Let’s face it, wipes and rags are pretty similar. From soaking up spills to wiping down surfaces, they basically perform the same task. Many businesses tend to use one over the other, and the reason? Because it’s always been that way! It’s time to challenge the status quo – In this article we’re putting wipes and rags head to head. We’ll be comparing wiping, absorbency, storage footprint and value, answering once and for all, which is better – rags or wipes?
Wiping can be defined as the act of cleaning or drying a surface. You might wipe something to remove chemicals, grease, water or food.
Rags can be made up of different types of fabric, cotton, polyester, nylon, rayon or various blends. All of these materials vary in their absorbency and wiping performance. Because rags are derived from clothing and bedding, wiping is a secondary utility. Because of this, rags have a tendency to smear.
Wipes are usually made from spunlace nonwoven composite, derived from renewable wood pulp fibres. Spunlace construction also reduces lint, the fine and short fibres which remain on a surface after wiping. Unlike rags, wipes are designed specifically to wipe.
The primary use of wipes is to wipe – They perform this task efficiently and effectively with minimal lint or residue.
This round is similar to wiping, here absorbency relates to the rag or wipes ability to soak up spilled liquid.
Rags are made from various materials which can limit its ability to absorb spills. As a result more rags may be required than wipes to soak up an equivalent spill.
Many Wipes use embossing which can aid to lift liquid upwards, away from the surface. Stratex offers DefendaWipes in two thicknesses, 60gsm and 120gsm. Both are equally absorbent by weight.
Again, most wipes are designed with wiping and absorbency performance in mind. Generally wipes will absorb liquids up to twice as fast, with double the absorbency compared with rags.
In this round we’re going to look at wet and dry strength.
Rags are made from fabric, resistant to tears and abrasions. Additionally strength is not compromised with soaked with fluid.
Wipes – we can’t speak for the strength of all wipes but most are strong. To demonstrate our DefendaWipe strength we often ask our clients to grab each end of a DefendaWipe and pull – it’s difficult to tear. Replicating this test using a wet wipe produces a similar outcome – a true testament to their strength.
Materials and construction has come a long way – strength between rags and wipes is comparable.
Storage limitations can also be a deciding factor for many businesses. Buying in bulk is economical, but could be unviable at the cost of space.
Rags – how many can you fit into a bag? Bags of rags are packed tightly – once they’re opened rags can spill out onto the floor, risking contamination.
Wipes are manufactured and packaged more efficiently than rags. For example our DefendaWipes will take up less space than a similar size and quantity of rags. Wipes are commonly available in boxes or rolls, and can be stored in dispensers to minimise the risk of contamination and wastage.
Wipes are manufactured and packaged more efficiently than rags. On average, a box of wipes will take up less space than a similar size and quantity of rags.
This round will be split into the cost to purchase the product as well as the cost for disposal. No full marks because if you have a spill and have neither wipes or rags, you’ll probably be able to find something that’ll work for clean up in a pinch.
Rags offer excellent value and disrupt the waste cycle, avoiding landfill by giving old clothing a second life. However used rags result in heavier contaminated waste, increasing disposal costs.
Wipes offer great value compared with rags. Wipes are lighter than rags and have superior absorption efficiency, resulting in lower contaminated waste disposal costs.
Rags will be cheaper to buy, but for two identical spills cleaned with wipes and rags, less wipes will be required compared with heavier rags. The cost of contaminated waste disposal is calculated by volume and weight, resulting in reduced disposal costs with wipes.
We won’t do a star rating for this round, but it’s an important one. When you’re dealing with a product where no two items are the same, Rag quality will be dependent on the source fabrics – we’ve already mentioned how different fabrics can affect absorbency. Errant zippers and buttons that make their way into rags could damage surfaces or cause injury. Another factor is rag cleanliness; they are washed but there is always the risk of contaminants. With wipes, you know what you’re getting with consistent production quality, performance, absorbency – you get the idea.
Wipes offer good value and are superior to rags for wiping, absorbency and storage footprint.
Wiping: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Absorbency: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Strength:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Storage Footprint:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐| Value:⭐⭐⭐⭐
TOTAL SCORE: 24/25
Rags are great value, but at the cost of added weight, reduced absorbency and wiping efficiency, affecting disposal costs.
Wiping: ⭐⭐⭐ | Absorbency: ⭐⭐⭐ | Strength:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Storage Footprint:⭐⭐⭐| Value:⭐⭐⭐⭐
TOTAL SCORE: 18/25
Wipes emerge as the clear winner in this comparison. For more information on the right solution for your needs, contact Stratex on 1300 991 180 or email email@example.com.