Microfiber cleaning equipment such as mops and cloths are washable, and they must be washed on a regular basis in order to get the most use out of them. Professional cleaners who work with microfiber cleaning equipment have shared some basic care and laundry instructions and advice that should help others maintain their microfiber rags and mops in better working condition for longer.
Microfiber can be either machine washed or hand washed. When machine washing, do not wash in water hotter than ninety degrees centigrade. Also, do not use bleach or other similar products, do not apply fabric softeners either. Bleach (even oxygenated) will shorten the lifespan of the microfiber items drastically. Fabric softeners tend to clog the pores of the material, which makes it useless. It is absolutely crucial to wash microfiber equipment separately from any other fabrics as their lint will be sucked up by microfiber thus making it unusable. In case of hand washing microfiber items, simply use a generous amount regular dishwashing liquid and let drip dry.
If one is looking to get the most out of their cotton mops, first and foremost piece of advice – don’t leave the mop soaked in a bucket of dirty water. This will cause rotting and the mop will develop a bad odour making it unusable for cleaning. A cotton mop can be left for a short while in clean water, but it must be wrung and dried properly. A cotton mop is best washed at the end of each cleaning session. No specific washing instructions there, but again don’t use strong bleach as it may cause hardening and brittleness of the cotton mop head after a while thus reducing its cleaning power.
Cotton mops can be machine washed with other fabrics, though not microfiber. When drying the cotton mop, it is better to spread out the mop head or untangle its strands. The drying mop should be stored in a well-ventilated area to prevent moulding. Alternatively, it can be kept in the mop bucket full of clean water. The average cotton mop will withstand anywhere from fifteen to thirty full cleaning and washing cycles before excess soiling and staining takes over the cotton strands. Professional cleaners can usually determine if a cotton mop needs replacing by the colour, structure and state of its strands – grimy, rotten strands emitting that specific musky odour are a tell-tale sign of due replacement.
Generally, there are three types of mops available to cleaning services providers in the field. These are cotton mops, microfiber mops and synthetic, also called green mops. Many professional cleaners have moved away from using natural cotton cleaning equipment due to a number of reasons. First of all, cotton farmers around the world have seen some rough time in the last few years, and production has dropped because of bad weather destroying much of the cash crop.This automatically raises the price of the commodity/material as there is more than demand than supply.
Second of all, cotton mops require a break in period as cotton contains natural oils which must dissolve before the mop reaches its peak cleaning capacity. Last but not least, cotton cleaning equipment is high-lint, which makes it impractical, even unusable in certain cases where perfect hygiene is required i.e. cleanrooms, healthcare facilities etc.A good alternative to cotton mops are so called green mops. In most cases, green mops are made of recycled materials providing the same cleaning and absorption properties like cotton.
Such green mops are commonly manufactured using variations of nylon. They don’t require a break in period, and they are notably cheaper than cotton ones. This will translate to fewer supply and material costs for professional cleaners. A good alternative to both cotton and synthetic cleaning mops is the microfiber mop. Industry specialists refer to such cleaning equipment as innately green as its manufacturing process is less energy intense. More so, microfiber cleaning equipment requires less water and cleaning chemicals due to its improved cleaning and absorption characteristics. Furthermore, microfiber cleaning equipment is lighter than other mopping systems, which makes it ideal for all professional cleaners. A cleaning process that is less laborious and straining on the body will reduce the chance of work related injuries.
Microfiber mops come in two main types – flat mops and string mops. Both kinds are lint-free. A flat microfiber mop is basically a cleaning pad with a handle. The string microfiber mop uses the same string structure as conventional cotton or synthetic mops. If cleaning services providers are tackling large areas that need efficient cleaning such as corridors or halls, it is better to use a string microfiber mop as it covers a larger area than its flat mop counterparts. Microfiber mops are made using non-organic materials, which means they do not develop mould or musky odours.
In recent years, a series of natural disasters like extreme weather events have created a shortage in the production of cotton. Cotton crops around the world have suffered greatly from adverse weather patterns and have subsequently decreased in numbers. The shortage of available cotton has also affected the professional cleaning industry, in the sense that manufacturers and cleaning services providers are looking for an alternative of cotton cleaning equipment. Traditionally, cotton has been the cheapest natural material suitable for use by professional cleaners.
A good replacement of cotton should provide the same or at least similar cost efficiency. The most common alternative to cotton is manufactured by blending different so called post-industrial materials. Usually, these are recycled rayon and poly synthetic nonwoven materials. Such synthetic replacements of cotton allow for seventy percent greater liquid absorption and retention properties. Increased absorption properties allow for increased cleaning efficiency while working with less material. Achieving the same efficiency with fewer materials is good news for cleaning services providers as this will also reduce the overall service and material expenses incurred by professional cleaners. Most of the synthetic mops available right now are classified as disposable or single-use, this is made possible by their relatively lower manufacturing costs.
The mops are usually general purpose, meaning they can be used for different cleaning chores, on a range of premises from homes to hospitals. Use of disposable mops in hospitals and other healthcare facilities is actually recommended as this will cancel out the risk of contracting and spreading pathogens or infectious diseases and bacteria. Many of the cotton alternative mops are also low-lint which makes them ideal for use in cleanrooms where immaculate hygiene is crucial. Another big advantage of synthetic mops is that they don’t require a break in period like cotton ones. The synthetic mop releases its full potential at first use thus allowing for higher quality, consistent cleaning results.
Cotton used for making mops usually has a small amount of natural oils in it, so the mop needs to be soaked in water for a period of time in order to become properly usable – a notable downside of natural cotton mops. Professional cleaners using synthetic mops frequently used them for cleaning grease stains and oil spills – the synthetic materials used in the mop seem to resist clogging caused by grease much more than natural cotton. This increases work productivity and reduces material costs.