Kalle USA Inc.

A subsidiary of Kalle GmbH in Wiesbaden, Germany, Kalle USA Inc. markets the cleaning cloths manufactured by its parent company and created from natural cellulose and cotton fibers, both of which are re-generable raw materials.

Located in Gurnee, Ill., Kalle is preparing for the launch of its cleaning cloth – dubbed the Kalle Cloth – in the U.S. market. “There is no other like it in the country,” President John Lample says. He says the Kalle Cloth will out-perform average bar towels, disposable wipes or microfiber cloths, and it’s a great fit for the restaurant industry.

“Our cloth is a unique blend of cotton and cellulose that delivers the benefits you expect out of a cleaning cloth,” Lample states. “It’s environmentally friendly, and does an excellent job in removing organic material off surfaces as measured through ATP (adenosine triphosphate) tests.”

Kalle Cloths are biodegradable and are made to completely break down in approximately 24 weeks in a microbial active soil. “Due to the combination of these natural materials, Kalle’s wiping cloths can be disposed of without any problems,” the company says.

Kalle recently purchased an instrument to test the measurement of ATP. ATP is present in all animal, vegetable, bacteria, yeast and mould cells, and detection of ATP indicates the presence of contamination by any one of these sources. Lample says the Kalle Cloth has delivered superior performance to the average bar towels, disposable wipes or microfiber cloths in its ability to remove the organic material causing high ATP measurements. This is a basic test that can measure the ability of a cloth to clean a tabletop.

The Right Mix

Although the No. 1 aspect of the Kalle Cloth is its environmental friendliness, Lample explains that it is also important to note that it is very user friendly and durable, and it can be washed in a washing machine or dishwasher.

He says the Kalle Cloth can hold up to 20 times its weight in liquid. “You can wet and ring out the cloth and still have all absorption capabilities, unlike other cloths,” he states.

As an independent manufacturer, Kalle says it is the ideal partner for suppliers who do not produce cleaning cloths themselves. “[The Kalle Cloth is] used throughout the world already,” Lample asserts. “It’s been used in homes and restaurant’s in Germany for over 50 years, the U.S. is just getting on the bandwagon as we introduce it into the market.”

Kalle’s original line of business is sausage casing. The company is one of the leading producers of viscose-, plastic-, and textile-based artificial sausage casings in the world. It partners with the meat processing industry and butcher trade. The company discovered that the same cellulose used to make its sausage casings could be used to create a cleaning cloth.

During production, a cellulose and cotton fiber mixture is kneaded with salt and passed on a conveyor. The salt creates pockets in the mixture, which create the absorbing capability of the cloth. In a fixing process, the cellulose and cotton fibers merge to one pulp. Through special baths, the dissolved salt crystals and other additives are removed and recycled. Finally, the cloth is dried, separated in rolls and cut in pieces.

U.S. Ready

Currently, Kalle is working to set up distributors throughout the country. “We are looking to expand our distributor network,” Lample says. “We just developed a manufacturer’s representative network, making it the perfect time for distributors.”

Lample stresses that while Kalle Cloth may be new to the U.S. market, it already has a successful and extensive track record outside the U.S. market. He says that the ideal distributor is one who wants to be a part of an innovative cleaning cloth.

“In the U.S., if you look at the cloths that are used, like the bar towels, they always seem dirty,” Lample states. “With our cloth, the customer can trust it’s clean because it can go through the dishwasher. Plus, it’s a green product and naturally decomposes.”

Because of its pliability and durability, Lample says the cloth will not fall apart when it is used to clean tough stains on a surface, such as rough or dried out spills of ketchup or mustard. “It’s resistant against the typical shearing forces during wiping,” he states.

Lample believes the Kalle Cloth is set to have a big impact in the marketplace. The company displayed the product at the National Restaurant Association and International Sanitary Supply Association trade shows.

“We demonstrated out of the booth the capabilities of the cloth,” he says. “We had several customers that immediately jumped on board. In fact, one large West Coast restaurant operation began using immediately and continues to find multiple applications within their organization.”

Nature’s Cloth

Kalle placed its Kalle Cloth under a biodegradable test in microbial active soil. The results were:

  • After one week, the dissolving process was started and continued for two weeks.
  • After three weeks, the cloth was between 20 percent to 30 percent dissolved.
  • After four weeks, the cloth was 40 percent dissolved.
  • After five weeks, the cloth was 60 percent dissolved.
  • After eight weeks, the cloth was 80 percent dissolved.

It says that after 24 weeks, its cloth was completely dissolved, calling it “a piece of nature.” The square cloths are sold in two different sizes – 8.3 inches by 9.8 inches and 12.4 inches by 10.1 inches – the larger sold five in a package and 100 to a case, and the smaller sold in 10 packs with 200 in a case.