Since we recently seem to be having a lot of hot discussion on MF towels for detailing, starting a thread to quickly summarize the different types and their usage.
Loosely, the various towel types can be classified as below:
1. Drying Towels: Used for drying the car after rinsing or ONR. Generally these are the waffle weave type (it has superior absorbency, and the ridges in the waffle pattern scoop up liquid to aid in drying) or thick plush type towels to soak up the water. Generally if a drying towel is not the waffle weave type then they will usually be 400 gsm plus towels.
Some examples as below.
Waffle Weave Types: Cobra Guzzlers / Meguiar's Water Magnet etc...
Thick Plus Types: Microfiber Madness Dry Me Crazy / Chemical Guys Miracle Dryer / Chemical Guys Wooly Mammoth etc...
the Dry Me Crazy towel in the picture below has some interesting properties and an insane GSM...this should give you some idea of what to look for in non-waffle weave drying towels
2. Glass Towels: this are towels specially for the glass which will leave a streak free surface when used with glass cleaners...they are similar to waffle weave drying towels but soak up less water and thinner in weight
Here's an example of the Cloudbuster to give you some idea of what a glass towel looks like
3. Polishing / Waxing Towels: generally these are medium / short nap towels which have a little more bite to remove dried polishes / waxes. Generally these around 250 - 350 gsm weight towels and are made of thinner and more firmer material which provide that "bite"
4. Buffing Towels: generally these are nap towels to provide that extra care and used for QD, spray waxes and so on. nap towels which have a little more bite to remove dried polishes / waxes. Generally these around 300-400 gsm weight towels and are quite plush.
Here's examples of Crazy Pile and Summit 800 towels to showcase what to look for in such type of towels
5. All Purpose Towels: Generally around 200 -300 gsm towels which are locally available are suitable for most quick exterior or interior jobs...these are handy to have for all sorts of jobs and most of the cheap / medium priced towels fall into this category
6. Suede Towels: Very soft cloths with an ultra-short microsuede pile, these cloths are perfect for final stage or secondary buffing. Whilst the short pile means they would get saturated quickly during normal buffing, their softness, absorbency and short pile help remove oils and residues from the paint surface at the final buffing stages - largely preventing 'holograms', smearing or patchiness (source: http://www.theultimatefinish.co.uk/d...hs-2-pack.aspx)
Note: the above towels from Microfiber Madness have been used for illustration purposes only to give some idea on what to look for your needs when purchasing MF towels. Buy what best fits your pocket and is no way an endorsement for any brand.
Taking Care of your Microfiber Towels
1. Always wash before first use to avoid linting and wash off any manufacturing chemicals and dry in the shade
2. Most MF's come with some kind of label stitched to the lining, tear / cut them out carefully to avoid scratching your car
3. Fold your clean dry MF's and store them in plastic polythene bags
4. Machine washing and drying your MF's is fine or go for hand wash depending on how dirty they are
5. MF washing liquid are generally
- low foaming liquid
- no fabric conditioner / softener present
- no perfumes preferably
- does not contain bleach
6. Use a decent brand liquid detergent for machines which are low foaming in mildly warm water... You can add some vinegar / APC if the towels been used with some oily stubborn stuff like some waxes etc
7. Soaking overnight in APC and vinegar in a bucket may help remove the stains a bit better... Same for applicators also
8. And no mixing MF towels with cotton stuff / clothes... And wash wheel towels separately from paint towels
GSM stands for grams per square meter (g/m2).
Material with a higher GSM weighs more, it is typically thicker, and if there is a pile (nap), it is more plush with higher absorbing capacity.
Most general use microfiber is between 200-350 GSM. 300GSM is the most popular weight for microfiber towels.
Since the lower weight towels have a lower pile (nap), they are are less likely to streak or lint on glass, and are a bit more aggressive. Heavier weights are more durable, and have a more gentle cleaning action.
Towels 350 GSM and over and typically used for surfaces that need to be treated with extra care (delicate plastic over dash etc). The higher pile (longer nap) pulls debris away from the surface where it is less likely to scratch the during the wiping process.
Q: How to remove dried waxes / sealants on the paint? the normal MF towels dont seem to work!
A: Re apply a little of the same product on those spots and count to 5 secs and wipe it off...no waiting for it to haze, just apply, dwell briefly and wipe off. Else you can try spraying with a QD to try and remove it
Q: My towels have gotten really dirty and even after repeated washing the stains are there! what to do ?
A: Dont worry the stains are on the fibre of the cloth and will come off with successive washing. From the perspective of the paint, the towel is fine as all grit or dirt particles have been removed
Q: When i used towels to wipe the QD / wax off they started linting horribly...how to stop this?
A: Always, always wash towels before first use. Do not take it straight out of the packet and use on the paint. After few washes generally the linting is gone but some towels will still continue to lint horribly nothing to be done for those unfortunately. Also some towels release color when first washed (specially the red ones), first wash ensures color fastness before exposing to chemicals
Q: How to store washed and cleaned towels?
A: After the towels fully dried, just fold them carefully and place them in polythene bags and store them away in cupboard or similar.