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  • Writer's pictureJack Cummings

How To Choose The Best Microfiber Towels For Car Detailing

Updated: Mar 2

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What Is A Microfiber Towel And Why Is It Special?

Microfiber towels have revolutionized the detailing industry, transforming how both car enthusiasts and professionals care for their vehicles. Crafted from a blend of polyester and polyamide (nylon) fibers, these towels boast an ultra-fine texture, finer than human hair. The distinctive structure of microfiber towels grants them a multitude of advantages that set them apart from regular cloths, rendering them perfect for detailing assignments. In the following sections, we will delve into selecting the optimal microfiber towels for your car detailing needs.

Types Of Microfiber Towels

Low Pile

A low-pile microfiber towel is characterized by its short fibers, typically ranging from 200 to 300 GSM (grams per square meter). GSM is a measurement of the density and thickness of the microfiber, and a lower GSM indicates a thinner and lighter towel. These towels are tightly woven with fine fibers, giving them a smooth texture and a tight-knit appearance.

Where Do Low Pile Towels Exceed?

  1. Polishing and buffing

  2. Precision cleaning in tight areas (i.e. air vents, buttons, and trim)

  3. Glass cleaning

A picture of a low pile microfiber towel

Medium Pile

A medium pile microfiber towel is characterized by its fibers that typically range from 300 to 500 GSM (grams per square meter). The slightly longer fibers compared to low-pile towels provide increased absorbency and a more plush feel. Medium pile towels strike a balance between having enough surface area for excellent cleaning and polishing capabilities while still maintaining a manageable thickness.

Where Do Medium Pile Towels Exceed?

  1. All-purpose cleaning

  2. Wax and sealant application

  3. Light drying

A picture of a medium pile microfiber towel

High Pile

High-pile microfiber towels typically range from 600 to 1,200 GSM. The abundance of fibers in high-pile towels allows them to hold more liquid and provide a higher level of cushioning, making them ideal for delicate surfaces. These high GSM, fluffy towels are our go-to since there is a reduced risk for creating swirl marks on the paint.

Where Do High Pile Towels Exceed?

  1. Scratch-free compound removal & drying

  2. Buffing and finishing touches

  3. Delicate surface detailing

  4. Enhanced absorption

A picture of a high pile microfiber towel

Waffle Weave

Waffle weave microfiber towels are easily recognizable by their textured surface, featuring a pattern of square or diamond-shaped indentations resembling a waffle. These indentations serve a dual purpose: they increase the surface area of the towel and create small pockets that enhance water retention. As a result, waffle weave towels have superior absorbency, making them highly effective at soaking up water and liquids.

Where Do Waffle Weave Towels Exceed?

  1. Streak-free drying

  2. Large coverage area

  3. Versatility

  4. Durable & long-lasting

Picture of a waffle weave microfiber towel

How To Choose The Best Microfiber Towel For Car Detailing

Choosing the best microfiber towel for your auto detailing needs isn't always easy, however, hopefully, the information below will help you make an educated decision on which type of towel to start off with. If possible, I would encourage you to buy a few types and test each of them out yourself to really get a good understanding of the material types, price ranges, etc. Let's get to it:

Towel Size

  1. Surface Coverage: The size of the microfiber towel directly influences the surface area it can effectively cover in one pass. Larger towels are more efficient for drying larger sections of your car, such as the hood or side panels, as they can absorb more water without becoming saturated too quickly. Smaller towels, on the other hand, are better suited for precision cleaning tasks and accessing tight spots.

  2. Drying Efficiency: If you frequently perform full car washes, a larger microfiber towel will save you time and effort during the drying process. Large towels with ample surface area can quickly absorb water from larger surfaces, reducing the number of passes needed to achieve a spotless finish.

  3. Detailing Versatility: Having a range of towel sizes in your detailing arsenal allows you to tackle various tasks with precision and ease. Consider a mix of large, medium, and small towels to cater to different areas of your car and specific detailing tasks.

  4. Portability and Storage: While larger towels offer greater coverage, they may be less portable and take up more storage space. If you frequently detail on-the-go or have limited storage, compact and foldable towels might be a better option.

  5. Specific Detailing Tasks: Tailor the towel size to the tasks you most commonly perform. For example, if you focus on exterior detailing, a larger towel for drying and buffing would be ideal. For interior cleaning, smaller towels are excellent for detailed work on delicate surfaces.

Composition Ratio

The performance of a microfiber towel is determined by a few things including the ratio of polyester to polyamide. Towels with a higher percentage of polyester will have increased durability and will be effective at trapping larger debris, however, they have slightly reduced absorbency, and a coarser texture.

On the other hand, towels with a higher percentage of polyamide will be softer, and they will also have increased absorbency. This makes it ideal for delicate surfaces, but these towels may have slightly reduced durability.

  1. Determine Your Detailing Needs: Consider the types of surfaces you frequently work on and the tasks you perform. If you focus on delicate detailing tasks, such as paintwork or interior cleaning, opt for towels with a higher polyamide percentage. For heavy-duty cleaning and exterior tasks, towels with a higher polyester ratio may be more suitable.

  2. Strike a Balance: In many cases, a balanced composition ratio is preferred. Towels with an equal or close-to-equal blend of polyester and polyamide offer a versatile option, providing a good compromise between durability and softness, as well as absorption and cleaning power.

  3. GSM and Weight Consideration: Pay attention to the GSM (grams per square meter) of the towel as well, as it can impact its overall performance. Higher GSM towels are generally thicker, more absorbent, and durable, while lower GSM towels are lighter and better suited for precision cleaning.

Grams Per Square Meter (GSM)

  1. Absorbency and Thickness: GSM directly correlates with a microfiber towel's absorbency and thickness. Towels with higher GSM are denser and more absorbent, making them excellent for tasks that require maximum moisture retention, such as drying your vehicle after a wash.

  2. Durability and Longevity: In general, higher GSM towels tend to be more durable and have a longer lifespan. Their thicker and denser composition allows them to withstand frequent use and washing without losing their effectiveness or structural integrity.

  3. Softness and Plushness: Lower GSM towels, while not as absorbent as higher GSM ones, often have a softer and more plush texture. These towels are ideal for tasks that involve delicate surfaces, where a gentle touch is essential to prevent scratches or damage.

  4. Versatility and Precision Cleaning: Towels with medium GSM offer a good balance between absorbency and softness, making them versatile for various detailing tasks. They are suitable for precision cleaning, removing light dust, and general wiping down of surfaces.

Manufacturing Country

  1. Quality Control and Standards: Different countries have varying regulations and standards when it comes to manufacturing products, including microfiber towels. Some countries have stringent quality control measures, ensuring that products meet specific requirements for durability, absorbency, and softness. Choosing towels manufactured in countries with established quality standards can give you confidence in the product's performance.

  2. Materials and Technology: The country of origin may also influence the quality of materials used and the technology employed in the production process. Some countries may have access to advanced microfiber technology, leading to the creation of high-quality towels with superior performance.

  3. Reputation and Expertise: Certain countries have a reputation for being experts in textile manufacturing, including microfiber products. They may have a long history of producing high-quality towels and other textile items, making their products a reliable choice for consumers.

Towel Edges

  1. Delicate Surfaces: If you frequently work on delicate surfaces, such as painted exteriors, clear coat finishes, or interior trim - consider edgeless or silk/satin-edged towels. These types of towels offer the highest level of scratch prevention and protection.

  2. All-Purpose Use: For all-purpose detailing, serged edges are a practical choice. They provide good protection against fraying and offer sufficient scratch prevention for general cleaning and maintenance tasks.

  3. Quality Matters: Regardless of the edge finish, prioritize high-quality microfiber towels from reputable brands. Quality towels with proper edge finishing will provide better performance, durability, and scratch prevention.

Pile Height

  1. Drying and Buffing: For efficient drying and buffing tasks, consider microfiber towels with medium to high pile heights. The longer fibers will hold more water and provide a soft and gentle glide over the surface, promoting a streak-free and high-gloss finish.

  2. Cleaning and Maintenance: For general cleaning and maintenance tasks, medium pile towels offer a versatile option. They can effectively capture dirt and debris without being too abrasive on surfaces.

  3. Delicate Surfaces: When working on delicate surfaces, such as paintwork or interior trims, opt for high pile towels. The longer fibers will provide the softness and scratch-free touch necessary to preserve the integrity of these surfaces.

Tips For Getting The Best Results & Conclusion:

Microfiber towels are essential for achieving professional-level results in auto detailing. To make the most of these versatile cloths and ensure your car shines with brilliance, consider these essential tips for getting the best results:

  1. Invest in High-Quality Towels: Quality matters when it comes to microfiber towels. Invest in towels from reputable brands with excellent reviews and a proven track record of performance. High-quality towels will provide superior absorbency, durability, and scratch prevention, giving you better results in your detailing endeavors.

  2. Use Separate Towels for Different Tasks: Assign specific towels for different detailing tasks to prevent cross-contamination. Separate towels for interior cleaning, exterior cleaning, and drying to avoid transferring dirt, debris, or chemicals from one area to another.

  3. Pre-wash New Towels: Before using new microfiber towels, it's a good practice to pre-wash them to remove any potential residue from the manufacturing process. Use a mild detergent and avoid fabric softeners or bleach, as these can affect the towel's performance. Click here to learn more about washing microfiber towels.

  4. Use Edgeless Towels for Delicate Surfaces: For delicate surfaces like paintwork or interior trim, opt for edgeless microfiber towels. The lack of sewn edges eliminates the risk of scratching and ensures a gentle touch on sensitive areas.

  5. Avoid Excessive Pressure: Microfiber towels are designed to be effective with minimal pressure. Avoid applying excessive force, especially when wiping down surfaces, to reduce the risk of inducing scratches.

  6. Fold Towels for Multiple Cleaning Surfaces: Fold microfiber towels into quarters or smaller sections. This technique allows you to use clean portions of the towel for each pass, preventing contaminants from spreading across the surface.

  7. Regularly Inspect and Replace Worn Towels: Regularly inspect your microfiber towels for signs of wear, such as fraying edges or reduced absorbency. Replace worn towels promptly to maintain their effectiveness in your detailing routine.

  8. Wash Microfiber Towels Separately: Wash microfiber towels separately from other laundry items to avoid lint transfer and maintain their performance over time. Use a gentle detergent and follow the manufacturer's washing instructions.

  9. Store Clean and Dry Towels Properly: After washing, allow your microfiber towels to air dry completely before storing them. Store them in a clean and dry location to prevent contamination and maintain their effectiveness.

Incorporating these tips into your mobile detailing practices will help you achieve outstanding results with your microfiber towels. With the right techniques and high-quality towels, you'll be able to preserve your vehicle's pristine appearance, ensuring it stays in top-notch condition for years to come. Happy detailing!


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About Cummings Mobile Detailing

Here at Cummings Mobile Detailing, we strive to provide the best quality interior and exterior car, truck & van detailing, and more importantly, the best customer relationships.

With our large service area, accompanied by our mobile detailing setup, we are capable of servicing vehicles in locations including your home or workplace. We are based in Rolesville North Carolina, and we service vehicles in Wake Forest, Raleigh, Garner, and more. Our objective is to keep your vehicle looking great on a schedule that fits your needs. No job is too big or too small.

We seek to deliver high-quality service at a reasonable price. That's why our service packages are affordable and tailored to your vehicle to help you get the most out of each and every detail. The best part about having a mobile setup is that we make it easy to keep your vehicles looking great by offering on-site detailing so you can go about your day as usual

Before you go through the hassle of going to a car wash or detailing your vehicle yourself, give us a call today or click here for more information!


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