There are many aspects to having a natural green home through cleaning that differs from the traditional cleaning methods that we were taught by our mothers, grandmothers, even our Home Economics teachers! It is not just the chemicals that are used, but also how we work with the green janitorial chemicals for a true green clean. The introduction of a high quality microfiber cloth is one the most significant and powerful breakthroughs in anyone seeking a green clean for both the custodial and janitorial businesses as well as for natural green home cleaning.
Microfiber is a manmade product that is used for a variety of applications including clothing, furniture, car interiors, insulation, and even basketballs. While microfiber was first created in the 1950’s it has been slow to come to market as a practical product (ultra-suede in the 1970’s, furniture fabrics in the 1990’s, but it was not until 2007 that Rubbermaid was the first major company to introduce a line of products to the American market). As microfiber has become main stream in textile products, the advantages and appreciation for cleaning applications has increased. Today, microfiber is required for a true green clean.
Microfibers are synthetic fibers that are strands less than one denier (i.e., about 1/16 the thickness of human hair). A single strand of microfiber is so small that it is almost invisible to the naked eye; it is even tinier than the finest silk filament! It would take 200,000 of these ultrafine fibers to fill one square inch. Because of the thinness of the strands, microfiber is exceptionally soft and holds its shape well.
Microfiber cloths work differently in cleaning than the traditional cotton rags. Microfibers act like a scraper while they lift and trap the dirt and moisture in the nooks and crannies of the individual fibers rather than just pushing the dirt from one point to another as the traditional cotton fiber does. Each microfiber has a system of hook like claws that will snare dirt and dust, as well as pollen and other allergy producing particles that are common in homes and offices. At the end of a swipe with the cleaning cloth, rather than trying to manually lift the dirt as is done with a traditional cotton rag, the microfiber will store the dirt within the cloth until it is washed. While it is best to use the microfiber cloths dry, if is it wet to avoid streaking wring it to be as dry as possible since the fiber absorbs six times its weight in water.
By nature, microfiber attracts dust, debris, and other particles. Additionally because of its fine fibers, it leaves behind no residue. Microfiber cloths have a myriad of additional benefit rich features in that they are hypoallergenic, non-electrostatic, lint free, nonabrasive, super absorbent yet quick drying, and long lasting. The high density of fibers results in a fabric that is so durable that it will withstand over 500 washings! As a result they are more than four times more effective than ordinary cleaning cloths.
By using microfiber cloths and with water based, chemical free products such as floor cleaners, degreasers and general green cleaning products, Royal Roads University has determined this is the best eco friendly method of cleaning. Furthermore they found that microfiber cloths and mops, used only with regular tap water, are 99.94 percent effective in removing bacteria from smooth surfaces, as compared to traditional cotton rags and mops used with Lysol or bleach, which were only 91.89 percent effective. After another set of tests by UC Davis Medical Center made the switch from conventional loop mops to microfiber mops in patient-care areas after finding through testing that microfiber mops did a better job of penetrating surface pores and removing dust particles than conventional string mops and cloths. For example, after a surface was cleaned with conventional tools, a bacteria culture showed a 30 percent reduction, while microfiber materials reduced bacteria by 99 percent.
Since the microfiber is eliminating the dirt and dust by trapping it, a single cloth should not be used to clean an entire room. If the cloth begins to streak it is time to wash it. Frequently janitorial and custodial services will also take advantage of the color coded cloths to align with different tasks in the cleaning process and avoid cross contamination.
Maintaining your microfiber cloths at their peak performance is easy as it only requires washing in a standard machine with a laundry detergent that is free of any chemical softening agents. Hot water is the best way to release the trapped dirt so I soak the cloths in a sink of hot water before adding it to the machine. This way I am able to ensure the microfibers open up to release the dirt; separate the dirt from the rest of the materials in the load, while simultaneously reducing the quantity of hot water used in the washing process. I will emphasize that it is paramount that no form of fabric softener is used as the microfibers will become clogged up with the chemicals thus rendering the cloth ineffective. While you can machine dry the cloths, to save on energy consumption air drying is sufficient and quick.
The best microfiber cloths for a safe and green clean are those that have the yarn split during the manufacturing process and a blend of 80 percent Polyester (the scrubbing and cleaning fiber) and 20 percent Polyamide (the absorbing and quick drying fiber). It comes in two styles – terry and suede. In general the terry is best suited for general cleaning while the used is great in any polishing application. My source of high quality of microfiber cloths is from Golden Star. Microfiber cloths used with green cleaning products and janitorial chemicals from Green Cleaning Products will give you a safe green clean in your home and business.