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Microfiber Soaks Up Accolades for Cleaning, Laundering Ease (Part 3 of 3)

I'm hearing a lot about microfiber towels and mops. What can you tell me about their performance compared to more well-established products? Are they processed differently in the laundry? How do they differ from cotton and other materials?HOTEL/MOTEL LAUNDERING & LINEN SUPPLY: Bill Kartsonis is chairman of Superior Linen Supply Co., Kansas City, Mo. He’s certified as a Master Hotel Supplier by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA). His company warehouses and distributes linens and uniforms in addition to washing and renting them.
I had known all my life that “synthetics don’t clean and they can’t really absorb.” Yes, they can.
I knew that to absorb moisture, you needed a natural fiber like cotton or linen. Sure, we’d used polyester for napery, but it wouldn’t hold enough moisture for cleaning and would not glom onto the dirt.
Our hospital customers were tuning into the stories about better cleaning with microfiber. We resisted, but explored it anyway.
I then became aware of the real benefits and superiority of 80/20 split-fiber microfiber for cleaning. It picks up more dirt and holds it better than any other cloth. “That’s bananas,” I thought, and that evolved into our trade name for a line of microfiber mops and towels.
Microfiber cloth will clean “dry” dirt as it electromagnetically attracts with its positive charge. For disinfecting and “wet” cleaning, microfiber wins again. Water is a polar molecule that has significant surface tension which must be overcome to clean well. Since the fibers are microscopic and sharp, they pierce the water molecule and let you get underneath to clean deeper.
Ask any housekeeping professional who has implemented a microfiber program. They’ll tell you that their surfaces are cleaner now than when they used traditional cleaning tools.
I’ve become an advocate for microfiber for cleaning because it cleans better. Some companies claim it’s magic since it performs so well. Infomercials aside, the tiny split fibers form “hooks” that scrape up and hold dust, dirt, grease and grime better.
You simply have to try it yourself to see how a microfiber cloth holds water and gunk better than a cotton terry bar mop. It has better moisture retention and better capture of the bacteria.
As far as laundering is concerned, it washes easily. It requires less chemical and less heat to dry. It produces no noticeable lint. It lasts longer. It’s less bulky.
What if you could wash and process twice as many units in one-third less time? The linen supplier can save enough in processing (and net product cost) to be able to offer a better product to his customer. This is how a microfiber towel can replace a cotton bar mop.
A laundry needs to process these items separately from cotton items so they don’t get contaminated. The formulas are easy to set and call for no chlorine bleach, while drying should be at medium temperatures.
Microfiber offers benefits for hospitals seeking to avoid cross-contamination.
When cleaning patient rooms, using just one mop per room is the rule. With the awareness of how infections can be spread within hospitals, a microfiber cleaning system can become an important tool. Both towels and mops are immersed in sanitizing solution and used for cleaning but never reinserted. The solution in the chemical bucket stays pure, and the amount of chemical used is reduced so much in mopping that the savings help pay for the mops.LONG-TERM CARE LAUNDERING: Vicki Elliott is environmental services manager for Kendal at Ithaca (N.Y.), a continuing care retirement community housing 300 residents (independent living, adult home/assisted living, and skilled care).
I was first introduced to microfiber by our local cleaning supply distributor. Like most facilities, Kendal’s environmental service department was still using the traditional mop and bucket for cleaning floors. The microfiber system seemed like a good concept, but I knew my staff didn’t like change and that the initial cost would be high.
Then I attended a seminar and witnessed the advantages of using microfiber. A manufacturer’s representative demonstrated a flat mop system for dusting, mopping and finishing floors. It wasn’t the microfiber mops that sold me on the system but the fact that they would cut down on time, chemical usage, cost and, most important of all, cross-contamination between rooms. Another advantage was that the mops could be washed in warm water and bleach and dried.
I invited the rep to visit Kendal and demonstrate the flat mop system to my staff. Remarkably, they were receptive and discovered many reasons for using the microfiber mops. They found they were more efficient, lighter and easier to use, and made them less tired than they were after using the heavy string mops.
Microfiber mopping completely eliminated rinsing and ringing a heavy loop mop. And the “mopping stick” that is used with the microfiber flat mop has a reservoir to hold the cleaning solution, eliminating the need for keeping a bucket on the cleaning cart.
They also discovered that the flat mop system saved time in labor. Instead of walking back to the housekeeping closet each time they needed to change the cleaning solution (we change water every three rooms), the housekeepers have a small buddy jug on the cleaning cart to refill the reservoir as needed. We’re only using about 15 ounces of solution as opposed to 3 gallons with the traditional mop and bucket.
Time and cost savings were easy to measure and first to be noticed, but the most important factor was infection control. The staff used a fresh microfiber mop head for each room, eliminating the possibility of cross-contamination between rooms. Although the initial cost for purchasing mop heads was high, they’re more durable than traditional mops and last twice as long.
We found many other advantages to using the flat mop system. Since the mops are lighter and easier to use, there’s less potential for fatigue and injury. The mops only leave a light film of water on the floor, so the floor dries quickly, resulting in less opportunity for slips and falls on a wet floor.
Also, since the mops use less water and chemicals, there’s less solution being dumped down the drain, making them environmentally friendly.
The mops are smaller than traditional string mops, so they take up less space for storage. They’re easily laundered using a standard wash formula with bleach and are durable enough to be dried at a low temperature.
 

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