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Towels: Secret Weapons in the Sanitizing Fight

Roxanne Hassman
Roxanne Hassman | August 5, 2021

Did you know that the towels you choose for sanitizing could be your secret weapons in the fight against COVID-19 and other illnesses?

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been heightened awareness about the importance of proper cleaning and sanitizing/disinfecting methods to stop the spread of disease. Restaurants, senior living facilities, schools, stores, etc. are being asked to vouch for the fact that their tables are clean and germ free. Many are using special signs to indicate that a table has been freshly and properly sanitized.

When it comes to towels that are used to apply sanitizers to surfaces, not every towel is made equal! Not every towel is a secret weapon! (Some towels could actually sabotage your sanitizing efforts!)

Towels that should not be used for sanitizing include: cotton, rental and paper towels. Studies have shown that they can deplete the sanitizer actives (ppm) by as much as 40%*. It has also been proven that sanitizers can bind with the fibers of these cloths and not be released back onto the surface that you are trying to sanitize. The reason for this is that these types of towels contain a negative charge that bonds with the positive charge of the sanitizer, which then locks the sanitizer into the towel where it cannot be released back onto the surface in sufficient levels. Either way, you should avoid using these towels to sanitize your surfaces.

It is perfectly safe to use cotton, rental and paper towels to clean. For the sanitizing step, however, you should always use a towel that is proven compatible with the type of sanitizer you are using (quat, chlorine or hydrogen peroxide based). There are many towel options that have been introduced over the past decade that are compatible with sanitizers.

In summary, by using the proper sanitizer-compatible towel you will not only be keeping everyone safe from the spread of germs, but also be saving time and money! You will not be depleting the ppm of your sanitizer solution, so you will not have to make new solution as often. You’ll be freeing up more of your time for other tasks while you rest assured that you’re getting the best clean for you and your customers.

*Engelbrecht, K., Ambrose, D., Sifuentes, L., Gerba, C., Weart, I., & Koenig, D. (2013). Decreased activity of commercially available disinfectants containing quaternary ammonium compounds when exposed to cotton towels. Journal of Infection Control, 41(10) 908-11. doi:10.1016/j.ajic.2013.01.01

Check out this flyer featuring sanitizer-compatible towels!



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