Unger Professional Cleaning Blog

Stop Using Paper Towels and Pick Up a Microfiber Glass Cloth

Paper towels are undoubtedly useful and convenient when it comes to cleaning, and they also boast a modest carbon footprint – only about 0.06 lbs. of carbon dioxide each. So, while they may appear to be harmless when compared to other commercial cleaning tools, the massive amount of paper towel usage collectively contributes to deforestation and America’s growing waste problem.

The Dark Side of Paper Towels

How massive of a problem is this? The United States holds the title of being the most paper towel consuming country in the world. Expanding the outlook, in North America more than 51,000 trees are cut down to support paper towel consumption every day. Worldwide, consumers discard 254 million tons of paper towels each year. Unfortunately, the environmental impact of paper towel usage doesn’t stop there. The paper industry in general consumes more water than any other industry globally.

Finally, there’s the issue of the quality of clean a paper towel provides when used for anything other than cleaning up spills, especially when used in window and glass cleaning.

Winning the Battle Against Streaks and Lint

A tell-tale sign that windows and mirrors were cleaned using paper towels are the steaks and lint left behind. The trail of lint and residue left on the surface is an inevitable result of the tiny paper fibers that make up a paper towel. When a clean, streak-free finish is the goal, a paper towel will work against you every time.

Alternatively, using a microfiber glass cloth for cleaning will consistently deliver a streak-free, lint-free result. Why microfiber versus another type of cleaning cloth, such as cotton? Microfibers are knitted into a soft, reusable cleaning cloth that is 30 times finer than cotton, creating a cleaning surface packed with filaments that trap soil, remove bacteria and absorb moisture for streak-free cleaning.

Benefits of a Microfiber Glass Cloth for Window Cleaning

The US Green Building Council specifies microfiber products as part of their standards because they conserve water and reduce the use of disposable products. More environmentally-friendly than disposable paper towels, a microfiber cloth has numerous other benefits that make it an ideal alternative for cleaning windows and surfaces:

  • Absorbency: A microfiber cleaning cloth absorbs over six times its weight in water and when used dry, collects fine dust through static charge.
  • Durability: Cloths can withstand tough cleaning and scrubbing applications along with repeated washing cycles.
  • Reduced Chemical Use: Microfiber provides a streak-free clean without the use of harsh cleaning chemicals.

Making the Switch to Microfiber Cleaning

For organizations and facilities that want to make a paper towel waste reduction effort, you can start your own initiative in a few steps that require minimal effort:

  1. Establish a baseline of paper towel usage by reviewing purchasing records. This way you’ll be able to measure the success of your waste reduction efforts.
  2. Educate custodial staff and key stakeholders about the environmental and job performance impact of paper towel usage during cleaning to gain buy in.
  3. Invest in microfiber cleaning cloths that are the appropriate grade for your cleaning jobs. The Unger microfiber grading system allows consumers to compare the many different types of microfiber cloths on the market and select a cloth that is best suited for the unique requirements of your facility.
  4. Measure your success in terms of paper towel reduction and share this success with your custodial staff and key stakeholders.

Sourcing Microfiber Cloths for Cleaning

Unger offers a wide selection of professional microfiber cloths and glass cleaners to help your janitorial team keep windows, glass and other surfaces spotless. Our MicroWipe™ line offers ultra-fine microfiber in a variety of sizes and surfaces, perfect for cleaning ledges, frames, and sills on windows and mirrors.

By trading in your paper towels, you can keep your surfaces shining and streak-free while making strides towards more environmentally-friendly cleaning practices.

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