Microfiber is composed of synthetic fibers that are microscopically thin. The most common types of microfibers are made from polyesters, nylon or a hybrid of polyester and nylon. Microfiber is used to make several kinds of textiles. The shape, size and combinations of synthetic fibers are selected for specific characteristics, including: softness, durability and absorption. Microfiber is commonly used for apparel, cleaning and textiles.
Microfiber towels are eco-friendly because they reduce water usage, the use of cleaning products and they thoroughly remove dust, allergens and bacteria. They also have a very long life span if you buy a high-quality microfiber. Microfibers are durable, scrub very well, can last for 1,000 wash cycles and have a high absorbency. A thousand wash cycles is a lot of cleaning, over a lot of years. They certainly last a lot longer than traditional ones.
Microfibers are a blend of microscopic polyester and polyamide ( nylon ) fibers that are split during manufacturing to create microscopic nooks which scrape up and hold dust, dirt and grime. They are 1/16 of the thickness of a human hair and can hold several time their weight in water. Impressively, the fibers have a positive charge. They attract dust, which has a negative charge, and holds it in their network of fibers.
What makes microfiber not eco-friendly is that the fibers used are polyester and nylon, which are made from petroleum. We are all well aware that petroleum products are a non-renewable and non-biodegradable resource. Nylon and polyester are made from petrochemicals, whose production creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas more powerful than carbon dioxide. There is also evidence to suggest that the manufacturing process of polyester and nylon can be hazardous in production to workers. It is unclear if the fabric used in microfiber cloths would be large enough to have toxic effects. The results have not yet been determined.
Though microfiber is not an eco-friendly material in composition or production, the fact that it saves water and cleaning product consumption is certainly a huge plus. Many environmentalists debate whether or not it is a viable option for those who choose to live green lifestyles. EnviroCitizen.org suggests that you do some research and decided for yourself whether or not you think it’s a good idea to practice the use of microfiber for textiles, cleaning tools, etc. Weigh the pros of being able to use microfiber with the cons its production and disposal has on the environment. The choice is yours.