Microfiber packs a big punch
Fun fact: the average person spends about 20 hours per month on household cleaning.
But there are tools to make the job easier and science has given us so many labour-saving inventions, it’s easy to take them for granted. (Just think about how laundry used to be done!)
Microfiber cloths are so eco-friendly, effective and efficient they’re a must-have for any green cleaning kit. But how do they do what they do? Read on for the lowdown on this “magical” fabric.
She blinded me with science
The story of microfibers goes all the way back to 19th century Holland, when Johannes Diderik van der Waals laid the foundation for modern molecular physics. Building on that knowledge, chemical engineers of the 1950s and ’60s began experimenting with ultra-fine filaments for industrial applications.
By the 1970s, Ultrasuede hit the market and expanded the possibilities for new applications of the material. Not only was the ersatz suede used for making groovy pantsuits but also for interior, automotive and aircraft design applications.
But it wasn’t until the ’90s, when Swedish materials scientists began to develop the technology further, that microfiber cloths revolutionized green cleaning in both industrial and household applications. Today, microfiber cloths are widely used in Europe where environmental awareness is greater, but the technology is still catching on in North America.
So, what’s so big about tiny?
Microfiber is a synthetic combination of polyamides (aka nylon) and polyester. This substance is used to create super-fine strands with a diameter about 10 to 50 times thinner than a human hair. The strands are then split even further creating tiny fibers which are about the size of the average bacteria. Germs, begone!
Thanks to this micro splitting process the surface area of microfiber is roughly 15 times greater than that of cotton fabrics, allowing it to trap more dust, dirt and bacteria in its million tiny edges. More surface area equals more efficiency — you get big results from those teensy fibers.
Another benefit of microfiber cloths is that they won’t scratch or mar even the most delicate surfaces because they attract debris instead of pushing it around. That’s why microfiber cloths are used for lens cleaning and other precision applications.
Remember that 19th century Dutchman van der Waals? He was the first scientist to describe the properties of molecular attraction. The “van der Waals forces” inherent in the plastic microfibers are what give these mighty cloths their ability to attract grime and germs, hence the nickname “dirt magnets.”
But is it green technology?
You bet it is. Microfiber technology virtually eliminates the need for paper towels and toxic cleaning chemicals.
Using these cloths will even reduce your water usage. A microfiber mop weighs far less than a traditional string mop and uses about half the water to get the job done.
Added bonus: microfibers are lint-free, making them ideal for glass and other shiny-surface cleaning. No more harsh window cleaners, which can be damaging to your lungs with repeated use.
Show me the money
Microfiber cleaning products can tolerate between 100-200 washings. That’s a long life for a cleaning product. So, you’re not only getting a more thorough, more environmentally-friendly result, but you’re also reducing your budget. Gotta love science.
At Allcare, microfiber cloths are just one of the products we use to make your facility shiny and germ-free. Get in touch today for more information on our Green Housekeeping practices.
We care about clean.