More and more facilities are switching from conventional cleaning cloths to microfiber cleaning cloths. Several studies indicate that although they are not as effective as using a flat-surface cleaning such as Kaivac's KaiFly™ system, which when used as instructed, is considered a sanitizing device even when using plain water, microfiber is still more effective than using traditional cleaning cloths.
However, some cleaning professional may not realize that microfiber cleaning cloths need special cleaning attention. Proper maintenance will help increase the lifespan of microfiber cloths - to as much as 500 washes - along with their overall cleaning effectiveness. If it is not cleaned properly, all the benefits of using a microfiber cleaning cloth may be eliminated.
The following are some tips on cleaning and maintaining microfiber cleaning cloths:
- Review the microfiber manufacturer's care instructions. Not all microfiber products are cleaned and maintained the same way.
- Wash microfiber cleaning cloths with other microfiber cleaning cloths. One of the most common mistakes users make is to mix microfiber cleaning cloths with terry cloth or other cotton cleaning cloths when washing. The problem is that the cotton fibers in the conventional cleaning cloths infiltrate the microfiber. This can limit or eliminate its absorbency, which is one of the key reasons for using a microfiber cleaning cloth.
- Some facilities, particularly medical, add bleach to the detergent when washing microfiber. In most cases, bleach should not be added to the wash. Along with bleach, most manufacturers recommend not using fabric softeners either. If it is necessary to use bleach in the cleaning process, have a discussion with your jansan distributor to see what options and types of microfiber products are available.
- It is often a good idea to wash microfiber cleaning cloths using a liquid detergent. With a powder detergent, the actual powders can become lodged in the filters.
- Water temperature can be a consideration. Some microfiber care instructions suggest selecting cold water only; others will allow the microfiber to be washed in warm water. Washing in hot water can potentially damage the microfiber.
- Just as microfiber cleaning cloths should not be washed with other cleaning cloths, they should also be dried separately as well. This again helps protect the fibers in the microfiber so that the cloth maintains its maximum absorbency potential.
It is often recommended to dry microfiber at a moderate - not high - temperature. High temperatures can cause melting or fuse the fibers, once again inhibiting their effectiveness. Some facilities, if time and space is available, prefer to air dry microfiber.
We should mention one more issue that addresses the use of microfiber. As with any cleaning cloth, as it becomes soiled the possibility of spreading contaminants increases. One way to prevent this is to select a new generation of 'SmartTowel™' microfiber cleaning cloths that can be folded into quadrants. Typically, one side of the cloth is numbered 1-4 and the other 5-8. Using a new number, which means a fresh quadrant for each surface cleaned, will help prevent the spread of contamination.