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Detailing Essentials #5: Quality Microfiber

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This time we talk about microfiber towels. A tool often discussed but sometimes overlooked. Microfiber towels are the backbone of any detailing business or enthusiast’s garage. Let’s face it, almost every step in a detailing process includes some level of wiping with microfiber, it happens hundreds of times throughout a detail.

If there’s anything I have learned over the years, it’s that prioritizing quality microfiber towels can supercharge your efficiency and help you to produce a better detail.  Now, what do I mean by this? There’re just towels, right? Well, there are certain parts in a detail where quality microfiber really comes into play, and there are others, where lesser towels can be utilized. For example, soft paint can be severely marred from cheap microfiber towels. Simply wipe and all your long hours polishing could be ruined, I’ve been there, it’s not fun! On delicate surfaces, that’s where you make the investment in microfiber. On the flip side, having general purpose, lower-priced microfiber on hand, is going to be essential for wheels, jambs, engine bays, and all the extra dirty areas. Basically, my main point is this, cheap microfiber can really do some damage to automotive paint, and the last thing you want to do is create more work for yourself.

I also wanted to share with you a quick towel organizational tool, that has helped us at the shop, designate and assign our microfiber to different job tasks. This system uses four large bins to store the towels, each labeled according. It starts with brand new level 1 towels, these towels are the best and can be used on the paint right way. As the towels degrade from constant use, they move down through the levels until they reach the general purpose bin. The general purpose bin is for towels used only for the dirtiest parts of the car. Once these towels are completely spent and have lost there grabbing/pickup function, they are thrown away. Each level is washed separately as not to cross contaminate. It’s a simple system, but it can definitely help in finding just the right microfiber towel for the job.

Level 1 (Perfect) (Brand New)

Use: Paintwork / Glass

Level 2 (Minor Staining) (Still Paint Safe)

Use: Paintwork

Level 3 (Stains) (Still Effective) 

Use: Interior Surfaces / Exterior Trim

Level 4 (General Purpose/Shop) (Starting to lose Effectiveness)

Use: Jambs / Lowers / Wheel Wells / Tires / Engine / Exhaust Tips

James Melfi
James Melfi
AutoNuvo
Holliston, MA
AutoNuvo.com
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6 comments on Detailing Essentials #5: Quality Microfiber

  1. Great simple way of organizing. I used to only use two levels: My mustang(my baby) and all others. But recently I have noticed my higher end towels starting to break down and need a new system. Since I need to buy more new ones, I am going to reorganize to your suggested levels. Thanks for the nudge!

  2. jason files says:

    I noticed you guys advertise your carpro 2face no lint towels as being a 70/30 quality blend. Carpro says they are 80/20 which is a poor quality blend that I found can scratch paint. I own these towels and they are very soft high quality towels. Apparently if you can’t go by blend to determine quality what can you go by? What Is the diffrence between these and typical 80/20 blend lower quality towels?

  3. Pedro Gonzalez says:

    Hi, any one here can be honest and tell me what are the best brand on microfiber for softness and water absorption please

    • rlmccarty2000 says:

      Brand name can be difficult because within every brand name they have different levels of quality or GSM or material composition. For example the Rag Co sells both Korean made and Chinese made towels. The also sell 80-20 and 70-30 towels. It’s best to forget brand names and buy based on place of manufacture and GSM. Never buy a large quantity of a towel unless you have used it before. Also different GSMs are used for different purposes. Low nap GSM towels are good for coating removal, while higher GSMs are good for final buffing and drying towels. It may be good advice to buy a companies sample pack so you can feel the towels and access the quality first hand.

      • james melfi says:

        Great advice- I’ve never got too hung up on towel manufactures and instead have always liked to buy small quantities and do my own testing. A lot goes into the performance of a towel and everyone’s needs may be different. Some detailers like long nap microfiber while others short. It really comes down to personal preference and comfortability with the towel itself. My advice- do some research, make an educated decision and test the towel out for yourself. There are just too many variables to say definitively that one towel is best,

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