One of microfiber’s greatest benefits is its durability: Some reusable products can be laundered as many as 500 times. But cleaning microfiber correctly can also be one of its greatest challenges.  

Solomon suggests that her clients audit their internal laundering facilities or outsource facilities to make sure that temperature settings are correct on both washers and dryers.

“Reusable microfiber is more cost effective than disposable,” notes Solomon. “But if you choose reusable, you have to make sure that the water temperature on your washing machine is set appropriately so that it releases the dirt from the microfibers.” 

Similarly, dryers should be set to the appropriate temperature. 

“When it comes to drying microfiber, the temperature should not be too hot,” Solomon cautions. “Microfibers are plastic, so they can burn and bind together, causing them to become less efficient.”  

Additionally, cleaning staff should not use bleach or fabric softeners. If washing microfiber tools by hand, consultants recommend using a mild detergent in warm water and allowing them to air dry.

Frank advises facilities to check with the manufacturer regarding water temperatures and detergents to ensure that they aren’t violating the characteristics of their microfiber products. 

The Cost of Clean 

Despite laundering challenges, more facilities are realizing the positive impact of integrating microfiber into floor maintenance programs. Not only does microfiber’s design enhance pickup of dust and debris, but it does so with less effort, thereby reducing worker injuries and increasing production rates. 

When microfiber was first introduced to the cleaning industry about 20 years ago, it was expensive. But today it is much more affordable, with most microfiber cloths costing less than a dollar. 

“Cotton cut-end string mops are cheap, which is why people use them,” says Frank. “But they aren’t as effective, and there’s no justification for them. Microfiber has a longer lifecycle, it’s very durable, and its cleaning characteristics are better than other textiles.”

Kassandra Kania is based out of Charlotte, North Carolina and is a frequent contributor to Facility Cleaning Decisions. 

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Mops that Minimize Cross-Contamination