Following on the topic of what your Microfiber needs might be is caring for them once used. Protect your MF investment by caring for them properly. If cared for, MF should last a very long time. I have towels I’ve used for a few years. While caring for your towels, take the time to inspect them and weed out any towels that need to be replaced or resorted.
Clean towels work. Dirty towels don’t, and greatly increase the risk of damaging your finish.
We will go through the various stages where you will need to make decisions on how to proceed, and provide information so you can make an informed decision.
When To Wash Your Towels:
Once a towel becomes too soiled (general microfiber towels) or loaded up with residue (polish removal, sealant removal, wax removal, quick detailing, etc), you’ll need to reach for a new towel to fit your needs. Even though you’re replacing a “dirty” towel, do not allow any towel to fall carelessly on the ground or any other truly dirty surface that may heavily contaminate your expensive microfiber. We use a dedicated bin that has built in separators so we can continue to isolate our general purpose towels from drying towels or wax removal towels at all times. Once a towel has been discarded to the dirty bin, it is not used for any reason until it is washed.
How To Separate For Washing:
Use your judgment on how to best divide up your towels according to your use. You want your sorting to take care of your towels, but also to break up the bulk into easily processed batches of laundry.
There are two things to look out for while separating. First and most critical: Soil. Items that are dirtier must not contaminate cleaner but used towels. If the soil is loose on the towel, shake it out far away from your working area. Imagine you have an average dirtiness score per load. The dirtiest towels will increase the overall dirtiness score. Shake or eliminate the dirtiest towels and now your average score drops. The lower the score, the better.
Second: water-unsoluble product residue. Some products used in detailing are not meant to be washed away easily, and are impermeable to water. They can affect the water absorption of other towels. Using hot water during washing helps alleviate this problem. But if you have very soiled-with-sealant towels, you would be better off washing separate.
Group together items that need special cleaning or prolonged soaking. Wash them together.
How Many Towels Per Load:
Enough for a good medium sized load – not too many as they won’t get cleaned very well. My machine has a large barrel, and holds about 40 medium sized (14″ x 14″ towels), but I keep it around 25 to 30. MF holds a lot of water, and will swell up when saturated. Keep an eye on your wash and see what works best for your machine. Do not overload them, or they will not be cleaned effectively.
How to wash:
Prepare the washer by not having used liquid softeners for several previous cycle. If possible, remove softener cup. Do not wash very dirty or linting garments (cotton towels, sweaters, socks, flannel sheets, etc.) prior to washing your MF, or some of it may remain when you go to wash your MF.
Use the highest temperature wash and rinse possible to help break up soil and products. Use “sensitive-skin” type detergent that has no added color or fragrance, or a Microfiber-specific detergent to assure no additives impregnate the towels. Many detergents have softening agents even if they do not mention it on the label. Use the Full-Length wash cycle, and the extra rinse cycle. You want to make sure you rinse out soaps and detergents so your towels are clean, not simply refilled with cleaner soil.
Some people like to add about 1/4 cup of white vinegar during the final rinse cycle, as it helps restore suppleness to the MF by aiding in the break-down and release of cleaning agents in the detergent. Remember, NEVER use softener, ever, as it impairs MF’s absorption capabilities.
Depending on how good your washer is at cleaning, you may want to run them through twice. Most of my loads are done at least twice. Drying towels usually do not need a second cleaning as they stay the cleanest. Wax removal towels get at least two washes. New shag towels get washed 5 times before initial use. I’m sure my washing machine is not the best at washing, so use your judgement.
How to dry:
Prepare your dryer by avoiding the use of drying sheets for several cycles prior to drying your towels as to not contaminate the material. Do not wash heavy linting garments prior to drying MF to reduce possibility of lint getting trapped by your MF. Thoroughly clean the dryer lint trap and conduct. Remove the screen and look inside the dryer, remove visible lint. The more you can remove, the better, but the lint trap usually works very good regardless. Set the dryer on medium heat. There are some very hot dryers out there! If your dryer is gas powered, keep the heat low. These dryers have an actual flame, and for some reason like to melt microfiber even at medium temps. The more towels you bunch into the dryer, the higher the temperature will climb as there is not enough air and space for the towels to open up and dry throughout. Again, do not use softener sheets as they affect absorption. Dry to just slightly damp to reduce static, and note that some static is normal.
How to fold:
Fold the towels right out of the dryer as this leads to a lower chance of one falling or getting contamination from other sources. Fold in quarters or at least make sure the microfiber towels fit your specific storage system. Fold the longest nap inward to further reduce the chance of the microfiber clinging to anything it isn’t supposed to. My last tip is to fold neatly but quickly; if you are like me, folding 50 towels takes a long time.
How to store:
This will be covered in a separate article.
We hope this helps you keep your microfiber investment in the best shape possible, and for the longest time possible!