Two friends are arguing about rags. One says they have to be all
cotton to work well, and the other says 30 or 60 or 80% cotton and the
rest polyester will work well too.
Who is right?
They need to start collecting rags for a big cleaning job they have
I'll let you guess who is the husband and who the wife.
IMO, 100% cotton works best, but some of the blends are OK. The more cotton
the better. Depends on the use also. Cotton absorbs liquid better, for but
some polishing/wiping applications, soft surface is more important than
absorption. Pure polyester sucks.
The supply houses sell boxes of recycled surgical or terrycloth towels
that of course have been washed and disinfected. They're very affordable
and of good quality. I wash them again when I'm done using them unless
there is something really icky on them. :-)
Watch the HF flyers. I've had good luck with the Indian-origin white
terry towel bundles they sell. Much better than simple rags for
cleaning- absorb a lot more, and have some scrubbing capability. I
think, with coupon, I paid about 4 bucks for a bundle of 20? or so.
Unless the cleaning agents you are using are so nasty that the rags need
to be disposable, they launder without disintegrating pretty well. And
they are well-hemmed, so you don't get loose threads contaminating the
work, like you do with cut up old towels and similar.
The only thing that worries me about the towels imported from India, is
that there may be some kind of weird bug or critter hiding in them that
hitched an international ride. Besides, Indian critters talk funny. :-)
If what you are wiping is water based, the more cotton the better.
Moisture regain or amount of water fiber can hold is about 15% for
cotton versus less than 1% for polyester.
If you are going to reuse the rags, some polyester in the blend will
increase durability of the fabric.
Depends on how the polyester is combined with the cotton. If the
polyester forms the core of the cotton fiber its probably just as good
as cotton. You find this in underwear and sports shirts. If it say
polyester /cotton blend but still feels like cotton it probably OK.
Used a lot rags in the in the Navy when I was a boilerman.
All cotton, and one of the more expensive "consumables"
80 pound bales, cost a bit over a hundred bucks a bale.
I've had big rag containers for years. Sometime I have to fight with
the wife to get my 30 gallon rag wastebasket filled.
She wants to keep old clothes or give them to Goodwill.
It was easier when the kids were running around here.
They'd tear clothes up so they were only good for rags.
ALL rags can serve a purpose.
Even polyester will soak up a lot of oil from the garage floor.
Weave is important too.
Some all-cotton jeans are almost worthless.
To answer your question, cotton-polyester blends work well.
30% polyester works on 30% of jobs.
60% polyester works on 60% of jobs.
100% cotton with the right weave works on 100% of jobs.
Use that as your measure.
Best rags are all-cotton T-shirts. 100%, A+, 5 Star.
They'll clean the garage floor and spit-shine shoes to a mirror.
At least neither of you want to throw them in the trash. YOu'd be
surprised how many good clothes I've fount when I was looking to VCRs
(The most expensive thing I ever found was an electric wheel chair,
controlled by a joystick, worth 1000 dollars a man in the business
told me in the condition I found it (which was good. It ran fine,
battery still charged, but a little of the foam rubber needed
refurbishing. Not only did it run fine, the only way I could get it
home was to sit in it and let it take me the block to my house. I kept
tripping when I tried to walk next to it and push the joystick. )
I gave it to the MDS or something, Musculary Dystropy or Multiple
I think I'd see the guy who owned it, sitting in it on nice days,
often with another guy in a wheel chairs. It's a normal apartment
building. I don't know if they lived on their own or not, but I
figure the guy who used this chair died, and the maintenance man from
the apartment didn't even consider calling the MDS or Goodwill, and he
just threw it away.)
Good, I talked to my male friend and he said he only plays to do clean
up 30% of the dirt.
100% cotton. The local Goodwill store throws out any clothing that is
dirty (it wouldn't pay for them to wash it). I stop in now and then and
ask for some cleaning rags. If they ask I specify 100% cotton, if not I
just throw out the polyester blends in the trash. Some days they have a
big pile going to the trash and I can pick through it myself. I take
them home and wash them before I use them. I normally get 1 or 2 trash
bags full so I'm good for a little while.
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