Nonwoven or Knitted? When It Comes to Wipes, What’s the Difference?

Within the cleanroom or contamination-controlled environment, one of the most useful pieces of equipment is the wiper. From preparing work surfaces to cleaning up after spills, the wiper is expected to perform perfectly whatever the task. We depend on them every day, but how much do we really know about them? What’s the difference between knitted and nonwoven? Which kind of wiper is more durable? Which kind is more absorbent? What is the difference in cost? Let’s go behind the scenes and cast a spotlight on wipers…

Cleanroom wipes are low-lint cloths that trap, absorb, and remove contaminants, whether in liquid or particulate form. Resistant to abrasion, they are engineered to be durable and to work well with common cleanroom chemicals such as quaternary ammonium compounds, phenols, and bleaches. There are two main substrates: nonwoven and knitted, and each type confers its own unique advantages and considerations.

Nonwoven wipers are available in natural and synthetic options, offer consistent performance and good strength. They are more absorbent than knitted wipers and less expensive, although they cannot be laundered. Nonwoven wipes often have higher levels of fiber and particle contamination.  Berkshire’s nonwoven wipers are engineered from a variety of materials – cellulose, polyester, polypropylene, manila hemp, rayon, and polyurethane, for instance. Some nonwoven wipers are made from a single origin material, while others are available in different blend ratios. Berkshire’s nonwoven option lines are BluSorb®, Choice®, Durx®, Labx®, Lensx®, MicroFirst®, MicroPolx®, Pro-Wipe®, and ProjX®, and additional information is available on our website here.

By contrast, knitted wipers, which can be cleanroom laundered, are generally considered to offer superior durability and cleanliness, making them more expensive than their nonwoven counterparts. Available in sealed border edge, sealed edge and unsealed edge options such as knife cut, knitted wipes are extremely pure with very low non-volatile residue (NVRs) and ionic levels. Engineered from either 100% continuous filament polyester, 100% polyester microfiber, or a polyester/nylon microfiber blend, knitted wipers have exceptionally low particle and fiber levels. Available Berkshire knitted option lines from Berkshire include CapSure®, Choice®, MicroSeal®, Polx®, Pro-Wipe®, Super Polx®, Ultra-Seal®, and ValuSeal®, and additional information is available on our website here.

Wipers are available in packs and case in a range of sizes: 4”x4”, 7”x7”, 9”x9”, and 18”x18”. Some lines also offer a rectangular format of 4”x6” and 8”x10”. For detailed information on the suitability of each line of wipers for use with specific chemicals, please download our chemical compatibility chart. To review our entire product range, please download our comprehensive product catalog.