Wet or dry? Scrunched in a ball or neatly folded? Yes, there is a best way to use a microfiber towel. According to many, the technology offers benefits over cotton rags, like reducing the chance of cross contamination, enhancing worker productivity, cutting chemical and water use and limiting overall cleaning costs. But you have to use microfiber towels correctly to reap those benefits. While microfiber will save you time, money and effort in the long run, the high-tech towels cost more than cheap cotton rags upfront. Get the most out of your investment by employing these microfiber towel best practices.
What is Microfiber?
Woven from densely constructed polyester and nylon fibers, microfiber towels are superior to cotton by design. The incredibly thin, star-shaped fibers can access tiny surface cracks and crevasses where they act like a net with millions of tiny spaces to trap and remove moisture, dirt and debris.
Caring for microfiber takes a little more thought than just throwing it in the wash. Use standard laundry soap with an overall pH under 11 and avoid bleach. Keep water temperature under 200 degrees and dryer temperature between 130 and 140. Nix the fabric softeners and don’t wash with fibers that produce lint. If cared for correctly your towels could last for up to 500 washes.
Fold it for Freshness
One of microfiber towels’ great advantages are its ability to prevent cross-contamination if used correctly. Don’t wad the fabric up into a ball. Instead fold it in half, and in half again, creating eight distinct panels. Use a panel and then flip to a fresh one before moving to the next surface.
Don’t Be All Wet
Because the technology is so effective at removing soil and pathogens, microfiber towels can be used with plain water for everyday cleaning depending on soil conditions. Add a cleaning chemical if your interior needs more. No matter which you pick, be sure to wet the surface you want to clean and not the cloth. Microfiber’s capillary action makes its highly absorbent, holding up to seven times its weight in liquid. Pre-soaking fills the capillaries with water or chemical, so there’s nowhere for the dirt to go.
A study, Dry Microfiber Towel Cleaning on Wetted Surface vs. Damp Microfiber Towel Cleaning of Dry Surface (Richter, 2014) proved this. They cleaned 32 evenly-soiled tabletops using two methods: wet surface/dry towel and dry surface/wet towel. The wet surface/dry towel tabletops exhibited less pathogens when tested with an ATP Meter and less cross-contamination.
Use these microfiber towel best practices for better results in your facility. Click here to learn more.
Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines.
Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.
She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.