Microfiber products have been around for years now. They first gained acceptance in Europe. Several years ago we began seeing microfiber towels on the shelves of major retailers and microfiber cleaning products in hospitals. Now it looks like microfiber is becoming accepted in the retail and commercial marketplaces on a larger scale.
While microfiber towels have been applauded for years in the industry for their longevity, superior cleaning, and non lint attributes, the price tag held many people back. As the economy and overall business climate has become more competitive people have begun to realize that a towel that lasts longer is a better investment. Initiatives to become more “Green” have prompted many to reduce paper usage. Rising energy costs over the last several years have also made many people take a second look at microfiber and take the plunge as microfiber doesn’t require near the energy to dry as an all cotton towel.
Where are microfiber towels being used today? All sorts of places you might not have thought of before. Many food service establishments such as restaurants and clubs are now using microfiber terry towels as their standard wiping towel. Microfiber glass towels are being praised for their great absorbency and no lint cleaning on glassware and silverware. Many car washes are now using microfiber towels, in more than one style for a variety of specific applications. Hospitals have been using microfiber terry towels and mop pads for years, now microfiber honey comb towels are being used in surgery, replacing 100% cotton towels.
Will Microfiber towels totally replace cotton? No. But there is no doubt that the acceptance of microfiber towels will grow in the years ahead.
“I need a napkin that is 100% cotton or a Blend , that is durable, and that doesn’t fade” This is a request I recently received from a potential customer. Decades ago cotton was the only option available for napkins and tablecloths. Today the better polyester products on the market address the short falls of an all cotton product. I like to call it “Synthetic Cotton” because much of the polyester product today has the look and feel of cotton with the benefits of a synthetic product.
Napkins and tablecloths made from Murata Air Jet Spun polyester offer the following benefits over 100% cotton:
- Consistency – Because polyester wrinkles less and holds color better than all cotton the polyester product will provide a more consistent look. The best a 100% cotton product will ever look is the day you take it out of the carton. A blend or 50/50 product begins losing the cotton fiber immediately once the product is laundered and eventually leaves the napkin being a limp piece of polyester.
- Non linting – The better polyester napkins and tablecloths on the market do not lint and leave fibers on clothing. Cotton by nature loses fiber and does lint. There are some better cotton products that will lint less but are priced at a tremendous premium.
- Cost to own – The better polyester products will outlast cotton many times over. Add in the fact that polyester dries faster and there is a nice energy savings as well. Finally, chemicals such as chlorine bleach do not destroy the fibers of polyester like it does cotton.
- Absorbency – The few places that I still see a cotton napkin generally have so much starch in the napkin that it makes it really hard to say that cotton absorbs better than polyester. In fact the better polyester on the market today does absorb, oftentimes better than cotton.
What are the thickest, most plush bath towels that you offer? This is a common question that I receive from a number of our current and potential customers. Over the last several years there has been a trend towards heavier and thicker towels. Weights up to 22 pounds per dozen are now a common offering from many suppliers in the wholesale linen industry. These heavier towels range from 30×60 to 40×70 in size.
Just because a towel is bigger and heavier may not make it the best selection for customers and guests.
- Just as important as the weight is the construction of the yarns used in the towel. Towels made with longer staple yarns made on shuttle-less looms absorb better and last longer than towels made with shorter staple yarns that have more impurities.
- The drying time and cost of energy is more with these heavier towels. Many laundries can attest to this point. Have you ever stayed in a hotel and the towel felt damp? When this is the case it is usually one of the oversized towels.
- Thinner towels often ABSORB BETTER than the heavier towels. I test and evaluate many of the products we offer and find that the thinner towels absorb better.
- Cost! Generally a towel that is lighter in weight will cost less.
There will always be a demand and in some cases a legitimate need for the heaviest towel available but all too often the next step down will satisfy the needs of the user just fine.