Definition : fiber Definitions
and Guide for the Textile and Apparel Industry
Definitions for the Clothing & fabric Industry
Microfiber (British spelling: Microfibre) is fiber with strands less than one denier. Microfiber is a blend of polyester and polyamide. fabrics made with microfibers are exceptionally soft and hold their shape well. When high quality microfiber is combined with the right knitting process, it creates an extremely effective cleaning material. This material can hold up to seven times its weight in water. They are also used for some cleaning applications, because of their exceptional ability to absorb oils.
Microfiber is constructed in a blend of 80/20 ratio of polyester/polyamideams. They are made from a warp knitted thread, composed of wedge-shaped polyester filaments with a core of nylon. The fiber's wedge shaped filaments follow surfaces, lift up dirt, and then trap the particles inside the fibers. The capillary effect between the filaments and nylon core creates a high absorbency, which in turn enables this cloth to clean and polish at the same time.
To clean a microfiber cloth, wash with warm soapy water and rinse well. The warm water opens up the fibers, allowing them to release the locked in dirt. Placing the cloths in a washing machine and then drying them in a dryer on low heat is also effective. No fabric softeners of any kind should be used as the chemicals clog up the microfibers, making them less effective. Bleach should also be avoided as it corrodes the fibers over time, making them less effective. Ironing is also potentially damaging.
Microfiber performance apparel has become a very popular alternative to cotton apparel for athletic wear, such as cycling jerseys, because the microfiber material wicks moisture away from the body, keeping the athlete cool and dry.
Microfiber materials, such as PrimaLoft are also used for thermal insulation as a replacement for down feather insulation in sleeping bags and outdoor equipment, due to its better retention of heat when damp or wet.
Care should be exercised when using microfiber for cleaning of sensitive surfaces. By nature it accumulates dust, debris, and particles inside its material. Sensitive surfaces (such as all high tech coated surfaces e.g. CRT, LCD and plasma screens) can easily be damaged by a microfiber cloth if it has picked up grit or other abrasive particles when you use it. The cloth itself is generally safer to use on these surfaces than more common cloths, particularly as no cleaning fluid is required for cleaning such surfaces. One solution to ensure safe cleaning of such surfaces is to wash and dry the microfiber cloth after each use, care should be taken to use prescribed washing and drying methods to ensure proper handling.
Microfiber mops are more costly than conventional mops, however some institutions find them more economical because they are longer lasting and require less effort to use.
Microfibers used in table cloths, furniture, and car interiors are designed to repel liquids and consequently are difficult to stain. Microfiber table cloths will bead liquids until they are removed, they are often advertised showing red wine on a white table cloth that wipes clean with a paper towel. Unfortunately, microfiber furniture has a tendency to attract and contain cat hair within itself.