Cleaning for the 21st Century

James Taylor, Marketing Director for EMEIA (Specialities) at Chicopee, looks at the rising demand for disposable yet sustainable cleaning solutions.

While cleaning is common practice around the globe, in many scenarios a ‘one size fits all’ approach is both inappropriate and ineffective. Fortunately, technology is changing the way that we clean, with new materials and production processes allowing care home managers to choose the most appropriate products that will deliver the best results.

One of the emerging trends in the cleaning industry as a whole is that of sustainability. This ranges from product packaging, to the contents of the solutions and even the materials themselves.

While sustainability is extremely important, particularly in a care environment, hygiene will always be a top priority. Therefore, products that deliver exceptional cleaning performance, yet are kind to the environment and, crucially, are also cost-effective, will always be in demand.

Technology has seen a new generation of materials evolve that can deliver on all of these fronts. The advent of microfibre in particular has revolutionised the way that we clean, despite it not actually being a brand-new development – the first commercially viable microfibre products were introduced in the 1990s.

Broadly speaking, the thinner the microfibre, the more effective it is. This is because smaller fibres give a superior surface coverage to capture and trap dust and bacteria without the need for detergents.

Leading manufacturers are adopting advanced production processes to create extremely fine fibres of around 1/100th of a human hair – approximately 80% thinner than regular microfibre – in order to maximise the cleaning performance.

Chicopee, for example, uses a patented procedure utilising high-pressure water jets to split the fibres. Rather than using chemicals, this ‘hydro entanglement’ method locks the fibres together in order to eradicate linting.

This process of ‘mechanical cleaning’ is extremely effective. Biolab tests, conducted in the UK in 2014 on Chicopee’s Micfrofibre Light cloth, showed that the microfibre cloth was able to pick up and remove 99.99% of microbes from a surface, making it an effective weapon in the fight against the spread of infections.

Acting as a team, the fibres of a microfibre cloth attach themselves to each speck of dirt or dust, picking it up and trapping it within the cloth until it is washed or rinsed. The fibres are positively charged while dirt and dust are negatively charged and are therefore attracted to the cloth as though it is a magnet.

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This ‘capillary effect’ has achieved impressive results in tests conducted both in the UK and the US, eradicating the danger of germs being spread onto the next surface to be cleaned and therefore helping to halt the potential spread of infection.

This effect can only be achieved through the use of splittable microfibre; regular microfibre cloths will simply move germs around on a surface without picking them up.

A further benefit is that cloths such as the Microfibre Light from Chicopee are discarded aſter use, therefore the time- consuming and costly process of laundering them is no longer necessary.

One high quality disposable cloth that boasts impressive green credentials is Chicopee’s J-Cloth Plus Biodegradable. As the name suggests, the cloth is fully biodegradable and compostable; when it is ready to be thrown away, it can be rinsed then disposed of in the food waste bin.

Independent tests show the cloth conforms to all the relevant DIN standards and the product carries the seedling logo, granted by DIN-Certco, as proof of its green credentials. In addition, it was the first compostable, biodegradable and Food Contact Clearance approved cloth available on the market.

The J-Cloth Plus Biodegradable is also fully compliant with the rules and regulations of the European Parliament on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.

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