Mechanical removal just means picking up germs and throwing them away, instead of killing them with chemicals or heat. We focus on mechanical removal because in the home it’s hard to make sure anything else works well enough. I talked about this with lots of specific examples in thermal death point
How does mechanical removal work?
In a wound, as you probably know, you can use packing materials that work by enticing bacteria into themselves with a delicious fatty acid, then grabbing onto them and not letting go. You then pull the material (like Sorbact Ribbon, frex) out and throw the bacteria away and tadah: mechanical removal. This can be better than antimicrobial approaches as bacteria doesn’t evolve resistance in the same way.
Anyway, this is a slightly different but related concept. The microfibre cloths grab the bacteria and you take them off the surface and put them in the laundry bin: mechanical removal.
This is the backstop for every other approach. It should be part of every cleaning method you use.
Keep in mind
The Grease Shield
This is like a biodome for bacteria. They live under the thin layer of dirt and grease that coats a surface (think about fingerprints on a glass like little domed outposts on Mars. The grease acts as a shield and protects (and feeds) those monstrous beings. It’s important to get this idea because disinfectants don’t actually work very well unless the surface is clean. Unless you remove that layer of dirt and grease, the disinfectants don’t come into contact with the bacteria and bounce harmlessly off the top. So you gotta disrupt that cosy alliance - either with surfactants or with microfibres. And you have to keep the disinfectant on the surface for a surprisingly long time for it to kill germs.
So just like with the steam cleaner or the washing machine, you cannot rely on this stuff on its own - it can only be used as part of a system.
Throwing them Away
It’s easy to forget this part of mechanical removal, the removing of the germs part! You have to change your cloths regularly and clean them effectively. Your cloth is the dirtiest thing in your kitchen.