Care and Feeding of Microfiber Towels (Long) - Chevy HHR Network


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Old 02-22-2006, 12:04 AM   #1
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Care and Feeding of Microfiber Towels (Long)

In my travels I have discovered people are a bit confused about Microfiber towels. I will try and clear a few things up with this post. I started dealing with Microfiber towels about 3 years ago as a side line to my Zaino business. I have tested over 200 different types of Microfiber towels, it is definitely not a small, small world…..

Why Do You Want Quality Towels for Auto Detailing?
Have you ever seen a black car with all those fine scratches in the finish? For me, it really detracts from the finish. Those fine scratches really take away from the shine.
Light reflecting off of a flat surface is much bright than what is reflected off of a bumpy surface. Those fine scratches/swirls are a bumpy surface, albeit they are pretty tiny, but nonetheless they are a detraction and will reduce the shine your paint will have.
Those fine swirls are generally caused by using poor quality wash equipment/techniques and towels for drying.

What are Microfiber Towels?
Microfiber Towels are the latest rage because of their ability to absorb material and remain soft. It is in some cases three times better than ordinary cotton towels for the same area.
This is done by creating literally thousands of microscopic sized fibers and blending them together. This is much easier to do with a synthetic fiber over a cotton fiber. That blending of the fiber creates a larger surface. The larger surface improves the ability of the fabric to absorb dirt, water, polish, etc and keep it away from the paint surface.

There are no standards in the Microfiber world where a standard is strictly adhered to by all manufacturers, like there is in the cotton Towel world. A loose standard is the Polyester/Polyamide content.
Even within the same MF towel manufacturer, quality can vary widely.

What Kind of Microfiber Towels Should I Buy?
When purchasing for auto detail use always make sure there is a label specifying the Polyester/Polyamide mix. Almost all “synthetic Microfiber towels are made up of a Polyester/Polyamide content mix. It is the Polyamide content that determines the towels softness and when mixed with the Polyester helps prevent scratching/swirl marks.

For detailing purposes you should get towels with a maximum of 80% Polyester and a minimum of 20% Polyamide. A 75/35 or a 70/30 indicates a softer towel, but necessarily a better quality towel. Some of the lower cost manufacturers will use the label number prior to weaving versus after weaving. The weaving process has a tendency to raise the Polyester number and lower the Polyamide number. There is really no clear cut way to tell other than the CD test.
Do not use anything above 80% Polyester, they will scratch. I have had customers buy the 3M House cleaning cloths, or Makeup removal towels that are a 90/10 mix and then wonder why they have swirl marks.

How do I Know if I Have a Good Towel or Bad?
There is the infamous CD Test to test the quality of your towels. Take a CD, generally one you don’t really care about, and rub the towel in a straight line with fairly heavy pressure on the recording(ed) side. If you see scratches in the direction you were rubbing, that is happening to your paint.
I have actually taken a CD into the store and done the test before buying a towel I want to test.
If you see scratches, relegate that towel to windows, or wheels.

Hope this helps……..
I have more to come, but let’s absorb(so to speak) this post first.
Feel free to ask questions…. I will be glad to answer them.
Just want to make sure you keep your HHR looking the best it can be.
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Old 02-22-2006, 12:55 AM   #2
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I can see the fine lines.
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Old 02-22-2006, 02:17 AM   #3
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What are you using to wash and dry your car, sponge, mitt(what kind - Lambs Wool, Cotton?). Drying towels are important in preventing the swirls.
Using ordinary colored towels will promote the swirls. 100% white cotton made in the USA are the best, providing you don't go the MF towel route.
Made in the USA is the key, they are forced to be 100% cotton, where as those made outside the US are not 100% and contain some polyester which will promote the swirls.

Also, how are you washing it, top down, bottom up? Wheels first or last? What kind of soap are you using?

Drying and washing towels with any kind of softener will actually harden the fiber surface. I can generate a whole post on the care and feeding of car washing towels.
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Old 02-22-2006, 07:00 AM   #4
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I wash with a sponge and whatever soap I have from the top down and the wheels last.I try to use meguiars whenever possible and Ive just been using whatever towel I could find aslong as it feels soft.LikeI said I see the scratches so I'm doing something wrong.What do I do about getting rid of the swirls?
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Old 02-22-2006, 07:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skatetheglobe
I wash with a sponge and whatever soap I have from the top down and the wheels last.I try to use meguiars whenever possible and Ive just been using whatever towel I could find aslong as it feels soft.LikeI said I see the scratches so I'm doing something wrong.What do I do about getting rid of the swirls?

I'm having the same issue.
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Old 02-22-2006, 07:19 AM   #6
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yea its killin' me.I guess it a dark color thing or atleast the dark color makes it more visible.I don't even want to wash it now until I get something better for drying.It sucks being poor cause I want to get that microfiber deal.
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Old 02-22-2006, 09:59 AM   #7
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I'm going to try out Microfiber towels. Went to their website, seems like a good deal... just can't decide on which of their Pkg deals to get??
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Old 02-22-2006, 10:38 AM   #8
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I just ordered their ultimate SUV kit. We have a Black 05 Burb along with the Black 06 HHR. I would like to prevent the "swirls" as much as possible. I'll give a review after a couple of washes.

Please post any info that can help us owners to prevent the "Swirls" (sounds like something I get after eating a bad burrito )

The original
"Ng"
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Old 02-22-2006, 11:49 AM   #9
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You mentioned in your posting under the HHR forum an 80/20 mix of Polyester/Polyamide - My cloths state 80/20 Polyster/Nylon - Your opinion please - tks
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Old 02-22-2006, 11:18 PM   #10
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Ok, Let me make sure I have set the stage correctly, my goal is not to sell you my towels with that post. In my travels, through the world of Microfiber there is a ton of confusing information, and I try to help educate so you can make the right choice for you.
I did not see anything on detailing, and it is my thing, so I am jumping in to help.
I will add a number of posts on detailing and answer questions as they come up
In this post I will answer the specific questions.

With that said, skatetheglobe - the sponge is what is more than likely causing your swirls. Sponges are very hard on paint, especially synthetic sponges. Take your sponge, wet it down and rub it on a CD and you will see what I mean.
Always use a car wash it has the right balance of chemicals in it, to not cause damage down the road. I will explain in another post about washing your HHR.

Towels, if colored or contain designs, more than likely are also adding to the swirls. Colored/designed towels generally have a nylon content thread in them and that thread will scratch the paint, again they will be very tiny fine scratches, but that is what you are seeing.

Jerry R - Pure Nylon is not a good thing, it may be Polyamide, which in simple terms is a mutated form of nylon. Where did you purchase it?
The best thing to do is the CD test, if it scratches then you will know.
The CD Test should be performed on all your washing material, just to make sure.
I will put up a post on the Care and Feeding of Your Washing Equipment.

Jddrumman - The key in picking the right towels/washing equipment is budget and what you want to do.
In another words, if your goal is to wash and dry the car, a good Mitt and a Waffle Weave towels will work just fine. The Waffle Weave absorbs a bit more water than a majority of towels, BUT the lack of nap makes it unusable on a dusty car.

If you want to also do Detailing Spray, or Polish removal, then a towel with a thicker nap is better choice as it will be multi-purpose. It may not absorb as much water as the Waffle Weave, but it can be used with a detail spray on a dusty car.

Made in the USA 100% Cotton Towels are also an excellent choice, but they are becoming extremely difficult to find, now that Cannon has gone out of business.
Cotton Towels in order to avoid scratches must be made in the USA. The content is governed and if it states 100% cotton, then the entire towel is just that, edging, backing and nap. Many foreign made towels are claiming to be 100% cotton, but the edging is nylon, and that will cause swirls.


Whooo, I am out of breath.... I'll guess you did not realize there was so much involved in such a simple subject
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