Premium Microfiber: One of the Most Overlooked Detailing Toolsby Zach McGovern
Microfiber products are an often overlooked and under-appreciated part of the detailing process. I would go so far as to say they are one of the most important items you will purchase to care for your vehicle or your customer’s vehicles, and definitely something you should consider investing in to maximize your detailing results.
Why is Premium Microfiber Important?
Take a minute to think about how many times you touch the vehicle with a microfiber mitt or towel during the detailing process. Washing, drying, polish removal, wax/sealant/coating removal, wheel cleaning, metal polishing, glass cleaning… essentially every part of the detailing process involves some type of microfiber product.
We spend hour after hour obsessing over flawless paint, but what if your towels were the root of your issues? Many people understand that microfiber towels are the proper choice for car care, but are all microfiber towels created equally?
Detailing tools and products can get fairly pricey, and when you start to add it all up, it can be tempting to try to cut some corners here and there in order to save money. That 30 pack of towels for $10 in the automotive section of your local convenience store looks pretty good compared to the towels online selling for $5 a piece, and after all, the cheap ones do say microfiber on the label so they must be the same, right? If you own some higher end towels, you already know that you simply get what you pay for with microfiber.
This blog is all about teaching, and believe me, we did not all magically start out at a professional level. We have all been beginners, we have all made mistakes, and while I cannot speak for all of the other authors, I can at least say I personally used to use completely awful microfiber towels (or old bath towels!). The following photo is a picture that can still be found on my (old) business Facebook page if you go far enough back in time…
It took me longer than it should have to realize that my towels may have been the source of more frustration than anything else, but once I forked over the money to try some of the nicer towels, I was finally able to see what I had been missing. Soon after, I started buying towels in bulk. We would order hundreds of premium towels at a time to drastically reduce the cost, and rather than throwing away towels that were dirty or were showing their age, they were saved and recycled as interior towels, engine bay towels, wheel cleaning towels, etc. until they were truly ready to be thrown away. Another benefit of higher quality towels is they truly last longer when cared for properly. Some of my towels are several years old and you would never know it by how they look and feel.
Your arsenal of detailing supplies is not complete until you have all of the basic tools and products to perform your job, and high-quality microfiber is an absolute must-have in my opinion.
My Favorite Microfiber Products for Every Task
- Rinseless & Waterless Washing: Double Thick Edgeless Towel or Rethickulous Towel
- Traditional Washing: Gyeon Smoothie Mitt
- Drying: PFM Drying Towel
- Quick Detailing: Double Thick Edgeless Towel
- Polish Removal: Yellow Two Sided Towel
- Wax/Sealant Removal: Yellow Two Sided Towel
- Coating Application: Foam Block and Microfiber Suede Applicator
- Coating Removal: Premium All Purpose Towels
- Wheel Cleaning: All Purpose Towel (black)
- Glass Cleaning: PFM Dual Weave Glass Towel
- Metal Polishing: All Purpose Towel (black)
- Microfiber Care: Micro Restore Detergent
- Interested in these towels or any other towels? Check out the Microfiber Towel page!
Do you have a towel (or towels) you could not live without? Make sure to leave a comment below letting us now what your favorite towels are and how you use them.
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I use most of the towels mentioned above and never any from an auto supply store. I did find some better quality MF towels at my wholesale grocery market. and buy them in bulk. They are more expensive than auto store towels but I only use them for the interior, around door and trunk sills, wheels and engine bay. For the exterior I only use premium MF towels.
Thanks for the comments, Ray! As I read back through my list of towels I notice I had not listed any for interior use… that is probably because I just recycle my soiled exterior towels because, like you mentioned, the interior surfaces such as leather and vinyl are not nearly as delicate as exterior paint, and therefore don’t need the same quality of towel.
I can’t bring myself to use my nice towels with the new coatings just to ruin them. So now I’m back to costco for cheap towels:(
Hi Glenn – For what it is worth, I can confidently say that I have never ruined a microfiber towel by using it to wipe away coating residue. Simply toss the towel immediately into a bucket of water with a splash of all purpose cleaner and allow it to soak until you wash it.
Chemical guys 70/30 micro fiber seen to be some of the best around
Would the Meguiar’s supreme shine towels fall in this category? Or would they be the “cheap auto store” towels? What about the Viking microfiber wash mitts?
I’ve noticed that during my regular washes I’m putting more swirls in the paint lately, and I’m not sure if it’s my wash method (two bucket) or the quality/age of the towels and mitts.
Hi Chris – I personally haven’t used the Supreme Shine Towels, but I know Ivan really likes them (he wrote an article on them a while ago https://www.detailedimage.com/Ask-a-Pro/product-review-meguiars-supreme-shine-microfiber-towel/)
As far as I am concerned, a “premium” towel is simply one that is of high enough quality that you do not have to worry about it damaging your paint. They certainly could come from an auto parts store, if that store does stock quality towels, it has just been my experience that the stores around me generally do not carry towels that I would consider of the highest quality.
Also, towels and mitts certainly do have a lifespan. If your towels or washing supplies have been in use for a while, it may be a good idea to consider replacing them if you had previously been having great luck with your maintenance routine and are now seeing superficial damage afterwards.
I know to use and “invest” in premium microfiber towels. This article could
be more useful to people if it addressed why premium towels are better. If it addressed the reason why cheap towels are useless and can cause more harm than good with paint. If it addressed what the damage is that is caused by cheap towels. What attributes too look for in premium towels. How to properly care for these towels that are $5+ per square ft.
Hi Terry, thanks for the feedback. After reading back through the article I completely see where I failed to address the specific issues that poor quality towels can cause… sometimes it can be difficult to remember to explain things that feel like second nature.
Here is an existing article on microfiber care: https://www.detailedimage.com/Ask-a-Pro/how-to-clean-and-properly-care-for-micro-fiber-towels/
My car is has better towels than I do…lol
Obviously! Car Care > Personal Care 🙂
Has anyone tried some Amazon brands? For example Amazon Basics, Zwipes, or Towel Titan? Towel Titan seems new but I talked to them and they mentioned they use the same factories and suppliers as Chemical Guys and The Rag Company. Same quality for better value?