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How To Clean and Properly Care for Microfiber Towels

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You have educated yourself by reading countless information about washing, waxing, polishing, cleaning, etc..  Now it’s time to clean up your towels and get them ready for the next detailing efforts.

General care: Microfiber towels are great but some of their desirable traits can be ruined if you treat them like other towels.  First, NEVER use fabric softener, sheets or liquid, as the towels will hold onto the chemical softeners and not release them.  Secondly, avoid hot dryers as the towels are really fine plastic threads and pilling or balling will occur over time.  Lastly, if you can make a goal to wash the towels all by themselves separate from other laundry, that is ideal. I even wash all my polishing towels separate from the waxing towels, as to avoid cross contaminate issues.  I have seen my heavy polishing towel hold onto an abrasive, and when I used it to remove wax, I scratched the paint!!! $%^&  You can be as OCD as me or learn what works best for your situation.

It is best to get your towels cleaning as soon as you’re finished polishing, compounding, or waxing.  I like to make a solution of pre cleaners in a 5 gallon bucket to pre soak the towels prior to washing.  I usually have lots of towels in my detailing of a car… the more the better as a clean towel works better.  This pre cleaner is 3 gallons of hot water, 1oz of   Optimum Power Clean, and a grit guard.  I allow the towels to soak for a few hours while I clean up the detailing area from the work.  You might want to only soak them for an hour…figure out what works best for you.  I then rinse off the towels, and try to remove the most grime I can.

It’s now time for the washer to help you out.  I have a front loader so my method is slightly different than a top loader.  I use some warm water, maybe hot, but never steaming and Micro Restore Microfiber cleaner.  Micro restore is an amazing cleaner, and so it CG Detergent.  I have pretty hard water here in Utah, and no soft water system, so I add some white vinegar to help with rinsing and washing.  I add it to the wash cycle, and place some in the container for rinse.  The cleaners work better in the presence of softer water as do most things.  I always double rinse the towels as well.  Of note: I had a buddy of mine, top quality detailer too, tried to use his washers super steam cycle, thinking more the better, but what we found over time is the towels balled/pilled much faster and seem to be more abrasive on paints.  Take the towels out of the washer, and either air dry or tumble on air dry in the dryer.

I store my towels in a trash bag after they are TOTALLY dry, placing the compounding, polishing, and waxing towels in different bags.  OCD makes me feel so much better; it eliminates stress on the next detail!  Again, figure out what works for you and love detailing!

Post up your ideas or questions, as this is not an end all article!

Greg Nichols Reflections Detailing
Greg Nichols
Reflections Detailing
Logan, Utah
Reflections-Detailing.com

10 comments on How To Clean and Properly Care for Microfiber Towels

  1. Jason says:

    What are your procedures for cleaning Microfiber Waffle Weave Drying towels? I have 3 DI Waffle Weave drying towels and have always used CG detergent to clean (soak, front washer, air dry) them but they have not been used more than 10 times and already the towels are not soaking up the water as much anymore. They worked great when I first brought them but now they barely pick up any water. You have any advice on how I can rejuvenate these towels?

  2. Greg Nichols Greg Nichols says:

    I always pre-soak my towels in APC or towel detergent before washing them. I then wash them with the MF detergent and some vinegar (my water is hard). In the final rinse container I add vinegar, this Acid helps restore the towels ability to absorb water.

    If you use dryer sheets or fabric softener these will “clog” the fibers and not allow the fibers to absorb water.

    I suggest you try and restore them by pre-soaking, washing, and air drying. If they are still poor at absorption………I have found boiling to helps. That is another matter for later.

    Please report back on this………………..

    Cheers,
    GREG

  3. Great article Greg!

    I’ve also noticed the really fine plastic threads and pilling or balling when you dry them on high heat. 🙂

    Rasky

  4. Al G. says:

    Is the grit guard used to hold the microfiber towels in the solution? Place in bucket with OPC mixture then put the grit guard as a weight? I like the idea any way to allow pre-soaking buffing pads before I get to wash them so they do not dry out.

  5. Jose C says:

    Great Stuff!! I purchase the DI Microfiber Micro-Restore Microfiber Detergent Concentrate – 128 oz back in Mar 2013 and love it. However I just recently purchased a new laundry set, front load, and it requires HE Detergent, and I couldn’t find it on the label. Is it safe to use on this washers?

    • Greg Nichols greg says:

      I have only had a front load Maytag washer, and its been just fine to use. I can use a little less detergent in the front loader.

      Cheers,
      GREG

  6. Jared Guthrie says:

    Just discovered your site within the last month or so. I’m not a professional but REALLY enjoy making my personal vehicles looking great. My wife has an Acura MDX (Crystal Black Pearl) that we just did a paint correction and sealant on. I’ve landed hear because I was looking up how to properly store mf towels after being washed. This site had the same idea I had. That post lead me here. I don’t purchase any special cleaners. Here’s what I do. Let me know if you change something. I don’t presoak any of my towels so I may make that change. We’ve always washed our clothes with All Free & Clear detergent. I wash the towels by themselves on mild heat with an extra rinse cycle. Lately I’ve also been using the “hand wash” cycle. I then dry them using a low heat setting. I have hard water down here in Louisiana as well. You’re saying add some vinegar to the cleaning cycle?

    • Reece @ DI Reece @ DI says:

      Jared – Everything looks great! The All Free & Clear detergent should work well, but we highly recommend a microfiber specific shampoo for best results. When washing, only wash on cold, no heat at all. Heat can melt the fibers, causing them to work poorly or even scratch your cars. After that, I would air dry them to avoid heat, but a low gentle cycle should work fine as well. Just be sure to thoroughly clean out your lint trap. If you have any lint these towels will suck it up, which can scratch your paint when used again.

  7. Rick says:

    Hi Reece,

    Is it not safe to use warm water wash/rinse setting? I assumed warm water would be fine or better as it is soft water which I assumed would be better than hard water. I have read different times saying it’s ok for people to dry on low/tumble dry, then why would It not be okay to wash on warm?

    I separate, presoak, and wash on warm with DI Microfiber detergent with white vinegar and air dry….

    Thanks,
    Rick

    • Reece @ DI Reece @ DI says:

      Rick – In general you want to keep microfiber towels away from heat, lint, and any shampoos that have fabric softener in them. The reason heat can be so negative is it can melt the pours in the fibers, causing them to not work as well, or even scratch the paint. To be safe, we always recommend washing on cold heat and with a microfiber specific shampoo. For drying, you certainly can tumble dry on how, just make sure you thoroughly clean out the lint trap. Microfiber loves to suck particles up, which makes them great detailing tools, but if it sucks up lint that can cause them to scratch the paint when in use. If you ever have any questions about your towels, I personally keep some blank CDs around for a easy test. A little trick is if they scratch the bottom of the CD, you can expect them to scratch your paint. If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to contact us here: https://www.detailedimage.com/Contact/

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