I have been using flat microfiber mop heads for years. In fact, they are the only mops I use anymore. They are really just a better product, all around, than traditional string mops. Except for a few, very specific applications, string mops should be a thing of the past. The one big problem I have seen people have with them, is choosing the correct hardware and mop style for their individual use. Let’s see if we can’t correct that for you. Read more
If you are using microfiber cleaning tools, then you know how well they work. Cleaning is much easier with microfiber mops, dusters and cloths. But have you ever wondered how microfiber cleans so much better?
What Is Microfiber?
Microfiber cleaning tools are made up of tiny fibers. They are 10x finer than silk. Up to 30x finer than cotton. 40x Finer than wool. And 100x thinner than a human hair. That’s pretty thin!
Microfiber fibers are actually made from plastic. Cleaning microfiber consists of two types of plastic. Polyester and Polyamide. Polyester provides the scrubbing action while polyamide gives it the absorbing properties. Typical cleaning microfiber consists of 70-90% polyester and 10-30% polyamide.
These 2 plastics are extruded under high pressure into the fibers. Then they go through a splitting process that opens spaces or channels between them.
These microscopic fibers are spun together to form a strand of thread. This thread is woven in to cloths, yarn and even fabric.
How Microfiber Cleans
Microfiber cleans because of both the properties of the 2 types of plastic material and the channels between them. When a surface is wiped with a microfiber cloth or mop, dirt is scrubbed away by the polyester, and held in the channels by the polyamide. This trapping and holding of dirt is what really makes microfiber work so well when cleaning.
Traditional cotton cleaning materials have to trap the dirt in between the fibers and threads. Because they are solid, there is no where for the finer particles to be trapped. They rely on chemicals and liquid to assist in absorbing dirt. Microfiber can capture much smaller particles and hold on to them with its gripping fibers. Which makes how microfiber cleans, so different than traditional fibers.
Other Factors That Make Microfiber Clean So Well
Microfiber is plastic. Plastic will not rot. Also, unlike cotton which is a natural fiber, microfiber will not aide in the growth of bacteria. This means that as long as it is rinsed out, and cleaned on a regular basis, it will not stink. Yay! No more smelly mops!
Another advantage is being plastic, it does rinse out very easily and is very durable. If cared for properly, microfiber mops and cloths will last a long time. And long lasting cleaning tools equals money saved!
Microfiber cleaning products have taken the North American cleaning industry by, well, spring shower. For some reason, cleaning professionals have been lukewarm when it comes to converting to the use of this material that in Europe is the standard. Why is this? I say it is a perceived value over cost issue. Yes, in most cases, the upfront purchase of microfiber is significantly more than the traditional tools.
The Cost Of Microfiber Cleaning Products
Buying a dozen microfiber mops that cost 25% – 50% more than a traditional mop has understandably met with resistance. They do also have to be laundered regularly. You also need new hardware which also needs to be replaced. The old mop handles and buckets are obsolete. Don’t forget about the learning curve for microfiber cleaning products too. They do cause you to clean differently.
I can imagine that you are thinking “That sounds like a huge waste of money and time.”
Trust me. It is not.
Microfiber Cleaning Facts
Here are some facts associated with microfiber cleaning products.
- Microfiber removes 2 to 3 times more soil from a surface than traditional fibers.
- Depending on the system that works best for your cleaning program, very few mops are actually needed.
- The life expectancy of microfiber is 10 to 15 times longer.
- Moping with microfiber is easier, more ergonomic and reduces the amount of cleaning
A Different Way Of Cleaning
The biggest problem is that the cleaning processes are different. Using microfiber causes you to have to re-look at the way you clean. Since it’s physical properties are actually removing the majority of the soil from the surface, chemicals that have been used for years to remove soil are not are not as important. We just keep trying to use them because it is all we know. You have to have a chemical to clean right?
What Is Microfiber Made From?
Since the term microfiber only describes the thickness of the thread, 1-100th of a human hair, there is some confusion as to what makes microfiber a cleaning tool. When you purchase an article of clothing or furniture that is made of microfiber, it will typically be 100% polyester. Unlike the leisure suits from the 70’s though, the thread is much smaller, thus softer, making it more comfortable. Since polyester is a type of plastic, it is also much easier to clean.
When it comes to microfiber that we use in cleaning, there is another element, polyamide, which is a different type of man-made material. Polyamide has grabbing power that retains soil and moisture. When combined with polyester, and then split, chambers and openings are formed between the two materials that collect soil. This is different from traditional materials that are solid strands that rely on moisture and chemicals to hold soil. (see my post on how microfiber cleans)
Hold the Dirt. Don’t Just Push It Around
By actually holding the soil with in its fibers, microfiber has much more capacity. Since, again, it is all just plastic, and with limited sticky detergents, it will release then easily when rinsed, making them more effecting for longer periods. The other factor over natural fibers such as cotton is that plastic will not support the growth of bacteria. The reason cotton mops tend to have a foul smell, is that the bacteria that is picked up can actually feed on the fibers. As bacteria eat, they give off gases which is where not only mops get their smell but as do restrooms, carpets and anything else that attracts bacteria.
By using microfiber cleaning tools, you make your efforts much more productive. You will also will not need to purchase replacement mops and cloths nearly as often. And the results will be a cleaner, healthier and much safer environment.
Stop wasting money and start using microfiber!
I get of questions about gym floor cleaning. The main question is “why are the gym floors are slippery?” These floors serve many roles in schools and recreation centers. Between P.E. Classes, open gym, assemblies, sports practice and games, there always seems to be some sort of activity going on in the gymnasium. Since a lot of these floors are wood, there is a tendency to avoid cleaning them, because water damages wood right? Read more
Microfiber Cleaning Tools
Microfiber cleaning tools have taken the industry by storm! The truth is, they work extremely well for many types of cleaning. Either reducing or eliminating the amount of chemicals it takes to clean, is an attractive proposition for many people. I have been using microfiber cleaning to some degree, for years and it just keeps getting better.
Recently I was working with a customer that I had introduced microfiber cleaning systems to. He expressed a concern about the effectiveness of the system. They have been using the same microfiber cleaning cloths and mops for over a year. They were making sure to wash them regularly and to not use fabric softeners in the process. As I inspected the cloths they looked to be in good shape and were recently cleaned, but felt different to the touch. I took some water in a trigger sprayer and tried to clean some glass. The cloth didn’t do much to the smudges and just pushed the water around. It felt like a regular cleaning cloth.
Caring For Microfiber Cleaning Tools
The problem, in the end, was the detergent being used to wash the microfiber. It was name brand, powdered laundry soap. It did not have a fabric softener in it, but come to find out, the person that was in charge of washing was using more than the recommended amount. The soap residue was clogging up the openings in the microfiber that usually grab and hold on to the dirt. This was also the case with their mops.
In an attempt to reverse the issue, they stopped using the detergent and started using a hydrogen peroxide cleaner in its place. This seemed to make an improvement, but, even after a few weeks, they were not as effective as when they were new.
The best advice is to launder your microfiber cleaning tools with warm, not hot, water and use a neutral, non-detergent, liquid cleaner. In most cases, microfiber cleaning cloths, mops and dusters will come clean with agitation and rinsing. Remember, what ever you were cleaning with is a cleaning chemical, so don’t overload on the detergent. In some cases, a cleaning agent may need to be used while laundering if they are saturated with heavy soils but if they have been used for routine cleaning, just throw them in the wash.
Protect your investment and keep enjoying the results of your microfiber cleaning!