A “lint-free wiper” Google search yields thousands upon thousands of returns. With all those results, certainly one must actually be “lint-free,” right? Wrong.
That’s because lint refers to the short, fine fibers that pull away from the surface of a fabric. Since fabric is used to make wipers, lint is a natural consequence regardless of fabric type. So, whether you select man-made polyester or nylon, natural cotton or cellulose, or a blend, you can’t completely circumvent lingering lint.
The term “lint-free” originated in the early 1980s with the advent of air particle measurements or “dry testing.” These tests resulted in few, if any, visible particles on wiped surfaces, and hence the phrase was coined. A few years later, “wet testing” revealed significant numbers of particles microscopically. Wiper experts from Berkshire recommend you exercise caution when it comes to “lint-free” wipers, and wipe away the “lint-free” fallacy, particularly in your cleanrooms.