Potential Benefits of Cleaning with Microfiber vs Cotton Mops and Cloths

It’s time to learn how to create labor savings by cleaning with microfiber vs cotton. When it comes to choosing the right cleaning materials for your buildings, there are certain aspects you may want to consider: cost, efficiency, safety and cross-contamination risk. Thankfully, these topics are easily addressed. For summary, here are the top 5 benefits of using microfiber mops and cloths to clean your buildings. Using microfiber may decrease:

  1. Labor time: this resource typically saves time and labor, since workers don’t have to empty and refill buckets or wring out the mops, while the ergonomic handles help to reduce strain on the workers themselves.
  2. Cross-contamination: microfiber lowers the risk of cross-contamination with color-coded cloths and mops by using one pad per room; a color-coded system can also aid in limiting the spread of germs.
  3. Spending: microfiber pads usually withstand 500 standard washes, whereas traditional mop heads only last around 50 to 60 washes.
  4. Chemical and water usage: microfiber traps dirt, dust and bacteria at microscopic level, reducing the usage of water and chemicals all around.
  5. Environmental impact: microfiber is an excellent option to reduce environmental impact due to the decreased water and chemical usage.

Can microfiber really help more than cotton with labor savings?

Yes, microfiber usually does help with labor savings over cotton. If you’re considering using microfiber for your facility then you’ll need to know a few key aspects on how microfiber works. This includes recognizing how it can help with labor savings and how you’ll need to take care of your microfiber mop or cloth to extend its longevity as much as possible. So, you’ll want to know:

  • How microfiber works
  • How to take care of it properly
  • What surfaces to clean with it
  • Impact of microfiber in Senior Living

Let’s begin with addressing the first point: how does microfiber work? Great question. As you may have guessed from the name, microfiber contains tiny fibers made up of synthetic materials. Knit together, these fibers are able to access small grooves and crevices as you clean that larger fibers can’t, trapping bacteria, viruses and particles with its static-charged fibers. Due to how microfiber is created, they also have a high absorbency level, which means you can clean more, and clean more quickly, using a microfiber mop or cloth than if you were using a regular cotton or polyester mop or cloth.

How effective is microfiber vs cotton?

They (microfiber) use far less chemicals because the tiny fibers effectively pick up and trap 99.54% of dirt, dust and bacteria at the microscopic level using water alone. Standard cotton mops only pick up 67% of dirt and will re-deposit 33% of that back onto your floors1.”

cleaning washer and dryer icon

According to the CDC...

 “Launder mop heads, floor cloths, and soiled cleaning cloths at least daily (e.g., at the end of the day) and allow them to fully dry before storage and reuse2.”
There are three main types of microfiber tools you’ll most likely find useful in Senior Living, including:

  • Dust mops. You use a dry mop to remove all of the loose particles on the floor prior to the damp mop. Use on any hard floor such as wood, tile, ceramic, vinyl and linoleum.
  • Damp mops. Follow up after dust mopping with a damp mop for a more in-depth cleaning and to disinfect the surfaces you’re cleaning. Like the dust mops, you can use on any hard flooring.
  • Cloths. Use to dust, disinfect, and clean anywhere you typically would use a regular cloth or paper towel. This includes any non-carpeted areas such as baseboards, bathroom surfaces, countertops, flooring, door handles, etc.

Creating labor savings in Senior Living with microfiber

There are a variety of reasons why a facility may choose to switch from cotton to microfiber in Senior Living. Staffing shortages and budget concerns are creating turmoil in Senior Living, costing precious time and resources as facilities attempt to create more resources out of thin air. Identifying time, money and labor savings is critical, and microfiber is one solution we see buildings turning to due to the low cost and efficiency of it.
benefits of microfiber cleaning bucket with chemical supplies

Takeaway tip: Facilities are choosing to reduce their cross-contamination risk without the need to empty and refill water buckets by using a fresh microfiber pad for each room, which may save time, energy, and labor strain.

Does microfiber cost less than cotton?

Labor savings is an overwhelming need in the Senior Living industry – now more than ever before. That’s why researching and purchasing the correct tools is absolutely essential. Switching to microfiber mops and cloths may not only help you save time but also help to reduce strain on your staff and even save you money in the long run. We are here to answer three essential questions in terms of microfiber savings:

  • How much time will microfiber save me vs cotton?
  • Addressing common issues with microfiber
  • What microfiber brands should I choose?

Microfiber vs cotton comparison

Benefits and Costs Cotton Damp Mops Microfiber Damp Mops
Washings Per Mop w/out Bleach 50 500
Chemical Costs $1.32/day* $.055/day
Water Costs $.48/day** $.02/day
Labor Efficiency (sq ft/hour) 5,000 23,000
Overall Cleanliness 67.75% Microbe Removal 99.9% Microbe Removal (w/ detergent cleaner)

Shop Our Microfiber Brands at Direct Supply

microfiber vs cotton problems with non-recyclable symbol on blank background

Microfiber pollution problems to consider

We wish there would be a one-cloth-fixes-all solution to your cleaning needs, but it is important to consider all the facets of utilizing microfiber, and that means addressing microfiber problems. So, we’ve told you what’s great about them, now it’s time to determine whether or not they are the right fit for you and your facility. This type of cloth, while taking the industry by storm, is not without its disadvantages.

The table below outlines what microfiber problems you may want to consider before making the switch from cotton to microfiber.

Common negatives of microfiber Common solutions to microfiber issues
Environmental: microfiber isn’t recyclable Microfiber reduces water and chemical consumption by up to 95%3, which drastically reduces environmental impact
Pollution: plastic threads come off in the washing machine and potentially ends up in the ocean Fibers can add to pollution, but less water is used to wash it
Aesthetics: Microfiber can leave streaks when reaching end-of-life This serves as a great way to know when it’s time to order more
Efficiency: Microfiber stops working as efficiently when reaching end-of-life This is a common problem with all cleaning tools, and there isn't a true "fix" other than to replace the failing item

Microfiber brand comparisons: what are the best brands to use?

We have already discussed the effectiveness of microfiber vs  cotton cleaning materials. However, not all microfiber is alike. It is important to determine which brand of microfiber best suits your facility’s needs. Direct Supply offers three different brands for you to choose from, such as our own Direct Supply brand® as well as PerfectClean® and Rubbermaid®. Other microfiber brands you may want to investigate include:

  • Golden Star®
  • Boardwalk®
  • Impact® Products
microfiber mops vs cloth mops and mop heads on floor with two Rubbermaid buckets
If you are interested in learning more about the pros and cons of microfiber vs cotton and which brands to use then we encourage you to reach out to your Direct Supply representative.

Microfiber Brand Usage and Style Comparison

Product feature Direct Supply PerfectClean Rubbermaid
Coloring scheme Each color has its own function Each product comes in multiple colors Each color has its own function
Wet mop product size 18", 24", and 36" flat mops 12", 18", and 36" flat mop 11", 18", 24", 36", and 48" flat mops
Dust mop product size 18", 24", and 36" flat mops 12", 18", and 36" flat mop 11", 18", 24", 36", and 48" flat mops
Cleaning cloths product size 12" x 12" and 16" x 16" wipes 12" x 12" and 16" x 16" wipes 12" x 12" and 16" x 16" wipes
# of laundry cycles without Bleach 500 – 600 washes 500 washes 500 washes
# of laundry cycles with Bleach 250 – 300 washes 500 washes 200 washes
Folded-over edge mop pads? Yes No No
Antimicrobial? No Yes No
Bucketless system option? No Yes – SDX 50 or SDX 60 Yes - Pulse
Lifetime warranty (hardware)? No Yes No

Find more labor savings solutions for Senior Living!

Switching to microfiber isn’t the only labor-saving solution we have seen your peers utilize. By digitizing your building records, creating checklists and tasks on your phone and managing your staff efficiency through TELS, the labor savings potential of your building is closer than you think. We encourage you to reach out to your Direct Supply representative to learn more about how TELS Platform® and TELS Building Services® can save you time and money. Contact us today for a demonstration!

1. https://ecomm-cdn.directsupply.cloud/marketing/promotions/resources-page/category/pdf/microfiber-solution-program.pdf
2. https://www.cdc.gov/hai/prevent/resource-limited/supplies-equipment.html
3. https://rcp.structpim.com//media/18028/hygen-microfiber-selection-guide.pdf
Related notes:
*Assuming diluted chemical cost of $.055/gallon, filling 4 gallons/bucket and changing bucket every three resident rooms
**Assuming water cost of $.02/gallon, filling 4 gallons/bucket and changing bucket every three resident rooms
***Assuming 10 minutes/mop bucket change and the bucket is changed every three resident rooms