I should really buy stock in Morton’s because I take everything with a grain of salt. If I was reading a blog that tried to convince me that I needed different colored microfiber cleaning cloths to clean my house, I’d assume the person writing it was just trying to convince me that I need more cloths. Of course I am… but cut me some slack, I’ve got a family to feed and I sell a product that’s inexpensive and lasts for a really, really long time. Too long if you ask our accountant.
Kidding aside, I’m about to suggest that you use different colored cloths for different areas and different tasks, but despite what I said above my motivation isn’t really to get you to buy something you don’t need. Our pricing is quantity based, but you can combine colors to get to a price break. So, it makes no difference to us if you buy 5 each of 5 different colors for 25 total cloths or 25 of one color. It’s the same price. So, now that we all understand there’s really no financial motivation for selling different colors hopefully we can put that salt back in the shaker and you’ll continue reading with an open mid.
Why Color Code?
Color coding is an easy way to prevent transferring bacteria from one area to another. This is known as cross contamination. Cross contamination causes infections. Preventing cross contamination is a big part of commercial cleaning (in fact, I just wrote an article on the subject for Cleaning and Maintenance Management Magazine). It’s also an important part of cleaning in hospitals and it should be important in your home. Think about it, you probably wouldn’t use a cleaning cloth on a toilet and then go use it to wipe down your kitchen counters, at least not on purpose. But how can you be sure that you’re not doing that? Mistakes happen.
Color coding can prevent that. You should use at least three colors of microfiber cleaning cloths. Use one color in the kitchen, another color in the restroom, and a third color for general cleaning in the rest of the house.
We have lots of colors of our 16×16 All Purpose Microfiber Towels. Pick 3 or 4 and stick with them. While the color coding program you implement can be custom to you, here’s a common color designation:
Blue: General cleaning and dusting
Here’s another thing to think about; laundering your cleaning cloths. We all know that bleach shortens the life of textiles and microfiber is no different. However, bleach is a great disinfectant and if you’re concerned about sanitizing your microfiber cloths you might try using a small amount of bleach when laundering your restroom cloths. Just understand that using bleach will wear the cloths out faster than just using detergent. You can wash them separately or use a pre-wash cycle with a small amount of bleach before adding in the rest of your microfiber. Only using bleach on your restroom cloths will prevent the rest of the cloths from wearing out prematurely.
Check out the April issue Cleaning and Maintenance Management Magazine for our article on using microfiber to prevent cross contamination in commercial cleaning applications. Here’s the link. Below is an infographic that we created on the subject:
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into preventing cross contamination. It’s important to teach cleaning professionals why preventing cross contamination is important, in addition to how to actually do it. The colors are not set in stone, you can customize them to suit your needs, but again, as a guideline, here are the colors we recommend:
Red: Sanitary Appliances
Yellow: Other Restroom Fixtures
Green: Kitchen and Food Prep Areas
Blue: Low Risk Areas like offices, classrooms and common areas.
Remember, it’s also important to keep your equipment clean and mind how you handle the dirty and the clean microfiber!
This is not our first blog post on this subject, but I swear, our method for getting streak free windows and mirrors is so good that I just have to keep telling people about it. We sell a set of 6 glass towels and two all purpose towels on our website and on Amazon. I was just reading some of the reviews from the last few days on Amazon and they’re pretty freaking awesome, I must say.
I love this one because the reviewer’s “eh” reaction to the glass cloths was the same as mine when I first got them over a decade ago. They’re not very impressive to look at but holy cow do they ever work well!
This reviewer describes the glass cleaning dilemma, and the solution, perfectly!
If you’ve read this far you might as well watch a quick video that shows what the method is… and then you might as well buy the best glass cleaning method ever (I mean, why not reward yourself for reading this far, right?).
Note: Mike mentions using cotton wet mops, especially in restrooms. We sent samples of our microfiber tube mop for Combat Cleanerz to try in place of the cotton mops and will report back after they’ve had a chance to use them.
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Why you should send out more supplies with your cleaning teams
How to work with a professional cleaning company to extend the life of your products
How many washes you should be getting out of your Microfiber products
In the interview, Matt mentions contracting with a commercial laundry to wash his microfiber and how he believes their equipment has extended the life of their microfiber. Refer to our recent article “Microfiber: Rent vs. Buy” for more on working with commercial laundries.
Often we get calls and emails from customers who ask how to care for their new microfiber towels, mops and dusters. There are a few guidelines that should be followed in regard to laundering microfiber and you can find more about the wash process here.
Today I wanted to focus on drying microfiber. If you’ve ever noticed that your microfiber has become less absorbent and less soft with age, it could be because you’re drying it too hot. Microfiber is durable, so durable that a microfiber towel or mop can last hundreds of washings when cared for properly. That said, since each fiber is so tiny, 1/20th the diameter of silk, it’s pretty delicate and can be damaged by heat. Take a look at that image to the right. It shows a cross section of a single fiber. Notice all the edges on the fiber, all the surface area? The edges give microfiber its scrubbing power and the surface area gives microfiber its absorbency. Those tiny little edges will degrade over time; the degradation is accelerated by heat!
Typical residential clothes dryers reach 170°F inside the drum. If you can avoid it, don’t dry microfiber on high heat. We recommend low heat or no heat if possible. The absolute best option is to let your microfiber air dry. Following these tips will help you extend the life of your microfiber.
Recently we were contacted by a vocational rehabilitation firm that works with a large grocery store chain. One of the grocery store locations had an employee that was suffering from back pain caused by mopping. Unfortunately this isn’t uncommon when people are paired with the wrong tools and asked to perform a repetitive task like mopping. According to OSHA back pain is the most reported injury affecting the cleaning industry. Obviously it’s in the best interest of employers to provide their employees with the proper equipment to prevent injury and fatigue in order to reduce workers compensation costs and promote a healthy work environment.
This grocery store wanted our recommendations for the proper tools for this employee to perform her duty without being reinjured and for other employees to prevent injury. Click here to see what we told them: Ergonomic Mopping