What is Microfiber?
Microfibers are tiny fibers that have been slit into millions of finer fibers that are no thicker than one hundredth of a human hair. The special slitting process produces an ultra-fine fiber with wedge shape filaments and a core of nylon. The wedge shape, the nylon core, and the smaller size fiber are the key to their effectiveness. When these tiny fibers are woven together into a cloth through a unique weaving method, the result is a powerful cleaning tool. Each cloth consists of tens of thousands of tiny storage compartments that lift the dirt up, trap the waste and leave a clean streak-free surface. Thy nylon core within the microfiber form tiny cutting edges that break up surface dirt and easily absorb and remove oils and other grimy substances. The only solvent you need is water!
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Microfiber is a fiber with less than 1 denierper filament. (Denier is a measure of linear density and is commonly used to describe the size of a fiber or filament. Nine thousand meters of a 1-denier fiber weigh one gram.) Fibers are combined to create yarns. Yarns are knitted or woven in a variety of constructions. While many microfibers are made of polyester, they can also be composed of polyamideor other polymers.History
Production of ultra-fine fibers (less than 0.7 denier) dates back to the late 1950s, using melt-blown spinning and flash spinning techniques. However, only fine staples of random length could be manufactured and very few applications could be found. Experiments to produce ultra-fine fibers of a continuous filament type were made subsequently, the most promising of which were run in Japan during the 1960s by Dr. Miyoshi Okamoto. Okamoto's discoveries, together with those of Dr. Toyohiko Hikota, resulted in many industrial applications. Among these was Ultrasuede (also known as Alcantara), one of the first successful synthetic microfibers, which found its way onto the market in the 1970s. Microfiber use in the textile industry then expanded. Microfibers were first publicized in the early 1990s in Sweden, and saw success as a product in Europeover the course of the decade.In 2007, Rubbermaid began a line of microfiber products for American markets, the first major company to do so.Functional uses & Market
<1>Household Cleaning and Commercial Cleaning Market
Microfiber products used for consumer cleaning are generally constructed from split conjugated fibers of polyester and [[polyamide]]. Microfiber used for commercial cleaning products also include many products constructed of 100% polyester microfiber. Fabrics made with microfibers are exceptionally soft and hold their shape well. When high-quality microfiber is combined with the right knitting process, it creates an extremely effective cleaning material. This material can hold up to seven times its weight in water. Microfiber products have exceptional ability to absorb oils, and are not hard enough to scratch even paintwork unless they have retained grit or hard particles from previous use.
Microfiber is used in many professional cleaning applications, for example in mops and cleaning cloths. Although microfiber mops cost more than non-microfiber mops, they may be more economical because they last longer and require less effort to use.
<2> Car, Automobile Detailing and washing Market
Microfiber is widely used by car detailers to handle tasks such as removing wax from paintwork, quick detailing, cleaning interior, cleaning glass, and drying. Due to their fine fibers which leave no lint or dust, microfiber towels are used by car detailers and enthusiasts in a similar manner to a chamois leather.
Microfiber textiles designed for cleaning clean on a microscopic scale. 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%. Microfiber cleaning tools also absorb fat and grease and their electrostatic properties give them a high dust-attracting power.
Microfiber cloths are used to clean photographic lenses as they absorb oily matter without being abrasive or leaving a residue, and are sold by major manufacturers such as Sinar, Nikon and Canon. Small microfiber cleaning cloths are commonly sold for cleaning computer screens and eyeglassesNotice
Microfiber is unsuitable for some cleaning applications as it accumulates dust, debris, and particles. Sensitive surfaces (such as all high-tech coated surfaces e.g. CRT, LCD and plasma screens) can easily be damaged by a microfiber cloth if it has picked up grit or other abrasive particles during use. The cloth itself is generally safer to use on these surfaces than other cloths, particularly as it requires no cleaning fluid. One way to minimize the risk of damage to flat surfaces is to use a flat, non-rugged microfiber cloth, as these tend to be less prone to retaining grit.
Cleaning textiles made of microfiber must only be washed in regular washing detergent, not oily, self-softening, soap-based detergents. Fabric softener must not be used. The oils in the softener and self-softening detergents will clog up the fibers and make them less effective until the oils are washed out.
Environmental and safety issues
For most cleaning applications they are designed for repeated use rather than being discarded after use (an exception is the precise cleaning of optical components where a 'wet' cloth is drawn once across the object and must not be used again as the debris collected and now embedded in the cloth may scratch the optical surface). In many household cleaning applications (washing floors, furniture, etc.) microfiber cleaning fabrics can be used without detergents or cleaning solutions which would otherwise be needed.