Microbiologist and EVS Pro Consider “A Laundry List of Questions” About Cleaning with Microfiber

September 2, 2020

Microbiologist and EVS Pro Consider “A Laundry List of Questions” About Cleaning with Microfiber

Most people think of cleaning as a two-step process: (1) see dirtiness, (2) remove dirtiness. The reality is much more complicated than that. Dr. Mark Wiencek, a microbiologist, and Sr. Technical Support Specialist Ron Sample, both with Contec Inc., discuss the best tools, textiles, and techniques for cleaning in their recently published article, “A Laundry List of Questions”.

Wiencek and Sample begin by reminding readers that cleaning doesn’t just remove visible dirt, but it can help remove microorganisms that can cause disease. One of the main contributors to the spread of microbes is human beings. Because humans are constantly shedding microorganisms, the question, “Why do we have to constantly clean and disinfect where we work, live, recuperate, etc.?” is easily answered.

The four main components of a proper cleaning process are reviewed next: tools, agitation, chemicals, and labor. Most technological advances in cleaning have only been in the couple of decades, point out Wiencek and Sample. Before synthetic microfiber became the preferred textile for cleaning, cotton textiles were used for hundreds of years. Mops and rags were used, washed, and used again until they became completely unusable. Microfiber mops, as the name implies, are cleaning textiles whose fibers are so fine that they can’t be delineated with the naked eye. This means each microfiber mop has significantly more fibers than a traditional cotton mop. More fibers mean better ability to pick up and hold onto dirt, debris, and microbes.

Microfiber revolutionized cleaning with its improved performance in grabbing those things that regular cotton products just couldn’t. However, the things that made microfiber clean so well also made it less than ideal for reusing, Wiencek and Sample explain in their article. The superior retention of microfiber doesn’t disappear when washed, so residual particles and microbes can remain in mops and wipers. Also, microfiber textiles can’t be laundered the using the same techniques used to launder cotton textiles due to their construction.

How then can microfiber be used as an effective cleaning tool with consistent cleaning results? Wiencek and Sample posit single-use or disposable mops and wipes as a practical, hygienic solution. Using a single use product like Premira® microfiber mop pads means never having to question how clean the mop is coming back from the laundry. There are also potential benefits that can positively affect the labor and time component of the cleaning process. Wiencek and Sample cover these considerations in the full article “A Laundry List of Questions” available to read in this month’s issue of Facility Cleaning & Maintenance magazine. Click here to read the article or feel free to contact us for more information.