Everything You Need to Know About Washing Microfiber Car Towels and Selecting the Right Detergent

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Updated on:

August 30, 2023

Complete Manual on Washing Microfiber Car Towels and Choosing the Right Detergent

Even though you might not feel like it, the way your car looks after a wash depends on the quality of your performance and cleaning tools. If you want your microfiber towels to deliver a great cleaning experience every time, you are going to have to take proper care for them.

In this guide, we will show you the best methods to wash microfiber towels and keep them in good condition to deliver the best microfiber cleaning cloths for you and your car

Key Takeaways:

  • Proper care and maintenance of microfiber towels are essential for optimal cleaning performance.
  • When washing microfiber towels, it is important to separate them by material types and avoid mixing them with cotton or other fabrics.
  • Use clear detergent without scents or additives, cold water, and avoid fabric softeners and powder soaps to preserve the absorbency and effectiveness of microfiber towels.
  • Best detergents to wash towels made by Optimum, 3D, P&S and Micro Restore.

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Five best detergents for microfiber towels washing | Best microfiber towel cleaners

detergebts for washing microfiber towel

When it comes to washing microfiber towels, the less is better. Do not try to get fancy detergents. A clear detergent that does not have any scents or additives is the best at cleaning microfiber cloths.

Optimum Powerclean for microfiber towel washing

1. Power clean by Optimum Polymers

Power clean is a concentrated, low foaming cleaning solution specifically designed for high efficiency washing machines. This detergent prevents soap scums formations and rinses off completely, so you will not have to worry about the tiny fibers getting clogged up while using this.

3D Towel Kleen for microfiber cloth washing

2. 3D Towel Kleen

Towel Kleen is a premium low foam microfiber cloth detergent soap that cleans stains and maintains the absorbency of your towels for longer than regular clothes detergents. This detergent will not leave any residue, so you are guaranteed to use your towels over and over again.

premium microfivber cloth washing detergent

3. P&S Rags to Riches

This towel cleaning detergent deep cleans effectively and restores microfiber absorbency. It is a highly concentrated detergent, so you will get a lot of use out of it.

Super Detail Micro Restore

4. Micro restore

This microfiber detergcent is a concentrate just like the from the P&S mentioned above, it consists of a blend of surfactants, emulsifiers, and water softeners.This detergent will emulsify dirty motor oil, greasy soils, and car wax, cleaning microfiber towels completely in the rinse cycle

5. Vinegar

For an even better clean, pour in about half a cup of distilled white vinegar into your bleach "compartment", so during the rinse cycle, the vinegar will be added to the water and further wash microfiber towels.

What is microfiber?

microfiber, towel, cloth

Microfiber is about 1/100th the diameter of a human hair and 1/20th diameter of a strand of silk. It is a mixture polyester and polyamide; polyamide is essentially nylon and polyester is plastic. That is why you can not wash microfiber towels in hot water ever. There are approximately 200,000 fibers in one square inch of a typical microfiber towel.

High quality microfiber towels used for cleaning are often x5 smaller, creating a lot of surface area in which liquid will be absorbed and hold dust and dirt.

Microfiber towel types for car wash and auto detailing

Glass towels

glass cleaning microfiber towel

Microfiber glass cloths are a knit microfiber. These towels are specifically designed to remove streaks and smudges from smooth, reflective surfaces like mirrors, windows, electronic screens, and even stainless steel. These types of towels are used as drying cloths after the glass surface has been cleaned to bring shine back.

Learn more with guide about car glass cleaning
Learn more about best glass cleaning microfiber cloths.

Textured cloths

Microfiber towels with a textured weave, like a waffle towel, provide extra power for tasks like scrubbing or drying. For scrubbing, the uneven pattern in the weave towel creates more friction without damaging the paint. For drying, the structure allows liquid to be picked up in higher sections and then it wicks away to the lower sections which leaves a dryer surface of the microfiber cloth.

All purpose cleaning microfiber towels

best multi purpose microfiber towel

These microfiber cloths are good for all purposes and safe for any surface. These microfiber towels tend to be used for dry dusting, wiping up spills, and general cleaning.

Depending on what you will be using the towels for will make you divide them into categories accordingly.

If you are using the microfiber towels for your home, you should have separated towel types for your dusting, glass, and couches (if you like hand washing with a microfiber towel).

If you are using the microfiber towels to wash cars, you should have separated towel types for paint correction, the interior, glass, drying and waxing, and cheap or old towels whenever you are working on wheels, engine bays, dirty interiors or exhaust tips.

Polish removal cloths

Polishing cloths have a weave with a longer knap that has a higher pile than an all purpose terry cloth. These microfiber cloths are designed for applying and removing polishes on cars and metal. They are also great to polish jewelry and silverware.

Learn more about waxing towels.

Best microfiber towels for car detailing and car wash

If you do not want to worry too much about what microfiber towels to look for, remember to look for these things: the GSM, the blend, and the size. The GSM is an abbreviation for grams per square meter. That will describe the weight of the towel. The higher the GSM, the thicker and fluffier the towel is.

High GSM microfiber towels are great for your paint, but low GSM work best on windows. The best microfiber towels to look for drying is to get the 70/30 mix of polyester and polyamide. An 80/20 blend is better for the interior.

A 16x16 in towel is great size for detailing. Bigger microfiber towels are great for using to dry cars, as it will cover bigger areas much faster. The well known brands to stick to for microfiber cloths are Fortador Towels, Chemical Guys, Autofiber, The Rug Company and Microfiber Madness.

Learn more about microfiber towels you will need to detail your car

Lifecycle of microfiber towels

Depending on how often you use your microfiber towels, what you use them form and how well you take care of them, can make your towels last up to 2 years or 500 washings. That being said, always make sure that the fibers have not been damaged throughout use, as it can cause scratches on your car and other surfaces you clean with.

Main stages of use of microfibers:

  1. Virgin Use: New and unused microfiber towel ready for any cleaning task6 especially coating and waxing
  2. Paint Cleaning and Polishing: Gently cleans and polishes car paint, removing dirt and dust.
  3. Interior Cleaning: Wipes interior surfaces like dashboard and seats, using shorter pile towels.
  4. Wheel and Tire Cleaning: Handles tougher tasks, scrubs wheels and tires with more texture.
  5. Engine Bay Cleaning: Cleans engine bay, dedicated towels for grease and oil.
  6. Degradation and Specialization: Towels wear, downgrade to less delicate tasks or repurpose.

7 secrets to know about washing microfiber towels

things to know before washing microfiber

1. Separate cloths by material types

Do not forget to always separate different microfiber towels into separate loads. If you are lazy, try to at least separate microfiber cloths that are used on oily and grimy surfaces from lightly soiled towels.

2. Always clean washing machine after heavily soiled towels

After you have finished washing the heavily soiled towels, you will probably have to wash out the washing machine. Take one of the microfiber cloths to wipe down in the tub to remove any leftover dirt and grime that might be clinging to the machine's walls. When you are done wiping the machine, run it through an empty cycle to give it a rinseThis step will also help remove any residue from fabric softeners and soap pods.

3. Remove lint from dryer

Make sure to clean out the lint trap in the dryer before putting your microfiber cloths for a cycle.

4. Never mix cotton, waffle and microfiber towels

Never wash microfiber cloths with other clothing or cotton towels. The microfiber towels might collect lint from clothes on them that will be annoying to take out.

Expert tip

Always wash separate towel used with acid based chemicals, like water spot removing solutions or other mineral deposits, or chrome poish

5. Forget about soap pods

Do not use soap pods. They usually have scents and stuff that can clog up the microfiber towels.

6. Always use cold washing

Do not wash microfiber towels in hot water. Because of polyamide and polyester components, you will be melting off the fibers in a hot wash cycle. Thus, you microfiber towels will become nonabsorbent and can scratch your paint.

7. No powder soaps

Because the fibers of the towels grab onto to dirt and moisture very easily, do not wash microfiber towels with powder detergent, as it will stay in the tiny fibers after your wash cycle, making them inaffective in your cleaning processes.

If your towels have lint before even washing them

Sometimes it happens that microfiber towels can get lint on them by simply using them in your washes. If it happened to you, try machine drying the towels prior to washing them. Machine dry tends to get rid off most of the lint from clothes as well as towels.

Overall, washing microfiber towels is not hard when done right. If you are going to take away anything from this article, remember to never wash microfiber towels in hot water and never use soap pods or fabric softener, stick to clear laundry detergent and cool or warm water for washing.

Learn more about best drying towels for cars

How to wash car microfiber towels manually or with machine

You most likely already have these things, but it is always a good idea to double check.

Hand washing microfiber towels

two buckets to wash microfiber

Tools and supplies foor hand washing

  • Two buckets, wash bin or washboard
  • Brush
  • Microfiber cleaning solution if you want to spend an extra buck (not necessary unless it is your preference)

Workflow of hand washing

  1. Shake off dirt from your microfiber towels over a garbage can or outside before washing them.
  2. Fill one bucket with lukewarm water and the second one with cold water.
  3. In the warm water bucket, drop the microfiber towels in and add a couple drops of unscented and clear laundry detergent.
  4. Get a brush or a washboard to gently scrub off the dirt from the towels. If the microfiber towels are still dirty, repeat soaking and washing microfiber cloths.
  5. When the towels are clean, put them in the second bucket with cold water to rinse any leftover dirt.
  6. Remove the microfiber cloths from the bucket and rinse in the sink with cold water.
  7. Wring the towels out.

Side note: if your microfiber cloths are heavily soiled, spot treat the stains with a stain remover before beginning to wash microfiber towels.

Machine washing to treat the microfiber towels

machine washing of microfiber towel

Tools and supplies foor machine washing

  • Microfiber cleaning solution if you want to spend an extra buck (not necessary unless it is your preference)

Workflow of machine washing

  1. Shake off dirt from your microfiber towels over a garbage can or outside before washing them.
  1. Place detergent in washing compartment and white vinegar to softener compartment in your washing machine
  2. Set the washing machine to cold/delicates with extra rinse if possible
  3. Run the wash cycle.
  4. Start drying towels

Side note: if your microfiber cloths are heavily soiled, spot treat the stains with a stain remover before beginning to wash microfiber towels.

drying of microfiber towel

How to dry microfiber car cloths

  • any machine dryer
  • drying rack if your prefer to air dry

The best option is to air dry the microfiber towels as it will never damage the tiny fibers. However, air dry is not always possible when you have a business to run. If you will be machine drying your microfiber cloths, here is what you should and should not do:

- Do not try the microfiber towels with anything else other than the towels

- Always remove lint from the lint trap before you proceed to dry microfiber towels

- Use the lowest setting your machine dryer offers (air fluff or no heat)

trouble shooting of towel wash

Troubleshooting if used fabric softener for microfiber towels

Using a fabric softener to wash microfiber cloths is going to ruin them and will require you for a costly replacement. Fabric softeners tend to clog up the tiny fibers in the microfiber towels and lose its properties.

If it so happens that the microfiber towels have been washed with a softener, there are a few things you can do to try to bring them back to life.

Here is what you will need:

- vinegar

- wheelcleaner

- running warm water

- bins

- drying rack


1. Take out the microfiber cloths and open the faucet with almost hot water. Rinse the towels thoroughly. Do not try fill up the sink, let the water rinse out all the product. The better you do your rinsing, the better effect you are going to get.

2. Next, fill up a bucket with warm water and plenty of vinegar. It should be about a ratio of 1:8.

3. Use something heavy to hold down the towels under the water. Let them sit for 24 hours.

4. Take out the microfiber towels and simply rinse them again with warm water. Repeat to be sure if you prefer.

5. Mix a wheelcleaner with water, 1:3 ratio is best.

6. Squeeze out all the towels from the vinegar solution, and put them in a plastic bag. Add the wheelcleaner/water mix and make sure all the microfiber towels are wet. Make sure the bag is airtight to keep the towels are completely soaked.

7. Leave them soak for 24 hours

8. After the time has passed, rinse out the towels again with warm water.

9. Put the microfiber cloths in the washing machine, add vinegar, and run a normal wash cycle without using any detergent.

10. When the cycle is done, air dry the towels or put them in the dryer on the lowest wash cycle setting.

By doing the things above, it is not guaranteed that you microfiber towels will come back to performing like new, but you can still use them for things like wheels and engine cleaning.

Commonly asked questions about microfiber cloths

Q:Are microfiber cloths good for cars?

A: Microfiber towel (cloth) are known to absorb around eight times their weight in water, making them extremely efficient in drying your car thoroughly, interior cleaning and polishing waxes or other auto cosmetics. . As a bonus, rest assured that, when using a microfiber towel, it's likely to leave water spots behind.

Q: How many times can you use a microfiber cloth car?

A: When cared for properly, without overheating during drying, your microfiber cloths (towel) can be washed and re-used up to 500 times or more. This makes microfiber one of the most economical cleaning materials existing today.

Q: Does microfiber damage car paint?

A: High-quality microfiber towels will never scratch clear coat. Those cloths are super soft, far softer than the paint finish, but, even if you use the world's gentlest types of microfiber incorrectly, you may scratch the paint.

Q: You can spray wax on panel and polish it with microfiver towel, or spray wax on microfiber cloth and wipe it on panel and polish using dry side of microfiber towel.

A:You can spray wax on panel and polish it with microfiver towel, or spray wax on microfiber cloth and wipe it on panel and polish using dry side of microfiber towel.

About the Authors

Sabrina Tretyakova
In the world of cleanliness and hygiene, Sabrina Tretyakova stands as a beacon of expertise and dedication. As an ISSA-certified cleaning technician, Sabrina brings a wealth of knowledge and three years of unwavering commitment to her profession. Having served a staggering 1,200 clients
Yvan Lacroix
With 40+ years in detailing, I've been a Brand Ambassador, VP, and Global Director. Founder of Répare-Brise franchises. Globetrotting to spread efficiency, quality, and profit insights. Let me elevate your detailing career for enhanced quality, profits, and time management.

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