Popularized for its use in cleaning products, microfiber has a uniquely softness that has led to the rise of microfiber clothing and accessories. Microfiber is also quite durable. It is also both reasonably absorbent and water repellent. Due to its impressive electrostatic qualities, microfiber is also used as a filtering mechanism. This property has caused a recent surge in interest in using the fabric as a protective face mask material.
History of microfiber
Textile manufacturers have been experimenting with extremely low denier fabric fibers since the early 1950s. Although the first attempts to produce ultrafine fibers were largely successful, controlling the length of the fibers produced was difficult. This significantly limited the potential applications of the new textile technology.
The first major breakthrough in mass-scale microfiber production came as textile manufacturers moved away from melt-spinning, one of the primary production methods for other synthetic textiles, and began using bi-component polymers containing multiple types of textile plastics. These polymers have proven to be much stronger than single-component plastics. This reduced the breakage that had previously occurred during the extrusion of extremely fine textile fibers.
In the 1960s, a famous Japanese textile company began mass production of microfiber fabric for the first time. Dr. Mioshi has proven to be the primary architect of the microfiber revolution. With the help of other friends, the Japanese textile engineer who achieved real fame discovered several types of microfiber fabrics, including ultra-suede fabric, which was one of the first microfibers.
With the exception of ultra-suede fabrics, the use of microfiber fabrics remained very limited until the 1990s. Practically overnight, microfiber has become a popular clothing material across Europe. Additional microfiber applications have also been created in the cleaning and industry areas. For this reason, Europe is commemorated with the development of the first commercially successful microfiber fabrics.
Structure of microfiber
Due to its relatively high tensile strength, it is possible for polyester to be formed in a wide variety of shapes. The core of most microfibers is polyester. These polyester cores are usually star-shaped.
Textile manufacturers then placed the polyamide fabric in the spaces between the “dots” of these polyester fibers. Polyamide is much less dense and has less tensile strength than polyester. Therefore, it is difficult to transform polyamide into complex shapes. Therefore, this textile product acts as an ideal filler.
Polyamide fiber provides volume to the fabric. Together with polyester, it creates the structure of microfibers. When you use microfiber cloths for cleaning, polyester is responsible for the brushing action, while polyamide provides absorbency. On the other hand, it improves the thickness of the fabric.
Production of microfiber
Because the diameter of microfibers can be as small as 0.25 den, textile manufacturers cannot extrude polyester fibers used in microfiber production through conventional nozzles. Instead, they use long, metallic pipes. The resulting polyester fibers are allowed to cool before being melted into tiny polyamide strips using heat.
At this point, it is possible to dye the microfibers or subject them to chemical treatments that increase heat resistance or provide other desirable qualities. The finished microfibers are then woven into long sheets of fabric and transported to the facilities that produce the end product.
China is the epicenter of the world’s synthetic textile production. As a result, the majority of microfiber products in the world originate in China, while the United States and the European Union are also important microfiber producers.
While producing this fabric, microfiber fabric manufacturers aim to expand the usage area of this fabric by producing it to form a whole with suede, velvet and polyester fabrics.
Microfiber fabric wholesalers, on the other hand, mostly give these fabrics to cleaning companies in wholesale. These companies also bring them in a form that we can use and offer them for sale.
Difference between microfiber and cotton fabric production
In the last decade, microfiber has become the fabric of choice for most of the specialty cleaning industry. High-tech fabric manufacturers say it offers a number of benefits over traditional cotton. But many facilities and cleaning managers still stock their cleaning cabinets with both cotton and microfiber cleaning cloths.
While cotton is a natural fiber, microfiber is made from synthetic materials, typically a polyester-nylon blend. Microfiber is very thin. It is 1/100th the diameter of a human hair and about one-third the diameter of a cotton fiber.
Cotton is breathable, soft enough not to scratch surfaces, and very inexpensive to purchase. Unfortunately, it has many downsides: It repels dirt and debris rather than picking up, and it’s made of organic materials that can harbor odors or bacteria. Also, cottonseed oil disperses, dries slowly and requires a break-in period to leave lint behind.
Microfiber is highly absorbent. It can hold up to seven times its weight in water. This is also very effective at actually collecting and removing dust from a surface. It also has a long lifespan and lint-free when used and cared for properly. Microfiber has only a few limitations. It comes at a much higher upfront cost than cotton and requires a special wash.
But cleaning experts say microfiber is clearly superior to cotton when placed side by side.
Microfiber fabric usage areas
Microfiber fabrics are used in a wide variety of different contexts. Here are a few examples of the way people around the world are using this unique fabric:
Clothing and accessories
The primary properties of microfiber that make this material attractive for clothing and accessories are its softness, durability and moisture-wicking properties. Microfiber, which is mostly used in the production of women’s skirts and jackets, is also preferred because of its resistance to stains. Some types of microfiber also come reasonably close to the hand of leather textiles, making this fabric popular for straps, purses, bags, and other accessory items that would otherwise have real or faux leather.
Because microfiber is extremely absorbent and durable, fabric manufacturers use it to make all kinds of different towels. Microfiber is an incredibly popular towel material, from bath linens to kitchen towels and washcloths.
Microfiber, although slightly less common, is also used to make sheets and pillowcases because of its absorbency and uniquely softness. Furniture manufacturers sometimes use microfiber as flooring material because of its absorbency and moisture impermeability. Microfiber is also a relatively common material for rugs and blankets.
Microfiber is uniquely suitable for cleaning. The original designers of this fabric combined polyester and polyamide to create a synergy of durability and absorbency.
Thanks to the unique design of its fibers, the microfiber cloth can hold more dirt than other types of fabrics. Scientific research suggests that microfiber can even be useful for repelling dangerous germs and viruses from surfaces.
The electrostatic properties of microfiber make it an excellent filtering material. As a result, this substance is used as an industrial filtration fiber in a variety of different applications. Some building contractors and builders also use microfiber as an insulation material because of its high fiber density.