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The manufacturer of these clean-up towels claims they have the “power to absorb up to 27 times greater than paper towels or any cotton cloth.”  Combine that with the ability to rinse and reuse them — or toss them in the wash once they’re too dirty, and you’ve got a formidable shop rag…  If it’s true.

We’ve all been there: something gets spilled, and we have to choose between wasting a dozen paper towels or mopping it up with a sponge or cloth that just doesn’t absorb the liquid fast enough. Since I’m on a mission to “green” up my life, these super-absorbent cloths caught my eye on TV the other day.

If their claims hold true, at $15 plus shipping for ten Zorbeez cloths — 4 “jumbo” and 6 “large,” though their website conspicuously doesn’t mention the actual sizes — these may be worth the investment.  But how true is their claim? Does anyone here have any experience with these, or with any similar super-absorbent cloth?

Zorbeez [Zorbeez]

 

14 Responses to As Seen on TV: Zorbeez

  1. nrChris says:

    Cloth diapers. They get great use in my workshop and in my camera bag. They absorb an insane amount of liquid, are tough, can be tack cloth in a pinch, and come out of the wash looking nice. They also serve as the best lens cloths / cleaning the water off of my camera if I shoot in the rain. They are not expensive, practically free since I steal them from my kids. Well, at least the ones that the little guy has grown out of.

  2. Trevor Dyck says:

    I believe I’ve had a pair of these around the shop. If memory serves correct, they are good for absorbing large quantities of water, but could never handle only a little bit of water, leaving streaks pretty much every time… so it a was a 2 cloth ordeal then – first this thing, then something that wouldn’t leave streaks.

  3. rodney says:

    I have used the Absorber brand to mop up water. For about $6 you can get the 27×17 inch size. They are really able to absorb a lot of water, and you put them away wet so you don’t have to worry about mildew. Not sure if the Zorbeez is the same material.

  4. Stuey says:

    Like Rodney, I use the Absorber brand that they sell at Target, Lowes, and auto shops. It’s pretty decent, but the regular size cloth is $9.

    I like it better than regular paper or cloth towels.

  5. Firemanpiper says:

    Just as long as you dont reuse them after cleaning up oil, gas etc. I routinely investigate dryer fires where towels or rags used to clean up oils etc start burning in the dryer. Frequently the washer doesnt get all the flammable/combustible liquid out of the cloth, they go into the dryer, the water dries out, the oils heat up, and bob’s your uncle you have a nice dryer fire. Also I hope we’re all familiar with the risks of storing oil soaked rags in a pile or box or something. They should go in an airtight non-combustible can or container. They WILL under the right conditions spontaneously combust.

  6. Rick says:

    I was always taught that it was better to just let the oil soaked rags dry out over time, laid out (not piled up in a stack) – once they were dry and stiff, there was no longer any danger and you could dispose of them normally –

    Now that I think about it – maybe that was for rags soaked in mineral spirits and the like – which actually evaporates (which is what causes the heat build up, and under the right conditions – combustion) Oil wouldn’t really evaporate..

  7. William says:

    Firemanpiper – are you saying that we should not clean up gas and oil with cloth rags? We should use paper towels? I know oily rags piled up in a hot room can start a fire, but what should be done with them?

  8. BarelyFitz says:

    Towards the bottom of this page seems to be some reasonable guidelines for dealing with oily rags: http://www.woodworkersjournal.com/ezine/archive/132/webreview.cfm

  9. BoatArt says:

    I can’t speak to how they work around the house, but I’ve recently started using Zorbeez on boats and cars and they work well and save time. Because they absorb so much it’s quicker to cover all the surface area. For washing cars they are about like a shammy, but cheaper. I keep a couple in my boat and a couple in my truck and find a lot of random uses for them. Only complaint is that I wish they came in more colors.

  10. Firemanpiper says:

    You CAN use cloth rags to clean up gas, motor oil etc, however I would not recommend washing them then drying them in a dryer. If you do wash them (and I personally wouldnt wash them in the same machine I wash my kids clothes in) just hang em out to dry or lay them flat on the ground. As to the spontaneous combustion I should clarify. Organic oils, linseed vegetable etc. can produce heat as they dry by polymerization, linseed, or by decomposition, (which is why compost piles heat up). If piled together tightly, enough heat can be generated and concentrated to cause the already combustible oil to ignite. If you remember shop class the cans used to dispose of oily shop rags usually had spring loaded tightly fitting lids to deny any incipient fire the oxygen needed to grow.
    Rags soaked in gas are an obvious risk as they give off fumes heavier than air which will linger until dispelled or till they find a source of ignition.

  11. Kasey_Lee says:

    Not worth the money!
    I bought some of the zorbeez to use in our auto body shop as a shammy. Pretty much all they did was leave spots on the cars. The blue anti static cloths from Sams Club work much better, and will leave your car looking beautiful. Also the claim of them absorbing 27 times more than cotton towels or paper towels are simply not true. I tested the zorbeez against bounty paper towels and a cotton towel and what I found was that they were comparable to the paper towels but didn’t do nearly as well against the cotton towel. So in my opinon zorbeez are just a waste of money.

  12. swampermom says:

    Does anyone know how “safe” the material is that these are made of?? I want to try using it in diapers .. lol I feel silly asking this right after all these other “oil” and combustibility questions!! But a girl’s gotta know!

  13. Christopher says:

    I did research on the guy who promotes these and, he started his own sales n’ marketing company when, he realized how well he could make something that is a lie, seem true.

  14. Mark says:

    Worst thing I’ve ever used. Tried to dry my dark blue car with them and all they did was to smear the water around. Wet or dry, they were horrible. Worse, they left orange lint all over where I tried to dry the car…I had to rewash it to get rid of this stuff. Worse yet, don’t ever put these in your washer, the amount of lint that comes off is terrible and your waste discharge filter will get clogged. I had to run the washer through a rinse cycle 3 times to clear all the junk. Not worth it even if they would give these away.

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