As the world continues to monitor the severity, treatment, and causes of the COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes crucial to keep surfaces and spaces as free from disease and pathogens as possible. However, many cleaning professionals are combining microfiber technology with approved disinfectants on EPA’s List N for COVID-19 effectiveness, combining microfiber’s efficient pathogen removal properties with the disinfectant’s ability to actually kill the virus.” While there are no 100% guarantees that a particular cleaning technique will automatically prevent the virus from spreading, maintaining a clean home and work environment is essential to a high quality of life.
If your work or business is staying open during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll likely want to keep your cleaning methods as up to date as possible to make sure customers and staff are safe. Microfiber cloths are a great choice for cleaning surfaces with disinfectants or even dry surfaces. They have strong fibers that are small enough to capture bacteria and very small particles, but they’re also compatible with most disinfectants.
What Is Microfiber?
Microfiber has become an increasingly common part of our lives, but there’s debate about when and where microfiber was first created. Many consider that the most promising microfiber experiments were conducted in Japan in the 1960s by scientist Miyoshi Okamoto at Toray Industries. Okamoto’s research led to a plethora of industrial applications, including Ultrasuede, one of the first successful microfibers in the world. By the middle of the 20th century, scientists around the globe were looking for a new, lightweight fabric that could attractively conform to the body and was durable enough to repel stains.
Today, the fabric in microfiber cloths is made of many different materials, including polyester, nylon, and more. The characteristics of its components make microfiber useful for the cleaning industry and personal use in the home. For instance, polyester is an ideal material for scrubbing and polyamide absorbs liquids very well—as much as seven times their weight while removing germs and bacteria.
Cloths that aren’t made of microfiber often push dust and soil around instead of collecting or absorbing them for disposal. Part of why microfiber cloths are so effective is that their split fibers create more surfaces on the cloth that can lock in dirt, dust, viruses, and bacteria. Because of this, microfiber cloths are great for cleaning surfaces whether they’re dry or dampened with a little water.
Microfiber For Cleaning
Microfiber cloths are the only material for cleaning surfaces that immediately removes soil, dirt, dust, and bacteria from your surfaces and locks them within its fibers. They don’t kill the viruses and other microorganisms they trap, instead securing them in their fibers until you toss them in the wash. This helps prevent the need for using harsh chemicals to get rid of germs.
While we wait for more information about COVID-19’s impact and the ongoing ways to mitigate contamination, studies have determined that the coronavirus strand can survive on surfaces for up to nine days, making it important to practice practical strategies for cleaning and disinfecting.
Microfiber cloths won’t work if they’re not used or maintained well. For instance, if you oversaturate a microfiber cloth, it’s not going to work as well as it could. It’s best to lightly wet microfiber cloths as needed for different spots while you clean. If disinfecting a surface, allow for a few minutes of drying time before using the microfiber cloth. After the surface dries, wipe it down and the microfiber material will remove the remaining particles while clearing off the disinfectant.
Additionally, you need to launder your microfiber cloths. Put them in the washing machine using warm water and a low-impact liquid detergent. Afterwards, put the cloths in the dryer without using a dryer sheet and select the low heat setting. Since it doesn’t take long for microfiber to dry, check back in a few minutes.
Microfiber Cloths Vs Cotton Cloths
Compared to the typical cloths used in cleaning services, microfiber cloths pick up and hold more soil and debris than cotton, other fabrics, or paper towels.
While cotton is a naturally occurring fiber, microfiber is created from synthetic materials, usually a polyester and nylon blend. Microfiber is very fine and almost one-third the diameter of a cotton fiber, increasing the likelihood of capturing smaller particles. Cotton is a breathable material and soft enough that it won’t leave marks on surfaces while being pretty inexpensive. However, cotton is more prone to pushing dirt and debris rather than picking it up, and it’s organic materials can come with bacteria from the outdoors.
How Microfiber Helps Remove Viruses, Bacteria, and Dust
Microfiber cloths are highly absorbent, making them an ideal for removing dirt and soil from a surface. They’re better at reducing the transfer of germs from surface to surface and they’re lint free, so they are effective for streakless finishes on surfaces. Microfiber cloths also have a long lifespan when stored properly and maintained. Microfiber does come with a higher initial cost than cotton, but the long term benefits of being able to reuse microfiber make it less costly down the line.
In a study by the American Journal of Infection Control, microfiber mops were found to remove substantially more microbes than normal cotton string mops. Amounting to a 95% difference of removed microbes with standard detergent, only 68% of microbes were removed under the same conditions with cotton string mop.
In addition to the open areas in between the fibers, microfiber is a powerful cleaning tool because the fibers are positively charged. Dust is negatively charged, so the fibers attract dirt and soil particles like a magnet. The microfiber grips on to the dust and dirt until it’s released in the laundry or rinsed out.
The attributes of split microfiber discussed above make it a true green cleaning product. Microfiber works extremely well as a cleaner without added chemicals. All of the edges on each fiber created during the splitting process act like squeegees scraping up the dust and dirt while the open spaces between the splits hold it. When water is added to the towel or duster it helps emulsify the dirt allowing it to be scrubbed off the surface being cleaned.
Now more than ever, It’s important to properly clean with microfiber cloths to complement disinfecting efforts. By removing viruses, bacteria, and germs before disinfecting, you’re lowering the overall risk of spreading infection in schools, hospitals, businesses, and homes. Given that microfiber cloths can last through hundreds of washings and don’t require added chemicals, their growing popularity for maintaining health and cleanliness is unmatched.