The Benefits of Microfiber Mops, From a UC Davis Study

In 2002, the United States Environmental Protection Agency published a report, “Using Microfiber Mops in Hospitals.” The report states, “Using conventional loop mops for wet mopping of patient care areas has long been the standard in floor cleaning for janitorial operations in hospitals. However, the health care industry has taken a recent interest in evaluating hard floor maintenance techniques in terms of employee, patient, and environmental health.”

The study shed more light on the inefficiency of traditional mopping; “To reduce the risk of cross-contamination for patients, conventional mopping techniques require janitors to change the cleaning solution after mopping every two or three room— meaning that cleaning solutions (including both chemicals and several gallons of water) are constantly being disposed of and replenished.”

The report explains that facilities had begun using a “new mopping technique,” using microfiber materials.

The benefits of microfiber include:

  • It’s more absorbent than cotton; with a density that enables it to hold six time its weight in water
  • Positively charged microfibers attract dust
  • Microfiber’s tiny fibers are able to penetrate the microscopic pores of most flooring materials

Included in the report is a case study from the University of California Davis Medical Center (UCDMC), which identifies three motivations for changing the way its custodial staff maintain floors in patient care areas:

  • Reducing chemical use and disposal
  • Reducing cleaning times for patient rooms
  • Reducing custodial staff injuries and workers’ compensation claims (as the repeated motions associated with conventional mopping practices can lead to injuries)

UCDMC conducted a one-year pilot test, replacing all its conventional loop mops with microfiber mops in patient care areas. At its conclusion, the results were:

  • 60% lifetime cost savings for mops
  • 95% reduction in chemical costs associated with mopping tasks
  • 20% labor savings per day

Despite the initial cost of implementing the program, the net benefits of replacing conventional mops with microfiber mops were clear.

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