Every wipe design has different attributes which aim to deliver higher quality performance and longer-lasting results. In particular, ‘lint-free’ wipes are becoming a trend in search. Despite being factually inaccurate, the idea of a ‘lint-free’ wipe is in high demand for procurement teams who are looking to beat the trace of debris when completing cleaning tasks. When we review the data on Google Trends, it shows that over the last year 2019-2020 in the UK, ‘lint free cloth’ has had hundreds of searches.
More often than not, consumers are being advised to use ‘lint-free’ wipes for applications. This has led to misconception and has caused a growing number of professionals seeking the solution. The truth is that ‘lint-free’ doesn’t exist as it is impossible to remove all particulates. Fortunately there are other related wipes available which can help you achieve your cleaning goals.
In this article we will examine the lint-free myth and what alternatives are out there for cleaners to use, so they can get the best wipe to fit their needs. Let’s take a look.
The lint free myth
The term ‘lint-free wipers’ evolved in the early 1960s and has been linked to cleanroom and industrial wipes ever since. It refers to the short, fine fibres which separate from the surface of cloth or yarn during processing.
Surprisingly people still use the phrase ‘lint-free’ to advertise and sell wipes. What they mean when they say this, is a wipe that has been built to achieve higher cleanliness and hygiene levels – a wipe which is able to prevent visible loose fibres from contacting surfaces. This idea has created growing interest and demand across different industries. However these advertisements can seem confusing and misleading, since they are not available on the market.
According to the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology, various particle generation tests, under both dry and wet testing conditions, shows that even the highest quality wipes can never be completely lint-free. All wipes leave a small amount lint, as cotton is a fibre.
There are a variety of ways that suppliers try to advertise their products as ‘lint free’, but they are all factually inaccurate. However, just because a product is falsely described as lint free, doesn’t mean it won’t perform well in a given environment. In all likelihood, the low-fibre properties will still guarantee a cleaner and faster finish – but no matter what fabric you use, you can’t escape the presence of lint!
What’s the alternative?
Although 100% lint-free wipes are not possible, there are a variety of related products which are treated in the same way, with materials like polyester, nylon and non-woven wipes.
These boast a unique set of characteristics that help to minimise particle generation, including micro-embossed fabric material, heat sealed laser-cut edges, chemical resistance and a highly absorbent structure. Each one helps to form a tighter weave that is able to trap surface residue like a magnet and reduce the amount of small fibres from separating, resulting in a truly low lint solution.
Why choose low lint?
Low lint wipes are another virtually lint-free example and offer a range of high quality performance features, such as increased strength, durability, absorbency and contaminant control benefits. They are one of the most effective cleaning solutions for tools, surfaces and machinery within the industrial and print sector, guaranteeing a fast finish.
Why would you need a low lint wipe?
When it comes to critical or technical cleaning, a low lint wipe is the ideal solution. It can be applied to a wide range of applications and offers precision wiping with first use. So you can speed up cleaning processes and maximise productivity.
No matter what industry or sector, a low lint wipe can be obtained in multi-purpose designs, helping you to complete cleaning tasks more efficiently. In many cases they are highly durable and absorbent, ensuring little to no debris is left on surfaces and dust, dirt and loose fibres are all picked-up with ease.
The automotive sector in particular requires low linting as the chemicals and binders in other products can impact the way paint is applied to the body of the car in a production line. It is also extra crucial to use low lint wipes for cleaning tools, surfaces and machinery properly to avoid disruption to operations and prevent contaminants getting onto paint finishes, helping to avoid costly re-runs.
Low lint wipes are also essential in food service as it is important to clean down drums in food processing and to make sure any residue left on preparation and eating surfaces is cleared away. Not only do low lint wipes ensure surfaces are completely free from unwanted spillages or debris, they can also deliver longer-lasting hygiene results. This is important for reducing the risk of cross-contamination.
In addition, low lint wipes are required for technical cleaning in the aerospace industry as they have naturally strong fibres which are best suitable for cleaning heavy duty maintenance equipment and machinery. For example, low lint wipes can be used in static charge-sensitive areas and are great for absorbing solvents where critical cleaning is needed.
In future, if you’re in need of a cleaning wipe solution, be sure that you are choosing the right one. We hope this article has helped you make sense about the truth on lint-free wipes. Whether you are looking to enhance your technical or clinical cleaning tasks, there are plenty of other low linting wipes which will achieve the right results.