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Until recently microfibre cloths were most commonly
used by hospitals and universities now these fantastic multi-purpose lint-free
cloths are an essential item in any valeting kit.
Microfibre is the choice of the professional. More and more professional valeting companies are realising the benefits of these superb cloths. Ultra absorbent and ultra soft.
What is a microfibre cloth
Microfibre (U.S. spelling: Microfiber) is fibre with strands of less than one denier usually 0.1 denier, and have between 90,000 to 221,000 microscopic fibres per square inch. When looking at even the smoothest of surfaces under a microscope, you can see that it’s really a series of peaks and valleys, all of which can trap small particles of dirt. Microfibre is designed to penetrate those tiny openings in the surface to pull out and hold dirt, making for an unbelievable level of cleanliness on any surface.
As you can see, a strand of cotton is quite solid and round. As a result, it simply pushes the particles around.
Microfibres are exceptionally soft and hold their shape well. When high quality Microfibre is combined with the right knitting process, it creates an extremely effective cleaning material. They are also used for some cleaning applications, because of their exceptional ability to absorb oils and other fluids.
The superior cleaning and water absorbing ability offered by many microfibre fabrics happened quite by accident. Microfibre yarn development in the 1980s and early 1990s was specifically intended to stimulate competition for natural yarn materials, like cotton and silk. One of the early adopters of Microfibre yarn was Olsson Cleaning Technology, Sweden, who discovered that splitting the fibres made the fibres 'grab' and improved the performance of cleaning towels. By 1994, the semiconductor industry was introduced to Microfibre cleaning cloths, which could be used to wipe down the clean rooms used to produce memory, computer processors and other microchips. The benefit was huge because it was no longer necessary to use cleaning chemicals and the Microfibre was nearly lint-free.
Automotive toweling Microfibre is created by combining two Dupont fibre inventions: polyester and polyamide (a nylon byproduct). The polyamide is used as the core of the hybrid fibre (generally 20 to 30% of the content) and the polyester is the outer skin (70 to 80%). Each fibre has specific qualities that, when properly blended, can be used to weave functionally specific fabrics.
How do microfibres work
Microfibre is constructed in a blend of 80/20 ratio of polyester/polyamide. They are made from a revolutionary warp knitted thread, if you look at a cross section of the fibre itself you will see that it is composed of wedge-shaped polyester filaments arranged around a core of nylon with 'spokes' between the polyester filaments. The fibre's wedge shaped filaments follow surfaces, lift up microscopic bits of dirt, and then trap the particles inside the fibres between the filaments and the spokes. While wiping across liquids the capillary effect between the filaments and nylon core creates a high absorbency that pulls the liquid into the fibre. Many Microfibre yarns will absorb seven to eight times its weight in water, nearly double the capacity of cotton. All of this enables the cloth to clean and polish at the same time.
Microfibre cloths that work well for polishing and glass cleaning seem to have the same basic characteristics. First, the towel should be 100% lint free. In most cases, this means the weave is going to have a shorter nap than a general purpose towel. A good glass towel will leave as little water as possible so the droplets will evaporate without leaving a spot. A good glass towel also needs scrubbing power to successfully remove the residues that cause streaking. It's the same characteristic that makes a good polishing cloth. If a polishing cloth has soft, fuzzy nap, it will not be as effective at removing polishes and waxes.
For best results when cleaning glass, mirrors and other shiny surfaces: use a spray of Crystal Clear to clean the surface followed by a dry cloth to buff up the surface for an effortless smear-free shine. Tested on our own vehicles with perfect results.
There are two different Microfibre toweling weaves that make good drying towels: terry cloth and waffle weave. A short terry loop or one of the offset (longer on one side than the other) terry loops work well for drying. If you choose a Microfibre terry cloth with a heavy, plush nap, you won't be able to wring it out when it gets wet. The best drying towel material is the Pique(A tightly woven fabric with various raised patterns, produced especially by a double warp.) fabric that mimics a waffle pattern. It has the ability to pick up water like nothing else. The ridges act as hundreds of little squeegees which push the water up into the cups giving the fabric time to absorb.
Maintaining you Microfibre cloths
Because of the special qualities of microfibre cloths they do need to be taken care of in a specific way if you want to maintain those special qualities but it is quite simple. Microfibre cloths are able to absorb far more dirt and other particles than other cloths and that means that they need to be washed regularly to release the particles so that they remain useful and working at optimum performance.
They can be washed in a dilute solution of liquid detergent and water, the water should be either cold or warm but certainly not hot.
You can wash them in a washing machine but powder
detergents may not dissolve fully and the particles could get trapped
in the microfibres, likewise fabric conditioners will become lodged in
the fibres which will reduce the absorbency of the fibres.
So nice and simple, a cold or warm solution of a liquid detergent with water or you'll end up with a really soft cloth that doesn't absorb anything.
Again drying is really simple, treat as you would with delivate clothing preferably just allow to dry naturally but certainly never dry with anything over a medium heat, again this can affect the fibres and the cloth will be damaged.
After washing, the cloth will look like new and will be ready for use again and again.
There are now specific microfibre detergents made especially to wash the cloths without any of the bleaches and softeners commonly found in laundry detergents.
Also ideal for numerous uses around the home
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