Product Spotlight

Lint-free wipes myth: The reality revealed

01 Oct 2015

Posted by John Corley

A clean wipe folded in on itself

In any "clean room" such as a hospital, laboratory, industrial warehouse or even a paint factory, cleanliness and/or sterilization is incredibly important. Having lint-free wipes, meaning wipes without particulates, seems like a great idea for keeping these areas clean. However, in reality, lint-free wipes don’t actually exist. Read on to learn why and to see a few available alternatives.

Why Lint-free Wipes?

We find that customers ask for lint-free wipes because they require a sterile environment or equipment. If you own an industrial business, being clean is crucial to the everyday operations of your company. For example, when injection molding a plastic piece or producing a high-end metal part, any lint or particulate can lead to blemishes or imperfections in the finished product.

In a new line of business, the EPA may also require control of particulates, air flow, humidity and other factors relating to sterilization. Furthermore, unwanted particulate could foul sensitive equipment, leading to costly repairs.

Do Lint-Free Wipes Exist?

In reality, there is no completely lint-free wipe. You can expect a small amount of particulates to be on any wipe you use. When you ask for a lint-free wipe, what you are likely looking for is a wipe that will get the job done as quickly as possible with as little particulate as possible, and 100% sterility is not the primary goal. If you own a high tech company, you may be using the very best wipes already. In other less sterile environments, however, you may be relying on a paper towel or hand sanitizer wipe to clean up your applications. If that’s the case, a switch to using any style clean wipe will yield improved results with less particulate left behind.

Lint-Free Wipe Alternatives

So, since there is no true lint-free wipe, what are your alternatives? For the very best performance, we recommend a sealed edge knitted polyester wipe, which has continuous polyester knitted fiber and is extremely low on particulates.

Another option is a polyester-cellulose mix, blended with non-woven fibers. This type of wipe can absorb more liquid than the knitted polyester wipe, but it will also release more particulates.

A third alternative would be non-woven wipes with natural fibers such as rayon that are hydroentangled(spunlace) that will, by nature, have small fibers and will have particulates at a higher degree. They may have other benefits as well, such as softness or being biodegradable. Nevertheless, they are still much cleaner than a cotton rag or a cellulose wipe, such as a lens tissue or paper towel.