Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Microfiber becoming tool of choice to keep hard floors clean

September 19, 2010
Hard-floor cleaning is one of the most important responsibilities in facility maintenance. The cleanliness of floors not only affects a building’s overall appearance, but it also affects workers’ and occupants’ health.

Dirty floors in a retail facility can cause patrons to leave in disgust, while dirty floors in kitchens and hospitals can lead to the spread of bacteria and germs that make people sick.

To keep either of these scenarios from happening, floors should be cleaned daily using the proper tools.

The most common tool used to clean a floor is a mop.

In order to provide the best cleaning possible, mops have changed and evolved over the years. Today, mops can be found in many shapes, sizes and textures, and are designed for a variety of tasks.

The newest type of mop on the market is made with microfiber. Microfiber mops are designed to make cleaning easier and safer.

Thin the name of the game
Microfibers themselves are so thin that they can reach into nooks and crevices of floor surfaces to remove dirt better than traditional mops, and they have been proven to remove bacteria by up to 96 percent.

The fibers also trap dirt and dust and keep them from spreading to other areas.

In addition, microfiber mops are more absorbent than traditional mops, holding up to seven times their weight in water. However, they are still lighter than regular mops, which means less strain and worker fatigue, increasing productivity.

Microfiber mops also are more environmentally friendly and are approved for use by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). This is because microfiber mops require less water and cleaning chemicals than traditional mops.

This reduces the risk of harmful toxins getting into the air and helps to conserve water.

Microfiber mops can also help an organization earn points toward LEED certification.

Keeping up with new trends
While facility managers and building service contractors (BSCs) have begun to incorporate microfiber mops into their collection of floor cleaning tools, they are always looking for the newest ways to increase productivity, improve working conditions and save money.

To keep up with these demands, manufacturers are designing microfiber mops in a variety of sizes, styles and textures. These include microfiber flat mops and string mops, which offer all of the benefits of using microfiber.

Another trend in microfiber mops is the addition of color-coding. The color-coding of products is designed to help prevent cross-contamination. Several types of microfiber mops are now manufactured in red, green, blue and yellow, for example.

These colors represent specific areas in which the mop should be used, such as:
  • Red mops are to be used only in restrooms.
  • Green mops should be used solely in kitchen areas.
  • Blue mops can be used for light cleaning jobs, such as non-carpeted office and classroom floors.
  • Yellow mops are intended for specialty jobs, such as high-traffic hallways, gymnasium floors and performance spaces.
By remembering to use the correct color-coded mop in the designated area, cleaning staff help prevent the spread of germs and bacteria, which in turn helps keep building occupants safe from illness.

It’s all flat
For cleaning large spills fast with minimal drag and no streaking, cleaning crews can switch to microfiber flat mops.

These mops, most of them made of durable, high-density looped pile, easily handle low-moisture cleaning and can absorb large amounts of liquid.

Microfiber flat mops feature all the benefits of microfiber, including the ability to dry floors faster than traditional flat mops. This makes conditions safer for both cleaning staff and building occupants, as it reduces the potential for slip-and-fall accidents.

A variation of the flat mop is a hook-and-loop mop pad that attaches to any standard pad holder. The best mop pad is made of high-density looped pile to prevent streaking and to clean without leaving behind any residue.

Both types of flat mops can fit into tight corners and underneath furniture, making them easy to maneuver in both large and small spaces.

String it along
A newer type of microfiber mop is the microfiber string mop.

String mops have been a common staple of routine maintenance, but they present hazards to both the cleaning staff and the building.

With the switch to a microfiber string mop, dry dirt stays trapped in the loops, while wet floors get dry faster with less streaking.

Most of these mops offer greater control while cleaning, and the microfiber loops are less prone to tangling during use.

While microfiber string mops have all the benefits of microfiber, the key benefit is that they are lighter than regular string mops and require less water, which lessens the risk of injury for everyone in the building.

Today, microfiber has become one of the most important floor cleaning tools in existence, thanks to its ability to improve a facility’s image while lowering costs, increase safety for workers, and reduce harmful effects on the environment.

However, even the best products require revisions to keep them in line with new customer demands. Fortunately, with options such as flat and string mops and the addition of color-coding, the future looks bright for microfiber mops.


Aileen Cleary is an assistant manager for Unger Enterprises. She can be reached by visiting www.ungerglobal.com or unger@ungerglobal.com.