In today’s post pandemic, cost-conscious world, industrial wipes provide a versatile and affordable solution to demanding hygiene standards with significant productivity benefits possible for some industries and applications.
Combining durable materials and high strength cleaning agents, this heavy-duty wiping product has been adopted in a variety of industries, from automotive and manufacturing to healthcare and food production.
At first glance, they may seem like an unremarkable cleaning product, but they can provide significant time, cost and safety benefits for workplaces where cleanliness and efficient production processes are a priority.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what industrial wipes are, how they are used, and which industries can benefit most from incorporating them into their cleaning routines.
What Are Industrial Wipes?
Industrial wipes are a specially engineered cleaning and sanitising product made from durable, low-lint materials like polypropylene or polyester, which are able to withstand exposure to some chemicals and solvents.
Available dry or pre-saturated with high strength cleaning solutions, they are formulated to remove stubborn substances like dirt, grease, oil and adhesives.
Where strict hygiene standards are important, high-level disinfecting wipes can prevent cross contamination by eliminating bacteria, viruses and fungi from high touch surfaces, ensuring that your work environment is both clean and safe.
What Are Industrial Wipes Used For?
Whether you need to clean up a spill, disinfect surfaces, or prepare parts and machinery for maintenance, industrial wipes are a convenient and reliable solution that can help you get the job done quickly without the need for extra equipment or training.
While they can be used for almost any general purpose cleaning or sanitation task, here are some specific use cases where they can be particularly effective:
Cleaning and Degreasing
Industrial wipes are perfect for cleaning and degreasing tools, machinery and parts.
Due to the powerful solutions they are pre-saturated with, they can quickly dissolve and remove a wide range of substances like dirt, grime, grease, inks, glues and tars without leaving behind any residue.
Sanitizing and Disinfecting
For environments where hygiene is a priority, industrial disinfectant wipes provide a powerful, quick and convenient way to remove germs, bacteria, viruses and more, preventing cross contamination in high-traffic areas such as hospitals, nursing homes, vets and food processing areas.
As well as their powerful cleaning ability, industrial wipe solutions evaporate quickly without leaving residues.
This makes them ideal for surface preparation prior to painting, coating, welding or bonding metals and plastics.
Dry industrial wipes are ideal for cleaning away spills or moisture quickly with minimal linting.
They can absorb liquids such as water, oils and chemicals, making them a perfect choice for quickly cleaning up small workplace spills to prevent damage, contamination or accidents.
Benefits and Limitations
As a cleaning product, wipes are very versatile, but there is no one size fits all solution for every industry or application.
That’s why it’s important to be aware of the basic pro’s and con’s, so you can make an informed decision with your specific application in mind.
Convenient and Efficient Use
Industrial cleaning wipes can be purchased pre-saturated with powerful disinfecting agents, eliminating the need for buckets, mops, and separate cleansing solutions.
They’re also available in easy to dispense, resealable tubs or packets which can be kept close to hand in multiple workspace areas, so clean-ups can be tackled quickly before they escalate.
Because they are used in more demanding commercial environments, industrial wiping products are available packaged in larger quantities.
Not only does this save on packaging, but larger orders benefit from economies of scale, making the cost per wipe lower than standard retail brands.
They can also be purchased in bulk from many suppliers, including us, which makes them a cost-effective solution.
Reduced Risk of Cross-Contamination
Due to the high strength cleaning agents many wipes are pre-saturated with, like isopropyl alcohol, they are naturally antibacterial.
At higher concentrations, these chemicals and solvents will also disinfect work surfaces against germs, viruses, fungi and spores on high touch areas, tools and machinery.
So not only will they keep your workplace clean, they can also reduce the risk of cross contamination and infection for staff, visitors and customers.
Improved Health and Safety
Traditional cleaning methods can often require the use of chemicals and detergents, which can increase staff exposure to VOC’s.
Pre-saturated wipes contain a consistent and safe amount of cleaning solution, reducing the potential for accidents and harmful exposure levels.
Industrial wipes are designed to keep smaller hard surfaces clean and may not be effective for large areas of soiling.
Using them for extended areas may lead to increased costs and the generation of more waste.
Some pre-saturated wipes made with powerful chemicals or solvents may be flammable and require careful storage.
Care should also be taken when disposing of used sheets, as they may pose a fire hazard in some workplaces.
Shelf Life and Evaporation
Some pre-saturated wipes have a limited shelf life and can dry out quickly if not properly stored. This reduces their cleaning power and increases wastage.
Types of Industrial Cleaning Wipes
The range of industrial wiping products has grown since 2020 as the market tries to meet the surge in demand from the COVID pandemic. As a result, it can be challenging to know which types are best suited to your specific needs.
However, most still fall under one or more of the following categories.
Disposable dry wipes are designed to be strong and absorbent for removing wet debris, whilst being durable enough to handle tough grime and even some chemicals or detergents.
Typically made from an engineered low lint material that combines synthetic and natural fibres, they are often used to clean equipment, tools, and machinery.
This helps to prevent a build-up of substances that can interfere with their operation or contaminate the product being manufactured.
Good Sanitising wipes help support hand hygiene and are made of a durable non-woven synthetic material.
Each wipe is impregnated with antibacterial cleaning solutions, typically quaternary ammonium compounds or alcohol-based agents.
They don’t kill all germs but are designed to reduce their number to a safe level on skin and high touch surfaces like tools, worktops, switches and handles.
Industrial disinfectant wipes provide a more powerful solution than sanitising products but are not suitable for use on skin.
They are commonly used in healthcare, industrial food supply and medical equipment settings to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
They are pre-saturated with disinfecting solutions which work by eliminating bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms, such as fungi, from surfaces or objects.
However, standard low-level wipes won’t destroy all bacterial spores, which requires a product with a stronger high-level disinfectant formulation to be completely eliminated.
A good indicator of the suitability of a disinfectant agent is to look for ‘icide’ wording on product specifications such as Viricide, Fungicide, Bactericide and Sporicide.
As the name suggests, industrial degreasing wipes are designed to remove grease and grime.
They can also tackle other heavy-duty materials such as oil, inks and tar from common workplace materials like metal, plastic, and rubber.
They also come pre-saturated with strong cleaning agents like Isopropyl Alcohol, acetone or other hydrocarbon solvents. These break down and dissolve stubborn substances, making them easier to remove and reducing the need for multiple cleans.
Another benefit of using industrial degreasing wipes is that the cleaning solution evaporates quickly, leaving no residue behind. This makes them very effective for surface preparation before welding, bonding and painting.
Due to the high strength cleaning solutions they’re pre-saturated with, degreaser wipes are not suitable as hand wipes and should be used with protective gloves.
Some of the most popular solvents found in pre-saturated wipes are:
Isopropyl alcohol (IPA)
IPA wipes contain isopropyl alcohol, which is a common low-cost solvent that is non-corrosive and non-staining. It’s effective at removing oils, greases, and adhesives without leaving any residue.
At higher concentrations of 70% or more, IPA also acts as a disinfectant, which makes it useful for applications where cleanliness or hygiene is critical.
Acetone is a strong solvent that can dissolve and remove inks, oils, adhesives, paint and sealants.
Like Isopropyl Alcohol, acetone evaporates quickly, leaving little or no residue behind and helps to improve paint adhesion.
Acetone wipes are ideal for use in applications where residue could interfere with performance, such as preparing surfaces for painting, and is commonly used in the printing and graphics industries.
Acetone can also be effective at removing paint and ink graffiti from a range of surfaces.
Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK)
MEK is a powerful solvent and degreaser that is effective at removing inks, oils, resins, adhesives, bitumen, coatings and other substances from metal surfaces.
It is commonly used in the aerospace and automotive industries where surface preparation is a key application.
Which Industries Can Benefit Most from Using Industrial Strength Wipes?
As already mentioned, industrial wiping products are versatile enough to be adapted to most industries and cleaning applications.
If your workplace hasn’t adopted a routine that includes industrial wipes yet, or if you’re just looking to get more from what you already use, the list below should help you understand their potential in various settings.
In the automotive industry, wiping can reduce contamination which can affect the quality of components and surfaces. It also helps to maintain the cleanliness of machines and tools used during the manufacturing or repair process. This leads to better quality products with fewer defects.
|Car Detailing||Cleaning and polishing interiors and exteriors including glass||Lint free dry wipes, 90% IPA wipes|
|Body Shops||Removing paint overspray and wiping down surfaces prior to painting||MEK solvent wipes, 90% IPA wipes, Low-Linting|
|Garages||Cleaning and degreasing engines, machinery, parts and tools, hand cleaning, spill clean-up||Degreasing wipes, 90% IPA wipes, hand sanitising wipes|
|Dealerships||Quick cleaning and detailing for showroom displays||Low-Lint dry wipe, alcohol wipes|
Construction and Property
Industrial wiping products can help to shorten a wide range of common building and maintenance tasks. They’re effective at removing internal or external building materials such as sealants, adhesives and paint without affecting the final finish.
|Building Sites||Surface preparation, sealant and adhesive removal, tool and workplace hygiene, hand cleaning||Degreasing wipes, MEK or Acetone solvent wipes, 90% IPA alcohol wipes, antibacterial hand wipes|
|Property Maintenance||General cleaning and maintenance of buildings and facilities||Degreasing wipes, alcohol wipes, antibacterial hand wipes|
|Flooring Installation||Removing adhesive, sealant or paint residue. Wiping down flooring materials like tiles, vinyl and laminate||Acetone solvent wipes, industrial hand wipes|
|Window Cleaning||Degreasing and polishing windows and glass||Microfiber, alcohol wipes|
|Painting||Surface preparation, excess paint removal and cleaning equipment||MEK or Acetone solvent wipes, 90% IPA wipes|
Food & Hospitality
Disinfectant wiping plays a crucial role in protecting public health and maintaining compliance with strict hygiene standards in the food industry. Whether you need industry-specific wipes that meet food safety regulations or more general-purpose options for front of house settings, they can clean, sanitize, or disinfect almost any surface.
|Restaurants & Cafés||Sanitizing food preparation surfaces, cleaning tables and chairs, absorbing spills and stains||Food safe wipes, 70% IPA disinfectant wipes.|
|Hotels and Resorts||Cleaning and sanitizing surfaces, guest rooms and common areas, removing stains||70% IPA disinfectant wipes, stain removal wipes, hand sanitising wipes|
|Catering Services||Sanitizing food preparation areas, serving stations and tables||Food safe wipes, 70% IPA disinfectant wipes.|
|Food Processing Plants||Cleaning and disinfecting equipment, processing surfaces and packaging areas||Food safe wipes, 90% IPA disinfectant wipes|
|Bars and Nightclubs||Cleaning and disinfecting bar equipment, tables and counters, removing stains||70% IPA disinfectant wipes, absorbent dry wipes|
Medical disinfectant wipes are a common sight throughout the healthcare industry because they are so effective at supporting infection control protocols. Their convenience and versatility enable faster clean-ups, ensuring a safer environment for patient care in hospitals, clinics and care homes.
|Hospitals and Clinics||Disinfecting medical equipment and surfaces in high risk areas like operating theatres, sanitizing hands, cleaning spills and stains||High level alcohol free disinfectant wipes, antibacterial hand wipes, Spill control wipes|
|Laboratories||Cleaning and sterilizing lab equipment and clean room surfaces||Low lint 90% IPA wipes|
|Dental Offices||Cleaning and disinfecting dental tools, work surfaces and patient chairs||Alcohol free disinfectant wipes|
|Nursing Homes||Sanitizing surfaces and equipment, cleaning spills, stains, wheelchairs and walkers||High level alcohol free disinfectant wipes|
|Veterinary Clinics||Cleaning and disinfecting animal cages and examination equipment||Alcohol free disinfectant wipes|
Manufacturing & Production
Integrating industrial wiping products into manufacturing and production industries can be a simple way to improve productivity, quality and safety. They can quickly clean components, machinery, and precision surfaces without the need for extensive cleaning procedures, making them a practical and cost effective solution.
|Aerospace||Cleaning and maintaining aircraft components, workstations and tools||Lint free dry wipes, Acetone or MEK solvent wipes, 90% IPA degreasing wipes|
|Automotive||Cleaning vehicle interiors, removing grease and oil from machinery, preparing surfaces for painting||90% IPA degreasing wipes, Acetone solvent wipes, lint free dry wipes|
|Electronics||Cleaning delicate equipment and components, removing contaminants, preventing static build-up||ESD-safe wipes, Ultra-pure wipes, Microfiber wipes|
|Pharmaceuticals||Sterilizing equipment, cleaning labs, maintaining aseptic environments||90% IPA Disinfectant wipes|
|Printing||Removing ink residues from equipment, Cleaning rollers and other components, Preventing clogs and malfunctions, hand cleaning, Improving print quality and consistency||Acetone solvent wipes, 90% IPA wipes|
|Welding & Fabrication||Removing surface contaminants prior to welding, cleaning equipment and workshop areas||Abrasive wipes, Electrofusion 90% IPA degreasing wipes|
Best Practices for Using Industrial Wipes
While it might seem obvious how to use industrial cleaning wipes, adopting some simple precautions and techniques ensures that you maximise value and minimise waste.
Choose the right type of wipe for the task
Different types of wipes are designed for different purposes, so it’s important to choose the right one for the job.
For example, if you need to clean up a spill, you may want to use an absorbent dry wipe. To disinfect a surface, using an IPA alcohol wipe with a saturation level of 70% might be more effective.
Follow instructions for use
Due to their wide range of applications and materials, industrial wiping products come with specific and detailed instructions. They will detail the most effective cleaning method, surface compatibility, and safety guidance.
Be sure to read and follow these instructions carefully to get the maximum value from every wipe.
Use gloves and other personal protective equipment
Industrial wipes are a heavy-duty product that often contains high-strength cleaning solutions that can be harmful to skin, eyes and lungs with repeated use.
To prevent irritation and other problems, it may be necessary to wear gloves and other PPE that is resistant to solvents or chemicals. Refer to the product instructions and manufacturers safety data sheet for recommended protective equipment.
Use an effective wiping technique
Follow these simple steps to improve your cleaning technique and get the most out of every wipe:
- Ensure any established cleaning procedures are followed, including wearing suitable protective equipment.
- Start in the cleanest area and wipe towards the most soiled.
- Depending on the size of the wipe and the area to be cleaned, fold it until it is slightly bigger than the size of your hand. This is to encourage better surface contact and maximise the unused cleaning area of each sheet.
- Hold the wipe with the folded edge pointing away from you.
- Use strokes that overlap each other 10-20% in a parallel direction rather than circular. A circular motion makes it harder to see where you’ve cleaned and spreads contaminants.
- Don’t be tempted to clean large areas with one side then re-clean with the other. Instead, monitor the surface of the wipe regularly and when visibly dirty turn to use the clean side and continue.
- Once a wipe has been used on all sides, dispose of it by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Dispose of used wipes properly
Once you have finished using a wipe, be sure to dispose of it properly.
Many industrial wipes are designed to be disposed of in a specific way, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Store them correctly
To ensure that wipes remain effective, it’s important to store them properly.
Monitor expiration dates and keep them correctly sealed in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or other sources of heat.
How to Choose the Right Product
You might assume that industrial wipes are a simple cleaning product with limited effect.
But their continued popularity has driven the market to innovate, delivering a wider range of options.
While choice is good, it can make matching the right product for your needs a challenge.
Here are a few essential factors to think about before ordering:
Dry or Wet Wipes
Not all wipes contain the same cleaning solutions or are intended for the same application.
Some are dry and designed purely for cleaning away light soiling, polishing surfaces or absorbing spills.
The more common types are pre-saturated with strong chemical or solvent agents which are able to remove heavy grime and grease or disinfect high risk surfaces from bacteria and viruses.
When considering industrial wet wipes, it’s vital to choose the right cleaning solution for your workplace.
Get it wrong, and you not only risk unnecessary expense, but also the health and safety of employees, patients and customers in environments where strict hygiene standards are a priority.
If you need a wet or pre-saturated wipe, it’s also important to check that the cleaning solution is compatible with the surface materials they will be used on.
Some solutions are made from high strength solvents or chemicals, which can stain or damage more delicate materials like leather, wood or thin plastics.
The best way to prevent this is to read the instructions for use and the product data sheet provided by the wipe manufacturer.
Size and Construction
Industrial cleaning wipes are also available in a variety of handy sizes.
If you need to clean large areas like tables, walls or floors, then a larger sheet size will make the task faster and cheaper.
Wipe fabric materials are also important to consider as these not only affect the reliability for different cleaning tasks, but also their durability.
This all has an impact on cost too, as getting it wrong will often mean having to use more wipes than necessary to complete a cleaning task.
Wipes have to meet strict testing standards to be able to make claims about their ability to clean, sanitise or disinfect.
Not only does this give you peace of mind, but it ensures consistent performance of a product that you might rely on to support critical cleaning and hygiene processes.
Some of the most important standards to be aware of are listed below.
Qualifying products will disclose their certifications in the manufacturer’s safety data sheet.
Industrial wipes must also meet specific microbiological standards to ensure they are effective in removing microorganisms.
The European Standards EN1276, EN13727, EN14348, EN14476 and EN16615 measure the efficacy of disinfectants and antiseptics against bacteria and viruses.
Wiping products must meet toxicity standards to ensure they do not contain chemicals that could be harmful to human health or the environment. The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive and regulation (EC) No. 453/2010 set limits on the use of certain hazardous substances, which may include wipes.
The European Standard EN29073-3:1992 evaluates the strength of the wipes, their ability to resist tearing, and their absorbency.
Although the demand for more environmentally friendly wipes is being heard by the market, not all heavy-duty versions are fully biodegradable yet. These may have an impact on the environment if made from materials which are difficult to recycle.
As a disposable product, they can also contribute to workplace waste if staff aren’t properly trained or informed about correct disposal methods.
Where to Buy Industrial Wipes with Bulk Discounts
As well as being a highly versatile cleaning product, industrial wipes are also affordable and widely available.
For cost-conscious businesses looking for maximum savings, specialist suppliers and manufacturers offer bulk discounts, making them a practical solution for organisations of all sizes.
As an experienced manufacturer and retailer of cleaning products for over 30 years, we have an extensive range of high performance commercial wipes in every category with bulk discounts available on many.
Browse our range or call us to discuss your specific needs.
Common Questions Answered
Some of the most common questions we receive about industrial wipes are answered below.
If your query is not included, please feel free to contact us.
Are industrial wet wipes safe to use?
Yes, they are safe to use when manufacturer instructions are followed, including reading the product safety data sheet.
A wide range of cleaning solutions are used in wipe manufacture which come in varying strengths. So it’s important to be aware of the potential hazards and safety precautions, including any recommended protective equipment.
Can industrial wipes be re-used?
No, they are disposable products designed to be single use only.
If used correctly, it’s possible to clean a substantial area with just one wipe. Please refer back to the recommended technique above for specific instructions.
What are industrial cleaning wipes made of?
Industrial cleaning wipes are commonly made from a nonwoven fabric that is engineered to provide durable high performance cleaning in a wide range of applications.
Pre-saturated products also contain a cleaning solution formulated from one or more chemicals or solvents such as isopropyl alcohol, acetone, and quaternary ammonium compounds.
Are industrial wipes environmentally friendly?
Some are biodegradable, but others are still working towards higher environmental standards. This is more of a challenge due to the durable materials and industrial strength cleaning solutions required for commercial applications.
How to Introduce Industrial Wiping into Your Workplace Cleaning Routine
Introducing wiping into your existing hygiene routine can be a smooth and simple process with some basic planning.
- Identify the areas where wipes will be the most effective.
- Train employees in their correct use to maximize benefits and maintain workplace safety.
- Start with a trial period to see how well they integrate with existing processes and make adjustments as needed.
Supported by a well-planned implementation strategy, wiping products can be seamlessly integrated into any workplace, improving hygiene, lowering costs and boosting productivity.
If you have more questions or would like tailored advice on integrating industrial wipes into your workplace routine, feel free to contact us without obligation.