Caring for Our Childen (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.6 Supplies

5.6.0

5.6.0.4: Microfiber Cloths, Rags, and Disposable Towels and Mops Used for Cleaning


Microfiber cloths should be preferred for cleaning. They should be laundered between each use. If microfiber cloths are not appropriate for use, disposable towels should be preferred for cleaning. If clean reusable rags are used, they should be laundered separately between each one-time use for cleaning. Disposable towels should be sealed in a plastic bag and removed to outside garbage. Cloth rags should be placed in a closed, foot-operated, plastic-lined receptacle until laundering. When a mop is needed, microfiber mops should be considered as a preferred cleaning method over conventional loop mops. Use of sponges in child care facilities for cleaning purposes is not recommended.
RATIONALE
Microfiber cloths are superior at picking up bacteria and holding it in the fibers. The microfiber mopping system offers many health and safety benefits. The microfiber mopping system is as effective as using the traditional loop mop method, yet there is a reduction in the use of and exposure to harsh disinfectant chemicals (2). Additionally, the microfiber mops are lighter and easier to use than conventional mops thus lessening the potential for worker muscle sprains (1). The system leaves only a light film of water on the floor that dries quickly, thus lessening the potential for worker injury for slips and falls on a wet floor. Materials used for cleaning become contaminated in the process and must be handled so they do not spread potentially infectious material (3).
COMMENTS
Sponges generally are contaminated with bacteria and are difficult to clean.

For more detailed information on microfiber cloths and mopping, see Sustainable Hospitals Project EPA Best Practices Publication Using Microfiber Mops in Hospitals, available at http://www.epa.gov/region9/waste/p2/projects/hospital/mops.pdf.

TYPE OF FACILITY
Center, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
REFERENCES
  1. Sustainable Hospitals Project, University of Massachusetts–Lowell. 2003. 10 reasons to use microfiber mopping. http://www.sustainablehospitals.org/PDF/tenreasonsmop.pdf.
  2. Sustainable Hospitals Project, University of Massachusetts–Lowell. 2003. Are microfiber mops beneficial for hospitals? http://www.sustainablehospitals.org/PDF/MicrofiberMopCS.pdf.
  3. Hoyle, M., B. Slezak. 2008. Understanding microfiber’s role in infection. Infection Control Today (May). http://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/articles/2008/11/understanding-microfiber-s-role-in-infection-prev.aspx.