Your Supplies: Microfiber vs Cotton

by Lawton Brothers | Sep 07, 2018

microfiber vs. cotton
When it comes to industrial cleaning is microfiber a better choice than cotton? It depends on the kind of cleaning job. The janitorial departments of many companies prefer to use the more modern microfiber for their cleaning needs, while others only use cotton.

What’s the Difference?

The main difference between the two materials is that cotton is woven from natural plant fiber and microfiber is manufactured from man-made polyester and nylon, blended to form a very tightly woven material. Cotton has several disadvantages because it is organic and microfiber has drawbacks as well.

Because cotton is a natural fiber, bacteria and viruses can multiply and grow freely on its surface, feeding on the organic properties of the cleaning cloth or mop. Mold and mildew can also quickly grow on cotton cleaning cloths in a warm and humid environment, especially if they remain wet for an extended period.

Cotton mops, as well as cloths, can acquire an unpleasant odor. When using cotton for cleaning, it needs frequent disinfecting to make sure the fiber is free of bacteria, mold and mildew and to eliminate any odors. Cotton cleaning cloths can also stain quite easily and become unsightly-looking

Microfiber Is Great for Removing Pathogens

Because microfiber is not made of organic materials, it can remove more bacteria and viruses when disinfecting surfaces than cotton. This property makes microfiber very valuable for the healthcare industry where the threat of deadly infections are ever present and must be controlled carefully. Microfiber’s ability to remove pathogens is also useful for cleaning and disinfecting in institutions such as schools and colleges where colds and flu can spread rapidly through the student and staff population.

Cotton Has Its Uses Too

Cotton is inexpensive to buy. However, it’s not the most durable of cleaning cloths, developing holes and shredding with constant use. Cotton cloths can leave specks of lint behind when you clean a surface, which requires a second wiping down.

Cotton is useful for cleaning surfaces that would destroy a microfiber cloth, such as the rough and uneven surface of a brick or unpolished stone wall, stucco or cement.

Cotton, however, is invaluable when using cleaning chemicals such as bleach, because microfiber can’t be used in such instances. That’s because bleach destroys the fabric of microfiber cleaning cloths. For this reason, cotton is used in the food-service and hospitality industry because of the need for sanitization of food prep surfaces with bleach.

Microfiber for a Lint-Free Clean

Microfiber cleaning cloths last much longer than cotton and can withstand tougher cleaning jobs, however not on rough surfaces. It also doesn’t leave a trail of lint on a just-cleaned surface as cotton does. The downside to microfiber is that it costs significantly more than cotton and can’t be used with certain chemicals.

Microfiber picks up particles of dirt and other debris better than cotton and prevents smearing and streaking. When dealing with bodily fluids, such as vomit, in a setting such as a hospital, microfiber is used because of its ability to remove the vomit particles as well as the liquid effectively.

When using microfiber for cleaning less water is needed, as well as less janitorial chemicals to clean a surface. Because of reduced water usage, floors cleaned with microfiber mops dry much faster than floors mopped with cotton, which is useful for preventing falls and other accidents in a location with a lot of foot traffic.

Contact Us for More Information

At Lawton Brothers, we have been serving our Central Florida community with integrity and reliability since 1946. We are a family owned company and a leading distributor of janitorial supplies. We not only provide our customers with excellent quality, private label cleaning supplies, we also assist with the training of staff members on the most effective cleaning procedures for your facility. We offer training in all types of commercial floor maintenance as well as restroom care.

The highly trained technicians in our Service Center also provide quality equipment repair for our customers. We repair floor machines, vacuum cleaners, automatic scrubbers and other machines as well. We guarantee our work to be top notch and problem-free.

Contact us at 800-432-0813 or visit our website at for more information on our janitorial supplies, green cleaning, and other services. We look forward to serving you!

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