Frequently Asked Questions
How many and what type of microfiber towels should I use for each detailing step?
Below are the type and number of towels broken up for each detailing step. This way it is easier to determine your specific microfiber needs.
Washing (Wheels): If you use a microfiber towel to clean your wheels, use up to one All-Purpose Towel per wheel. Using microfiber to clean wheels is one of the safest methods, but it can stain and contaminate them, rendering the towels useless for other purposes. It is best to keep these towels separated at all times from your other prized microfiber.
Washing (Car): 1 or 2 Sheepskin Wash Mitts or Microfiber Wash Mitts, one for upper portions of the vehicle, one for lower, dirtiest portions. Always wash from cleanest area to dirtiest. Using one mitt specifically for the dirtiest areas will assure both mitts stay cleaner over time, and will reduce the risk of swirling significantly. When drying your car, you will want to invest in 2 or 3 Waffle Weave Drying Towels. These are super absorbent and minimize adding swirls and imperfections due to the waffle like texture.
Cleaning (Door Jambs): Estimate 1 or 2 All Purpose Towels per door opening. If this is the first time you clean the jambs, expect some staining from grease. These towels should not be used for exterior paint anymore. They will be okay to use for other purposes after a proper wash.
Cleaning (Interior Plastic Surfaces): 3 All-Purpose Towels for the interior cleaner, 3 more for the interior protectant. There are products that do both steps in one application, and can slightly reduce your microfiber requirements.
Cleaning (Leather Seats): 3 All-Purpose Towels per seat. Final buffing with a clean towel will assure the leather conditioners don't feel gummy to the touch.
Polishing: 1 Ultra Plush Two-Sided Towel per panel per polishing step. For example, if you do a two step polish on a coupe, you will want to have about 18 towels ready.
Quick Detail or Final Wipe: 2 to 4 reTHICKulous Towels per car. Use a "one wet, one dry" technique for final wiping to achieve a streak free finish.
Wax Removal: 4 reTHICKulous Towels per car. Fold the towel in quarters and use a quarter for a few wipes, then change sides, exposing fresh towel as much as possible for a streak free shine.
Cleaning Glass: 2 Glass Polishing Towels per side, more if you have dirty or large windows. It is always good to have extra glass towels, and a few stored in the vehicle at all times for quick clean ups of smears and fingermarks.
All-Purpose Towels: 10 to 20
Ultra Plush Towels: At least 18
reTHICKulous Towels: 6 to 8
Glass Towels: 4 to 8
Waffle Weave Drying Towels: 2 to 3
That should be enough to maximize your results. Remember that this is a big investment, and as such, should be cared for religiously. Give your towels the best treatment possible. Treat them also as a collection. You can add and subtract from the collection, but you should always have a base, enough to work on your car. Microfiber is a detailer's largest non-consumable material expense, costing in total more than power tools.
This information was adapted from our Ask-a-Pro Detailer Blog post How To Determine YOUR Microfiber Needs. More information on Microfiber and Microfiber care can be found in the Microfiber section of our Auto Detailing Guide.
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