| Apr 22, 2018 12:00:00 AM
A big shift happened in the cleaning industry when production of microfiber cloths took off.
Microfiber has replaced virtually all traditional cleaning cloths, and with good reason.
Microfiber is a synthetic fiber with strands smaller than the diameter of silk, or about 1/3rd the diameter of a cotton fiber. The structural composition of these cloths leads them to be very dense and highly absorbent, holding up to seven times its weight in water. On a practical level the fabric is very effective at picking up and removing the dirt, as opposed to spreading it. Sustainability is massive benefit too, as some cloths can be washed up to 1000 times without replacement.
These benefits are at sharp contrasts with natural fibers, such as cotton. While they do have desirable qualities, such as breathability, low cost, and gentleness, it doesn't stack up to microfiber in any aspect. Natural fibers can harbour bacteria, wastes a great deal of water, and has a difficult time removing dirt and grime due to large threads and smaller counts. Natural fibers also produce lint, something microfiber does not emit.
A great example of what microfiber can accomplish is its role in healthcare. Microfiber cloths remove up to 98% of bacteria and 93% of viruses with only water. Cotton, comparatively, removes less than a third of that amount. Microfiber cloths are now standard issue for all North American hospitals and health care providers.
For all these reasons we choose to support microfiber cloths. We have them custom made for our customers to purchase as well for our residential cleaning service to use. These cloths clean hygienically, effectively and save water due to their high absorption rate. They are without a doubt the best option for industrial cleaning, professional cleaning, or household cleaning.
But there is an impact. When microfiber fabrics are washed, synthetic microplastics are released into the water. These particles are too small for water treatment plants to filter and migrate into lakes, rivers, oceans and their ecosystems.
What can we do? As a company literally founded by the water, we see the impact of water pollution. We have committed to eliminating microfiber waste from our business with industrial filtration systems. These screen out synthetic microplastic fibers, as well it protects plumbing and septic systems from blockage. This allows us to be environmentally responsible while guaranteeing the best quality clean.
What can you do? There are a few options. It’s important to note that microplastic are found in more than microfiber cloths. These are released by all synthetic fabrics, such the nylon-polyester of your yoga pants. A low-cost option is the Guppy Friend washing bag. These bags are designed to trap up to 99% of all microfiber in the wash and are large enough to fit a load of laundry, eliminating water waste. Another option is installing a lint filter in your machine. These will be able to catch synthetic microplastics and keep septic systems safe.
Microfiber cloths are the gold standard in the cleaning industry. What’s important is knowing how to use them responsibly and eliminating the environmental impact.