InstructorJoel Craddock
TypeOnline Course
DateDec 1, 2023

Stay up to date on industry topics and
Subscribe to our Youtube Channel to catch all the cleaning and business related topics!

Mircrofibers: Color Coding for Greater Efficiency

Subscribe on our Youtube Channel to catch all the cleaning and business related topics!

00:00:08 – Ray

Our topic today, Color Coding Microfibers.


00:13 – Joel

Well, this is one of my favorite topics. Having been in this industry over 40 years, I have seen so many changes in the industry over time. One of the big things happens to do with color coding and the way that I was trained early on to clean, which we just use paper towels. The company wouldn’t buy the paper towels. We use the client’s paper towels. So, it would always increase their cost, which was great for the cleaning company because they were probably reselling the toilet paper & paper towels back to the customer. So, it was a spend thing for them. But it always asked the question, at least in my mind, “How often was a person changing out the paper towels? Were they going from one surface that they were wiping another one? “ Things like that. And I can remember microfibers first making an entry into the commercial cleaning sector and the amount of pushback that it was getting from business owners as well as managers in the field and everything saying, “oh, my gosh, the high cost, the high cost, the high cost.” This is going to be… And in reality, what it did was it helped lower the cost for the end user. Which is what we’re supposed to do in the cleaning industry is is look for ways to save our clients money.


01:32 – Joel

By not using their paper towels, we were allowing them to just have the paper towels for their company’s use. And then with the color coding, it wasn’t prevalent at first to make sure that you were using different colors on different surfaces. It was more just the technology was there and making sure that they were folded the right way and having multiple cleaning surfaces. Up to eight per properly folded microfiber, not crunching them up. Again, things we can talk about in a future podcast. And we even have videos of the proper folding technique in use up on our YouTube page. Using the colors to actually say something. And really, the biggest standard worldwide that I have been able to find thus far is just for the color red. Red, and most people, when they see that, they think danger. So, danger. What is the most dangerous surface in a person’s mind that can be cleaned in a facility? And that’s usually restrooms. Specifically, toilets and urinals. So, in my own cleaning company, I had decided that most people understand a traffic signal, red, yellow, and green. Red meaning stop; yellow meaning slow down; green meaning free to go.


02:49 – Joel

So, I developed a very simple color coding for my staff, meaning red. Okay, stop. Let’s see. Think. Think, what do we got to do? Those were the danger areas, the toilets and the urinals. Yellow, well, being caution. Well, what are the cautionary areas? Well, they tend to be break rooms, countertops, sink areas, in restrooms because they still carry a fair amount of pathogens and germs on the surfaces, but you want to make sure that you were using something a little bit more cautious and thought-provoking. And then green, go. Well, now you’re talking office areas. You’re talking personal desks, entryways, partition tops, credenza tops, tops of file cabinets. All those types of things that went along. And then the color blue, most glass cleaners out there on the market are colored blue. So that was, again, an easy fix. What I didn’t realize at the time that I was doing this was that at one point in my company, we had, I think, 17 different languages being spoken in our company (staff). And we were able to bring in people go through a couple of organizations in the Rochester market for people that were being brought in from some war-torn areas of the world. But they did not have English as a first language, and in many cases, not even English as a second language.


04:15 – Joel

So, color coding things made it so much easier for the training start up-time and getting the management and ownership of our cleaning company to work with the staff. And it was very easy, even with different languages, you could show them a red microfiber and how to fold it properly and the product that you wanted to pair with that. And then show them how to clean properly and protect themselves. And it helped us train people more effectively and more efficiently by having a standardized color system that we set in our own facility. And again, the only one that I’ve ever seen pretty standard worldwide is the red. But a lot of the other colors get used for different areas. Orange is another one that’s out there. And again, if you think of orange, you think construction areas. Again, another cautionary. So maybe that’s a slightly higher or maybe you use the orange in a restroom and bathrooms, and maybe use the yellow one in the cafeteria areas and the small coffee areas and nooks with… Kitchenette or anything like that.


05:20 – Ray

Just to clarify, there is no industry-wide, this is the color coding, but there is a general understanding in Western culture, the traffic light colors. You’ve institutionalized in your organization and would encourage other business owners to institutionalize so you can set a pattern, go toward greater efficiency, and a better cleaning service.


05:40 – Joel

I would agree, yes. There is not a standard other than the color red. I keep looking, and that could change sometime even after this podcast goes up. But right now, there is no standard anywhere in the world. I know some people that use different colors for different things. But as long as within other facilities that they’re using them. And I go one step further. I even let my clients know what colors we use for what surfaces. So, if they ever saw a red microfiber being used on their desktop, they know that person is not properly trained. As well as we all know, people go into the custodial closets. They’re going to grab something during the day because there’s a spill. And if they know what those microfibers have been used for, they may hesitate before picking up a red one to then go clean the President’s desk. Because he or she spilled some coffee. And they’re washable and they’re reusable. And the better quality microfiber you purchase, the longer and the more uses you get. And it’s not just the cause for cleaning, but they can also color code all the mops that are used in different areas of buildings.


06:49 – Joel

And I have a lot of clients that I even work on reselling mops to them for independent and assisted living facilities as well as restaurants. And I explain to them why the different mops? Because you don’t want to be mopping the restrooms in a restaurant and then going back and mopping the back kitchen areas with the same color. Because now you have cross-contamination. You have different chemicals being used as well. And you don’t want to do that. It just helps to keep things streamlined and keep everybody safer in today’s world.


07:20 – Ray

Just to close out that one topic, when you talk about using the correct mop in the correct place, you’re also talking about a microfiber mop head. Is that correct?


07:27 – Joel

Correct. They have both looped in as well as flat mops. On the back of the flat mops, there’s usually color tabs, and you can cut off all the colors that it’s not supposed to be used for, leaving only a single color. Again, I have an article that’s up on the website that you can read for more on color coding.


07:45 – Ray

Well, we’ll include the link to that in the transcript for this. Joel, thank you again. Appreciate the knowledge. and


07:51 – Joel

And thank you for the opportunity.