By Jim Flieler, VP of Sales for Charlotte Products Ltd

Here at Charlotte, we’ve been proponents of microfiber cleaning tools for a long time. While it may seem that most of the cleaning industry has made the switch to microfiber because of its many benefits, the majority of cleaning workers are still using traditional textile tools, like the cotton string mop. As buildings continue to face a raging global pandemic, we thought it was a good time to take a closer look at the ways microfiber can help clean more efficiently and prevent cross contamination and the spread of infection on surfaces. That’s why we recently hosted  a webinar on the topic called Stop Spreading Soil, Start Spreading Knowledge with guest speaker, Par Ricketts, VP of Business Development for Nuance Solutions (NuFiber Cleaning Solutions Brand). Below, we share some key takeaways to help any facility better understand the ways microfiber can provide a safer, healthier and more complete clean.

What Is a “Soil Spreader”?

A soil spreading tool is a cleaning tool that actually ends up taking soil, dirt or bacteria from one area and pushing it around a surface rather than removing it in the first place. The most obvious soil spreader in your custodial closet is a single cavity bucket with a cotton string mop. Some of the disadvantages of single bucket mop systems with cotton string mops include:

  • Spreading soil
  • Cumbersome to use
  • Wastes chemical
  • Projects poor image
  • Labor inefficient

Par calls himself a recovering soil spreader, because like many people in the industry, he spent most of his career using traditional cleaning tools like a single cavity mop bucket with a cotton string mop. “We now know these tools are archaic, ineffective and actually spread germs rather than making the surface more sanitary,” he says. 

Benefits of Microfiber

Microfiber leaves no residue and it holds more dirt, dust, water and liquid. That is because microfiber is made of thousands of hooks. When it moves across a surface, it grabs and collects the soil and bacteria. A conventional fiber like cotton does not collect, but rather emulsifies and then spreads the soil around, leaving residue. In addition, microfiber releases cleaning solution onto a surface quickly. Because microfiber is so efficient, it also becomes an ergonomic option for workers because repetitive motions are cut down. They also weigh significantly less than a cotton mop, especially when that cotton mop is wet with dirty water.

Considerations for Switching to Microfiber

Any change to a cleaning department can seem threatening to the culture, and a switch to microfiber is no different. Many workers have been using traditional cotton string mop systems for decades and are skeptical of any new tools or products. The benefits of microfiber should be taught to all cleaning personnel from the very beginning so that they can feel comfortable with the change and also so that they are aware of the benefits of the change. Some facilities can’t transition overnight. At least by creating the awareness that there are better alternative methods out there starts opening your team up to new ideas.

Some systems mandate you have access to laundry. This may affect the choice you make. You will want to look at the type of laundry access you have in your facility before making a commitment to fully switch to microfiber. If you do not have access to laundry or a budget to install laundry, you could consider some systems that include hand-washing tools and care options.

Laundry Recommendations for Microfiber

When cared for properly, microfiber can last three to five times longer than traditional textiles like cotton blends.Caring for your microfiber is relatively straightforward, however you may want to follow these common microfiber care tips:

  • Don’t intermingle microfiber with other textiles. 
  • Don’t use fabric softener with your microfiber because fabric softener can coat the hooks in the fabric, making them ineffective.
  • Don’t use bleach with your microfiber, which reduces the lifespan of any textile. 
  • Don’t use extended heat with your microfiber. A simple quick spin dry cycle is enough to render your microfiber dry.

Color Coding Microfiber

We recommend implementing a color-coded system with the adoption of microfiber cleaning tools. Color coding is really important, especially with infection prevention goals in mind. Color-coding your microfiber cleaning tools reduces or eliminates cross contamination. You will want to choose a different color cloth for different surfaces and/or cleaning tasks in your facility. 

The industry standard color-coding goes by the following system:

  • Red: high-risk areas
  • Yellow: low-risk restroom areas
  • Blue: all-purpose cleaning
  • Green: food service

Early on when microfiber first was introduced to North America, some companies suggested that microfiber could be used without any kind of chemical. While there is some effectiveness without chemicals, the proper use of chemicals with a proper microfiber system is essential. When matching chemistry with your microfiber, understand what you want to accomplish and pair it accurately. The magic of pairing chemistry with the proper tool is the way you get the best result. If you are considering a switch to microfiber and want to find a good quality neutral cleaner that will best fit with your new tools, reach out to your Charlotte Products expert at to learn what’s available. 

Want to learn even more about microfiber? Don’t forget to watch the full webinar, Stop Spreading Soil, Start Spreading Knowledge, with guest speaker, Par Ricketts, VP of Business Development for Nuance Solutions (maker of NuFiber Cleaning Solutions). NuFiber is also a Gold sponsor of our new Charlotte Products Training Center.