MicroCare Corporation - Wipes: The Oldest Cleaning Tool Adds New Hi-Tech Capabilities

Reprinted courtesy of MicroCare Corporation
by Michael Jones

Wipes are everywhere, used every day. They come in a nearly infinite variety of materials, sizes and packaging, and they are used in every industry from repairing the family truckster to prepping the space shuttle. "Wipes are just another tool, just like a screwdriver," grumbles an exasperated Lynn Engler, Territory Manager with John R. Lyman Co. of Chicopee, MA. "But the best technician in the world can't do good work if he doesn't have the right tool for the job." Like Rodney Dangerfield, it seems that wipes "just don't get no respect."

In general, there are three broad categories of wiping products: woven flat wipes, nonwoven flat wipes, and swabs. In all cases, the cleaning surfaces are made of paper, cloth or synthetic materials. But it can be difficult to select the optimal product for the job. Here's a quick review of the choices and a few key attributes to leverage when selecting the best product for each specific task.

Background: Cleaning Criteria

With hundreds of choices and grades, selecting the most cost-effective cleaning tool can be tricky. John Corley, Division Manager at Lymtech Scientific, says smart customers look first for absorbency. "Engineers need to target the wipe to the cleaning solution being used," Corley says. "Some wipes will not absorb water; others are better with solvents, paints and lacquers." For example, polyester is petroleum-based, so polyester wipes easily absorb gasoline, fuel oils and alcohols. "The contamination defines the wipe to choose," Corley concludes...

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