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Why is microfiber greener?

Environmental protection has become one of the biggest issues of modern societies. Though very complex, our understanding of environmental and climatic mechanisms is increasing. With it we are realizing that unless we wish to invite catastrophe through inaction, we cannot sustain the way of life adopted in most developed countries during the 20th century. For most household cleaning chores, microfiber allows our customers to get rid of cleaning chemicals, eliminating their harmful pollution. As an individual, adopting a greener attitude has become a matter of responsibility towards our future generations and also a matter of respect towards the living world. Green technologies are now available in many fields, such as in car industry or in construction, as a mean to replace the former more polluting ones.

Besides seeking cleaner methods of production for those technologies, it is sometimes those manufacturing advances that have a strong environmental impact. For instance, green cars are becoming electrified and designed using recycled components that will make its production less polluting and, in the same time, have a lower fuel consumption that eject fewer pollutants in the atmosphere. In cleaning applications, microfibers offer both of these advantages and to that extent offers a greener alternative than cotton and other fibers used for the same purpose. Intensive cotton production from which most of loop mops are made poses stress on the environment.

Because microfibers have created a little revolution in the cleaning world, their impact, besides being labor saving and cost saving, is environmental friendly. Microfibers textiles designed for cleaning are precision tools with remarkable efficiency that allow cleaning on a microscopic scale. Thus, according to tests, using microfiber materials to clean a surface leads to reducing the number of bacteria by 99% whereas a conventional cleaning material reduces this number only by 33%. In addition, microfiber cleaning tools have the ability to absorb fat and grease and their electrostatic properties have a high dust attracting power, hence making useless many conventional cleaning products. But until the arrival of microfibers designed for this purpose, an efficient cleaning could hardly be achieved without the help of various chemical products such as disinfectants and detergents.

The use of these household products is still deeply rooted in our culture of cleaning even though they are responsible for heavy water pollution that endangers the ecosystem and threatens our health. Yet for most household cleaning chores, microfiber allows us to get rid of those products, eliminating their polluting ways. While ordinary loop mops use a large amount of water to dilute cleaning chemicals, microfiber mops efficiently require a small quantity of water, which in some area has become a scarce resource. In fact, too much water decreases the efficacy of microfiber. As for laundering, compared to conventional mops, microfiber mops are easier to launder and do not require specific washing machine or cleaning products. They take much less space in washers and dryers and also reduce the use of water, detergent and energy. Recycled plastic products are used to produce microfiber, which in turn can be recycled. Critics may argue that because microfibers are synthetic fibers that have a carbon footprint during their production process and take a very long time to degrade if abandoned in the nature.

Polyester and nylon, which are widely used to produce those fibers, are originally derived from petroleum or other hydrocarbons. But recycled materials are representing a growing share of new microfiber material production. Production processes have also been improved to reduce rejections and limit their environmental impacts and we are experimenting with polyesters that can decompose through sun light exposure, dampness and bacterial activity. It is also worth noticing that good quality microfiber mops and cloths are very resistant and unlike conventional mops they can sustain several hundreds of washing without losing their efficiency.

To be efficient microfiber mops require a negligible quantity of water. In any case, every fiber, whether vegetable or synthetic, can pose serious challenges to the environment as soon as they are massively produced. Cotton, which is commonly used in loop mops, cannot be considered environmental friendly. Requiring a lot of water and many pesticides to grow, cotton crops have caused pollution and serious damages in many regions (like in the late USSR Aral see area). Transgenic cotton culture which is a way to reduce the use of pesticide, causes other hazards such as its uncontrolled proliferation and the development of new forms of pests. In many ways, microfibers, provided they are of good quality, are much greener cleaning materials than any other similar products and should be adopted by most people concerned about their environment.