You could go through the whole of your life without know about this whole segment of industry. But once you do know you wonder how you got this far without a “doh!” moment. Perhaps you have taken your car through one of those huge washes which is more like a fairground ride than it is a car wash. If you have you’ve undoubtedly seen the guys at the end with their clean dry cloths in hand, ready to wipe down your car. It might have even crossed you mind to wonder where they get all those cloths from. But then you see the washer and dryer and the thought slips away.
It turns out there is a huge demand for industrial wiping rags. There has been since the Industrial Revolution. In the early days of industrialization, there was a need for the machines to be cleaned and maintained and this had to be done with a material which would keep them lint free.
In addition, the huge leather belts which actually worked the turning parts of the machines needed a light coat of oil to keep them working smoothly. This has to be applied in a light coat and a rag was perfect, lint free and easy to use.
And, just to prove there’s nothing new under the sun, traveling merchants would collect the used ones and sell them back to the producing merchants. It was use and re-use and a perfect solution to a problem that no one had encountered before.
Nowadays the whole process is a recycling success story. The rags are made from recycled textiles from the start and then are recycled again and again until they basically are dust. The only question left is, who knew?