Auto Detailing Guide - Microfiber
Overview (Return to Top)
Microfiber products are absolutely essential to high quality detailing for both the interior and exterior of any vehicle. Microfiber towels, applicators, wash mitts and pads are used in virtually every area of detailing. You may use microfiber products to clean the paint, leather, wheels, glass, interior and so much more. The uses are literally endless so you can never have enough top quality microfiber products.
People often will splurge on their wax but spend far less on microfiber products when they are truly the backbone of a good detail. Investing in quality towels and caring for them will greatly increase your results while saving you time and money in the long run. The life of your microfiber products will vary based on the quality of the towel and how well you care for them. Not all microfiber towels are created equal so low quality towels may feel nice at first but they often break down rapidly with just a few washes. At DetailedImage.com we take great pride in selecting only top quality towels that will last for years with good care.
Microfiber is made up of a unique blend of materials with an innovative weave and fiber designs made of ultra fine synthetic yarn. The synthetic yarn is usually comprised of 70% - 80% polyester with 20% - 30% polyamide depending on the specific towel. Each strand is approximately 0.2 denier, which is equivalent to 1/20th of a strand of silk or 1/100th of a human hair. The cross section of a microfiber strand resembles an asterisk (*), which allows them to collect and trap particles whereas traditional towels push particles around or temporarily collect them. On dry surfaces the microfiber towels use electrostatic energy to easily lift and collect large amounts of dust, dirt and other particles in to the micro-wedges of each fiber.
Microfiber Care (Return to Top)
Generally we recommend you maintain three groups of towels, storing them in separate containers. The first group is the pristine new towels that you use on the most sensitive surfaces such as the exterior paint, gages, navigation screens, etc. The second group are towels still in great condition but may be a bit worn, which we use for interior cleanings, glass care, leather treatments, etc. All other towels in the third group may have visible stains and be noticeably worn down. Use these towels for your dirty jobs like cleaning the exhaust tips, engine bay detailing, door jambs, etc.
When you receive your towels you should wash them just to ensure they are clean and free from any contaminants they may have come in contact with while in transit. Before washing any microfiber make sure you have removed any stickers or labels that come on some new microfiber towels. Never wash microfiber towels with any other fabrics as the microfiber towels will collect the lint, which can greatly reduce the effectiveness of any microfiber product. Microfiber is virtually free of lint so you can wash them with other microfiber products only. Do not use any detergent with fabric softener or bleach in it. Using fabric softener will deposit a coating on the microfiber strands that clogs the pores, which reduces absorbency, cleaning ability and can lead to streaking. If you are not sure what to use you can pick up the DI Microfiber Micro-Restore Microfiber Detergent Concentrate, which has no fabric softener, bleach or added scent. If you are looking for additional cleaning power you can add one teaspoon per towel of distilled white vinegar.
When you are done washing the towels you can air dry them to be extra cautious, however many detailers need the help of a dryer due to time constraints which is generally fine. Do not use any dryer sheets and make sure you have cleaned the lint filter and removed any other lint particles. Again the microfiber towels will collect lint from other fabrics so do not dry it with other fabrics. Try to use just enough heat to dry the towels and do not overheat the towels. Excessive amounts of heat can harm the long term health of the towel.
As mentioned above the towels should be separated and stored according to their condition and we generally recommend three groups. Put them in an air tight storage container like a zip lock bag (i.e. DI Accessories Reclosable Storage Bag) or a rubbermaid container that is labeled to avoid dust and dirt settling on your recently cleaned towels. Remember micorfiber products have a natural electrostatic charge and will literally pull contaminants in so it's very important to store them properly.
Facts and Tips (Return to Top)
- Always remove any tags on microfiber products to minimize the risk of marring the paint
- Always wash new microfiber towels prior to using them for the first time
- Never use fabric softener when washing or drying your towels
- Group your towels together, such as paint safe towels, wheel and tire towels, interior towels, etc.
- Adding distilled white vinegar to your rinse cycle can help further clean your microfiber
- If your towels lose their absorbency, try boiling them to dissolve product and reopen the pores
- Store your clean microfiber towels in labeled microfiber storage bags
- Always wash your microfiber with microfiber, avoid mixing them with other fabrics
Related Articles (Return to Top)
Here are a few articles related to Microfiber from our Ask-a-Pro Detailer Blog:
- Proper Microfiber Care
- Microfiber Towel Storage and Organization
- Product Review: Detailed Image Waffle Weave Drying Towel
- Product Review: DI Microfiber Autofiber Zero Edge Towel
- Ask A Pro: Bonnets for Use on a Porter Cable?
- Product Review: DI Microfiber Waffle Weave Drying Towel
- How to Determine Your Microfiber Needs
- How to Properly Wash and Dry a Car
- Todd Cooperiders top 10 Favorite Detailing Products
- How to Clean and Properly Care for Microfiber Towels