This is part one of a three-part article about extending the life of microfiber through proper laundering.

Within the last decade, microfiber has become an integral tool in many cleaning programs. Coming in several forms — clothes, mops and mitts — cleaning professionals across the country are using microfiber to mop, dust, clean glass, and more. Touted for its durability and superior cleaning ability, custodial executives are recognizing the cost-savings associated with using microfiber — a 90 percent reduction of water and chemical consumption versus traditional cleaning methods.

Those benefits, though, only last if microfiber is properly maintained and cared for. And there is still some confusion when it comes to the actual process of laundering this textile.

Due to the potential for cross-contamination and the growth of harmful bacteria, microfiber manufacturers say it is extremely important for facilities to follow proper laundering protocols. If soil is not removed during the laundering process, it can provide a breeding ground for bacteria growth. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control found that 93 percent of tested reusable laundered microfiber towels used to clean hospital rooms contained bacteria that could result in healthcare associated infections.

Cleaning microfiber isn’t difficult to master. But to help prolong the life of microfiber products, it is important to understand how to provide the best care throughout the entire laundry cycle. Improper care can be a costly mistake. Unfortunately, some facilities have learned this the hard way.

Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, first implemented microfiber into its cleaning program in 2009. Although managers were told switching to microfiber would reduce costs of mops and cloths, the university’s cleaning crew of 300 was having a difficult time recognizing the savings because the microfiber wasn’t lasting as long as it should, says Brandon Baswell, the university’s custodial services manager.

The reason? Baswell says the university’s laundry services division was improperly laundering their microfiber products. Laundry employees were mixing dirty microfiber mops and cloths with other fabrics in wash loads — a rather expensive mistake that destroyed the microfiber.

Improper laundering of microfiber is common among facilities that launder their own cloths and mops. Mike Dyer, specialist for the Laundry Dietary Division of HP Products, a distributor based in Indianapolis, says it is extremely important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for laundering.

“Most formulas are similar, but due to the type of microfiber, they may require different temperatures and different amounts of chemicals,” he says.

next page of this article:
Tips To Laundering Microfiber