Half of your success when cleaning a car’s exterior, especially when using a waterless car wash, is the towels that you use.
Yes, I am serious. And I didn’t used to give this factor a second thought.
Microfiber towels are key to getting dirt off of your vehicle’s surface without scratching it. However, if you don’t care for your microfiber towels properly, they cannot do their job right. Thus, they will be of no use to you.
Is This Ridiculous?
A towel-cleaning tutorial may sound like a ridiculous idea. However, thousands of people throw away money each year doing these 2 things:
- They buy super cheap microfiber towels that really only work for 1 use (but don’t state that fact on the packaging), or…
- People completely ruin their high-quality microfiber towels the first time they wash them by making a few common mistakes.
How to Save Money on Microfiber Towels
I discovered this awesome video by Larry Kosilla of AMMO NYC, explaining how to wash microfiber towels properly (including which towels to buy). It is 20 minutes and goes into extreme detail.
It’s worth watching, but I understand if you don’t have an extra 20 minutes to spend watching a video on washing microfiber towels. I mean, who does?
How to Save 18 Minutes Learning How to Clean Microfiber Cloths:
So, I outlined the main points that he makes. This way, you can get all of the information that you need in less than 2 minutes.
1. Get the correct fabric ratio. Microfiber towels are made of polyester (the material that does the scrubbing) and polyamide (the part that absorbs the water). You want to look for a ratio of either 80% polyester – 20% polyamide or 70% polyester – 30% polyamide. Here’s a 10-pack
2. Look for towels with about 300-350 GSM (grams/square meter, in other words, the thickness). These are the best. Thinner towels (less than 300 GSM) can work ok for windows, super plush towels (ie. over 400 GSM) will have a harder time picking up dirt and debris. Super cheap towels are usually sold at big box stores and are typically less than 200 GSM. They wear out quickly and aren’t worth your money.
3. Get rid of tags. If you towels come with tags on them, rip them off before you use them. Tags can leave streaks while “dry-washing” your vehicle.
4. Avoid attracting lint. Wash and dry microfiber towels separate from terrycloth towels or other fabrics that can shed lint. Thoroughly clean the lint catcher before running the dryer.
5. Don’t use powder detergent to wash your towels. Un-dissolved particles can stick in the microfiber. Use liquid detergent instead.
6. Don’t wash or dry on too high heat. Too much heat can damage the fabric, and it will be unable to attract dirt particles. Stick with cold or warm water in the washer and low heat or tumble in the dryer.
7. Don’t use fabric softener. These sheets have stuff in them that can actually clog up the fibers in the cloths, making them less functional. Instead, some people choose to add a little vinegar to the final rinse cycle. Alternatively, you don’t need to add and softening agent at all.
If car detailing is your line of work, you may be interested in some of the other tips Larry shares in the video above. For example, separating towels into A, B, C and D and more.
Washing Microfiber Towels for More than Just Cars
Once I realized how great microfiber towels worked so well on cleaning my vehicle, I started using them all over the house. In fact, I use them as much for picking up and removing dust as I do for wet cleaning of windows, mirrors, furniture and more.
Having easy-to-use and effective cleaning materials really motivates me to clean more often because I actually enjoy it more. (Especially when I know I can just toss the dirty cloths in the washing machine when I’m done, and I can have fresh, soft, clean towels again!)
Tip: If you use microfiber for multiple uses, consider buying them in different colors and assign them to different projects. For example, cleaning vehicles, windows, kitchen cleaning, dusting furniture, bathrooms, etc..
Why? Sometimes I only use a couple of towels to wash my car, so I simply wash them by hand in the sink when I’m done. In this case, I’d rather keep my kitchen counter towels and wheel-wiping cloths separate, you know?