Q & A–Part 3 (The Magic of Microfiber)

Q & A--Part 3 (The Magic of Microfiber)

Question–What is the role of microfiber in infection control?
Answer–One of the greatest cleaning weapons in the war against harmful microorganisms is microfiber (ultra-fine synthetic fibers woven into cloth) in the form of mops, high dusters, carpet cleaning pads and cleaning cloths. In the same way that a terrycloth towel is more absorbent than a cotton t-shirt because of its thousands of tiny loops, microfiber tools supply more aggressive cleaning action because they have increased surface area and holding space for micro-soils.  I call it, the magic of microfiber.
One has to be aware that not all microfibers are created equal because there wide variations in the way microfibers are manufactured. Also, depending on the manufacturer, there can be a vast difference in the way they perform.
Testing has demonstrated that for non-enveloped viruses and also for spores, high denier microfiber can pick up contamination better than a cotton-based fabric from environmental surfaces even with only water as the wetting agent.
Another advantage of using the right kind of microfiber is that it can “catch and not release” contamination and won’t spread the contamination from surface to surface. Washing or scrubbing a surface physically removes soil and organic material such as blood and body fluids, and takes with it many (>90%) germs.
The guiding principle, in my reasoning, is always to remove germs if possible rather than merely killing them with poisons (disinfectants); then, when necessary, use the least amount of the mildest disinfectant or other product that will do the job, because “stronger” often means more toxic to people and the environment.
Microfiber helps physically remove the food and moisture necessary for microorganisms to survive, but better grades of microfiber (those with very dense weaving and fiber configuration) can even remove large quantities of microbes, including hard to kill spores (esp., C-diff). Use microfiber with a disinfectant solution for best results against a wide array of MDRO’s (multi-drug resistant organisms).

About Darrel Hicks

J. Darrel Hicks, B.A., is the author of Wiley Publishing's "Infection Prevention For Dummies", and is nationally recognized as one of the top experts in infection control. Darrel Hicks is also the Past President of the IEHA and is an active member in AHE where he holds the designation of CHESP. View all posts by Darrel Hicks

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