Yellow warning notice to caution people to a slippery wet surface as a janitor mops the floor in an office building

The properties that make a microfiber product a good cleaning tool also make it nearly impossible to clean. According to reports from Cleanroom Technology, it's best practice when using either cloths or mops to choose single-use, disposable products, instead of laundering reusable textiles. The reason, according to reports, is because disposable options reduce the risk of cross-contamination and ensure that contaminants are removed from surfaces.

However, more facilities are laundering and re-using mops because of the potential cost-savings, as well as the environmental aspect. This creates complications, as most reusable  mops are manufactured from microfiber fabrics.

The cost savings — both environmental and budgetary — must be balanced with the question of whether the reuse of microfiber mops can lead to contamination. Also, though their absorbency and ability to pick up and keep small particles has led to the increased use of microfiber mops, they are less durable than standard filaments and create much higher levels of fine particle contamination.

Because of this, microfiber needs to be laundered even before it is used. Coupled with the cost of the microfiber product itself, this means most microfiber mops are too costly for single use. They need to be laundered, re-sterilized and re-used in order to be cost-effective.

Re-laundering and re-sterilizing come with risk, however. If done incorrectly, laundering can cause irreversible damage to the microfiber structure.

Researchers at Contec explored this issue in a white paper "Clinical Advantages of Disposable Microfibre Mops." Their study compared hospital re-laundered microfiber mops with a disposable microfiber product.

The study found that the laundry process can be ineffective in removing trapped residues of the disinfectant or detergent solution. The retention of organic particulates and residues in laundered mops can cause issues when the mops are returned into use.

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