It is important in on site laundries to look closely at the care and maintenance of Microfibre mops and cloths, with a particular emphasis on effective laundering procedures and protocols.
Manufacturers agree that Microfibre need to be washed separately from other fabrics in a dedicated wash cycle. If Microfibre is washed with towelling or other fabrics, it will pick up all the lose fibre and hair in the wash which will greatly affect its efficiency. Other risks include cross contamination and shrinkage and fibre damage from incompatible chemicals and high temperature during the washing and drying processes.
The ideal and lowest cost solution is to purchase Commercial laundry equipment with wash programs dedicated to Microfibre. The more efficient the machine the less the cost to you as Microfibre can be washed and processed quickly which means that your stock holdings of cloths can be minimised. Commercial frontload washers start at 6kg capacity, f or an example a10KG Front load washer and dryer can process several hundred 30gm cloths and mops an hour while higher capacity Industrial fully programmable machines with heat are applicable for larger facilities. Machine selection is critical with the focus on programmable wash cycles, minimum water use, maximum soil extraction and fast throughput. Domestic machines and top loaders should be avoided for many reasons including durability and spin speed. Extraction is critical as Microfibre tenacious holds on to soil and minimum spin speeds of 1100 RPM and 300 G are essential.
Disinfection is critical as cloths and mops are contaminated with microorganisms. Australian NHMRC guidelines are vague and refer to the Australian Standard AS/NZS4146—2000 Laundry Practice as a guideline for laundering fabrics. However, this standard is now 17 years old and may not reflect current technology. It recommends thermal and chemical disinfection where heat cannot be confirmed or maintained.
Drying at correct temperatures is critical to the life and performance of microfibre cloths and mops. The most frequent complaints from cleaning managers relate to loss of dimensional stability and melting and fibre damage from commercial laundries and gas dryers set at too high a temperature. Every brand of cloth is different and manufacturers recommended drying temperatures range from 60C to 95C depending on the nature of the cloth. Consult your manufacturer's guidelines and launder and dry with care. Laundered cloths should be regularly audited for cleanliness and deterioration while cloths used in healthcare and food preparation may need to be regularly sampled and swabbed for bacterial growth as part of infection control procedures.
Regardless of the nature of your facility your Microfibre maintenance program should be about minimising risk, protecting investment, improving safety and maintaining performance.