.
A bit about us:
My firm, CBN Building Maintenance, provides commercial cleaning services in Phoenix AZ and the wider metro area. We've been in business since 1974; hold the BBB's A-plus rating; and have long been in the forefront of the industry in environmentally sensitive cleaning for health, safety and security. Our program can generally improve Indoor Air Quality, in the size range of most allergens, by a factor of 50%, as reflected in our ongoing IAQ sampling.