The Microfiber Difference

This article outlines the structural differences between a conventional fiber cleaning cloth and microfiber. The elements necessary for each of these fibers to clean effectively is discussed taking the reader to the conclusion that cleaning methods must also be altered in order to achieve effective cleaning results.
Comparison of split Microfiber and Conventional Fiber showing superior ability of microfiber to hold dirt

Introduction

A microfiber cleaning cloth is structurally different from a conventional cleaning cloth, like cotton or bamboo.  This structural difference then dictates that the method you use for cleaning must also be different.

Structure

Conventional cleaning cloths are strands of single fibers woven together. The spaces between these fibers is limited; therefore, this type of structure relies heavily on chemically based cleaning solutions for breaking up dirt and debris. Polyester filament showing how spliting creates space between the filaments for capturing debris while cleaning A microfiber cloth is also composed of single strands. The strands, however, are much smaller. Additionally, the strands are split into even smaller components. The spaces created by these splits are small enough to contain minute traces of dirt and many bacteria.

Structure Dictates Method

Conventional Fiber

Due to the size of the fiber in a conventional fiber cleaning cloth, the cleaning action relies heavily on chemically based cleaning solutions. The solution facilitates breaking down debris. It can be sprayed onto the surface or applied with the cloth. After the chemical is applied to the surface, the cloth is used to absorb the cleaner from the surface. To produce a clean surface: the cloth should be rinsed with clean water, wrung out, and used to wipe the surface several times until it is clean.

Microfiber

The cleaning action of microfiber is in the cloth; not in a cleaning solution, as with conventional fiber cloths. When using a microfiber cloth; you, the user, become a primary component of the cleaning action. As you move the cloth over the surface, the cloth cleans. The split ends of the microfiber scrape away dirt and bacteria from the surface. The small size of the split ends means that they are able to penetrate minute cracks and crevices thereby cleaning areas that are unreachable with a conventional cloth. This cleaning action is facilitated with water. When you dampen a microfiber cleaning cloth the moisture creates channels for movement; like a highway or canal. This allows the dirt and bacteria to be transported from the surface you are cleaning into your cloth. A clean surface results when a microfiber cloth is damp enough to transport debris into the cloth; but not, saturated to the point of leaving the surface wet.  Any surface you are cleaning should dry very quickly in order to produce the best cleaning result. As one side of the cloth becomes soiled, you fold it over to a clean side. Once all sides of the cloth are soiled, the cloth should be washed; either by hand or separately in the laundry.

In Summary

Unlike a conventional fiber cloth, which is effective at breaking up and pushing debris around, this same debris can be absorbed into a microfiber cloth leaving the surface clean. It, however, requires that the user adapt to appropriate cleaning methods. Microfiber cleaning is different. Are you ready to change your cleaning methods?
Cynthia G. Powers

Cynthia G. Powers

Ms. Powers work life has been punctuated by experiences in sexual discrimination and harassment as well as living with the TBIs that resulted from others ramming their vehicles into her's. Her irascibility and keen analytical skills have been applied to military intelligence, market research, information systems design, and small business development.

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