When the trend-spotting Huffington Post starts to write about shop towels versus industrial wipers, you know something bigger than typical shop talk is going on.
One of their articles featured a study1 from Gradient, the environmental research company, exposing just how toxic even freshly cleaned cloth rental shop towels can be. And while the author raised an important workplace safety issue (with just enough sensationalism to attract the eye of trendy “HuffPo” readers), she, and even the study she cites, didn’t give the whole picture. If you take a closer look, you can see just how much the choice between textile towels and disposal wipers truly impacts the businesses, and workers, who use them.
The 3-point advantage in disposable shop wipes
The face-off between cloth and disposable wipers is a classic clash between tradition and innovation. To many, cloth seems simpler, presumably cheaper, and conveys the decision-making comfort of “it’s what we’ve always done.” But a comprehensive business analysis will show that industrial wipers offer three valuable advantages over their older counterparts:
- Improved efficiency
Time is money, and improved processes usually means increased profits.
Because they are designed specifically for the task at hand, and can be close by in an easy-to-use dispenser, disposable wipers ensure improved workplace efficiency, and have been shown to increase productivity overall.2
- Greater safety
While rental shop towels may seem clean upon their return from the laundry, the above-mentioned research clearly shows that after repeated uses and washings, textile retains (and can impart) toxic levels of heavy metals and other dangerous substances — they may even import new toxins from other factories, creating additional exposures and unpredictable toxic combinations.This creates an unacceptable health hazard for workers, and a potential financial liability for employers.
- Lower cost
Simple, old school solutions must be cheaper, right? Not in the case of disposable industrial wipers. One leading brand boasts a 10% overall savings versus textile towels (and you should always push providers for quantified details comparing total costs, encompassing purchase, use and disposal or reuse.)
All of which makes disposable industrial wipers a safe business bet—and anything else a gamble.
1 Gradient research
2 SCA Sell Sheet: Industrial EC SS SMART
Cost savings estimate based on common scenarios that show how environmental, delivery and replacement surcharges can add up to more than double the cost of a Tork wiper over a period of 90 days.