Which cleaning cloth picks up protein residue the best? (The Norwex Raw Chicken Test)

Don't want to read? Watch the video of this experiment here. 

I have already shown that the Norwex and e-cloth pick up bacteria better than assorted other cloths and wipes. You can see those results on this page of my website. However, many people have asked me to do the "Norwex Raw Chicken Test." Norwex is an excellent line of microfiber cleaning cloths sold by independent consultants. Sometimes the consultants do this raw chicken test at their sales parties. They wipe raw chicken on a countertop and wipe it off with a Norwex cloth. Then they use a Hygiena Pro-Clean Rapid Protein Residue Test Swab

 to swab the surface and show that it is all clean. However, most consultants do not do a control using another type of cloth. That is what I decided to do. I compared how well a Norwex, e-cloth, cotton cloth, Handi wipe, Kirkland paper towel, and Clorox wipe picked up the protein residue from raw chicken. I do not sell Norwex or any cloth. 


First I thoroughly wiped off my kitchen countertop and used masking tape to assign spots for each cloth. The cloths had been washed on a hot sanitize cycle with Norwex laundry detergent before the test. I wet the cloths with warm tap water and rung them out tightly before using. I just got the paper towel damp with tap water for the test. Sorry for the weird angle that I took this photo. 

Next, I rubbed the raw chicken on the countertop. 

Then I wiped with each wet cloth making 2 passes over the contaminated area. I was careful to wipe the entire area that the chicken touched. (If you are really cleaning up from raw chicken, you should wipe many times and maybe use a disinfectant to be sure. I don't meant to convey that all you need to do is quickly wipe an area twice if there is raw meat.)

 to rub the countertop where the chicken was. 

I shook the swab to release the chemicals and let it sit upright for 10 minutes to await a color change. 

can detect down to 20 micrograms of protein after a 10 minute incubation. The results are shown by a color change.

Purple=protein detected=dirty surface

Green=less than 20 micrograms of protein detected=relatively clean surface

I was shocked and happy that the results so closely mirrored my agar plate results. The Norwex and e-cloth picked up protein better than the rest. If you would like to buy the e-cloths that I used in this experiment, you can order them here on Amazon

.  Also, I cleaned the heck out of my countertop after I was done with this experiment. I do not mean to convey the message that all you need to do is a quick 2-pass wipe of your countertop after you have raw meat on it. Just because the Hygiena test swabs showed green, just means that less than 20 micrograms of protein was present. It does not mean that the surface is sterile and no germs whatsoever are on it. 20 micrograms of protein translates to a lot of germs. All we can learn from this is that the Norwex and Ecloth picked up protein better than the others. It does not necessarily mean that the surface was perfectly clean afterward. 

I could not repeat this experiment because the Hygiena protein test swabs are very expensive, and I did not have enough to repeat it. I'm happy to repeat it again if someone wants to send me more. I did have 3 swabs left, and I retested Norwex and the cotton cloth again the next day. The Norwex countertop was clean, of course. I repeated the cotton cloth experiment two more times. One time, the countertop was still dirty after wiping with the cotton cloth. Another time, I pressed harder with the cotton cloth and the countertop swab showed that it was clean. These results are similar to my results where I swab surfaces for bacteria after wiping with the cloths. The cotton cloth is never quite as good as the Norwex or e-cloth, but it does pretty good. So, I think you could get clean results with these swabs and cotton cloths if you work at it. 

Which is more sensitive the protein detection swabs or my agar plate experiments? 

These Hygiena Pro-Clean Rapid Protein Residue Test Swabs

 can detect down to 20 micrograms of protein. That sounds like just a tiny bit. However, that is actually equivalent to A LOT of bacteria. I used these Hygiena swabs to swab the floor squares in my other experiments where I used the cloths to wipe up germs of the dirty floor (see those experiments on this page) and these swabs showed that all the wiped squares were clean! Even the paper towel and clorox wipe floor square showed up as clean with these swabs even though they grew bacteria on the agar plates. (Of course, the swabs turned purple for the dirty control floor square). So, I think my agar plate experiments are more sensitive when trying to detect bacteria than these swabs are. However, using the raw chicken for this test put enough protein on the countertop that these swabs seemed to provide pretty accurate results. So, the agar plates are better for detecting bacteria than these swabs. However, know that just because the Hygiena swab says that a surface is clean, doesn't mean that there isn't any bacteria present.