The Lowdown on Lint

“Are these wipers lint free?”

It’s a question that often comes up, regardless of industry, but before selecting a wiper, it’s important to understand how much (or little) lint is okay for the job you’re doing.

Glass Cleaning

While glass needs to be clear, it’s a relatively forgiving surface. Paper wipers are pros at getting a window clean without a bunch of streaks and lint.

Metal Prep for Painting

In order to prepare metal for good paint adhesion, you need a wiper with very low lint. Wipers for poly or cellulose fibers that have been bonded together with high-speed water jets (“hydro-entangling”) can provide the kind of cleanliness and resistance to solvents necessary for painting metal and cars.

Clean Rooms

While wipers used in glass cleaning and metal painting need to have low lint, the wipers used in clean rooms are in a whole other ballpark. In clean rooms, which are used for assembling electronics that can be easily zapped by particle contamination, “clean” doesn’t just mean neat and tidy: the air is filtered and workers are “gowned up” from head-to-toe.

The wipers used in clean rooms usually don’t contain cellulose fibers, but rather poly or nylon fibers; they are manufactured in a clean environment and certified for use in clean rooms.

Pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceuticals requires a high degree of cleanliness, although it’s not as strict as clean rooms (workers wear lab coats instead of coveralls). The wipers used in pharmaceuticals range from low-lint poly to hydro-entangled pulp and, while there are restrictions against packaging them in corrugated boxes, usually don’t require being manufactured in a clean room.

Printing

It’s important for wipers used in printing to be low-lint, otherwise lint particles can get on printing plates and cause blemishes on the print job. Many non-woven wipers have proven to be clean and solvent-resistant enough for press clean up.

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