Make your Microfiber Last

Authored by: Nick Parks

Proper microfiber care saves your paint and your wallet.

Microfiber towels can be expensive, especially when it comes to buying quality towels and buying them in ample quantities.

In our operations at Parks Detailing, many of our towels have seen hundreds of different vehicles and washing cycles, yet they retain their plushness, absorbency and appearance year after year.

So, how do we ensure that we get the most out of our KL!N microfiber arsenal? We'll cover all of that and more in this article on properly caring for microfiber towels.

01 | Don't Treat Them Like Cotton Towels

Microfiber, regardless of the brand or source, is a fundamentally different material in comparison with cotton. Washing and/or microfiber like cotton - or worse, with cotton items - will lead to ineffective and often unusable towels.

Cotton is a natural material, where microfiber is comprised of synthetic fibers, often polyester, polyamide, and/or nylon. A single fiber in a microfiber towel is about one third the density of a single cotton fiber; and on average, one hundredth the size of a human hair. While this makes microfiber far softer and safer for your paint, it also means that microfiber is far more sensitive to heat and the forces the material may be subjected to in a washing machine.

Never wash or dry microfiber in conjunction with other materials such as cotton. The microfiber towels will attract cotton in the washing cycle and small, difficult to remove cotton clusters will remain lodged in the towels.

02 | Use Quality Microfiber-Specific Detergent

Never use standard laundry detergent - even the "Free and Clear" variants - to wash your microfiber towels.

Standard detergents often contain fabric softener or bleach that will defeat the electrostatic charge created by the fibers (which is what makes microfiber so great at picking up dust and small debris). Even laundry detergents that claim to be free of fabric softener or bleach contain trace amounts of these chemicals that over time will lead to the same result.

There are many microfiber detergents out there, and we've tested most of them. While many do a great job of cleansing dirt, debris and oils from the fibers, they can be harsh and often lead to a slow yet deliberate breakdown of the fibers; meaning you'll eventually have to replace the towels after a limited number of washes.

Over the years, the only microfiber-specific detergent that kept our towels clean without impacting their plushness or durability has been Gyeon Towel Wash.

The reason we love Gyeon Towel Wash is simple; it's as pure as it gets. There are no added color additives, fragrances, or fabric softeners. In fact, you can use Gyeon Towel Wash to wash sensitive wool items such as wash mitts; or even a wool sweater.

A full load of microfiber towels only requires 25ml of product, and in a 500ml size, that's 20 full washes for only $16.95, or $0.85 per wash to ensure that your microfiber lasts as long as possible. You can use more at your discretion, however we find that 25ml is more than enough to clean a load of microfiber towels with average soiling and/or embedded polish residue.

03 | Mind Your Machine Settings

When washing any microfiber product, remember the following: Wash warm, dry low.

It seems there are several - admittedly confusing - different instructions for washing and drying microfiber. The truth is that as long as you aren't washing them in hot water and drying them with moderate to high heat, they'll turn out as intended each time, provided you're using a quality detergent.

If you're truly after the maximum longevity, you can wash towels that contain very little soiling (typically glass towels and towels used for quick detailer) on a cold setting and hang-dry them. Hang-drying will ultimately have a larger effect on preserving your towels than most other variables in the washing process, but it isn't always the most efficient method of drying towels -- that remains your personal preference.

If your dryer has a "no heat" setting, certainly take advantage of that feature to tumble your towels dry.

04 | Separate Towels By Function and Color

This is a simple piece of advice, but it's extremely important. First and foremost, some towels are not pre-washed from the factory like KL!N Microfiber, so they may bleed some color upon their first wash or being introduced to water. They may also lint and clog your dryer filter. It's an easy layup for us and you may roll your eyes, but the easy way to avoid this is to purchase high-quality towels from KL!N that won't bleed or lint. With that little sales pitch concluded, onward...

We'll reference a table below to show you which towels can/should and should not be washed together. This table will help you maximize your washing efficiency (using less water and microfiber detergent) and reduce the number of loads required to clean your microfiber towels.

Towel Function Can Be Washed With...

Drying or Quick Detailer Towels

Glass towels, Wax or Sealant removal towels

Wax or Sealant Removal Towels

Drying towels, Quick Detailer towels, Glass towels

Coating Removal Towels

These towels should be discarded after use.

Glass Towels

Quick Detailer towels, Drying towels, Wax or Sealant removal towels

Wheel, Exhaust or Tire Towels

Do not wash these towels with other types of towels.

Interior Towels

Do not wash these towels with other types of towels.

Compound/Polish Towels

Do not wash these towels with other types of towels.

Notice that there are four different groups of towels we recommend either washing in their own cycle or discarding altogether. This is because:

Ceramic coating removal towels (or any towel used for that purpose) will contain hardened coating material that cannot be removed by even the strongest microfiber detergents, and will generally scratch whichever surface they are introduced to after the fact. You can soak coating removal towels in a bucket of water and strong all-purpose cleaner (such as ADG F-Bomb) to break these coating materials down before curing, but this carries a risk of failing to break down high-quality coating ingredients and can be harsh on the fibers.

Wheel and tire towels should be washed in their own cycle together because they may contain very small yet very sharp brake dust particles. If a towel has been used to level a tire dressing, it may contain oils or agents that will cause streaking.

Interior towels that are used with leather or carpet products may also contain oils, pigments or other conditioning agents that will cause streaks, especially on glass.

Compound/polish removal towels often shed spent clear coat and remaining abrasives when subjected to water. While Gyeon Towel wash will generally break down abrasives, we'd rather be safe than sorry and we wash any towels that have been used to remove abrasives separately.

05 | Proper Storage Makes a Difference

Now that you've managed to wash and dry your microfiber towels properly, ensure they remain contaminant free by storing them properly.

Proper storage depends upon your environment, but there are some general principles that we abide by to ensure that no towels are borrowed by unsuspecting family members for erroneous purposes or subjected to environments that may degrade their performance.

We highly recommend storing microfiber in labeled bins with lids, so that dust, pollen, or anything else that may be suspended in the air of your garage/shop doesn't settle in the towel and ultimately end up on your paint. Labeling and sealing the bins also helps to alert your spouse or kids that your microfiber investment is not to be used for wiping household surfaces or muddy shoes (don't ask us how we know).

A common storage area is a toolbox; we don't recommend this as towels can be accidentally snagged on corners, hinges or rails.

You know your home and its occupants best, but generally, microfiber should be stored in a cool, dry place and somewhat sealed off from dust or other potential airborne contaminants. This also goes for applicators, brushes and other accessories if you have the space to store them all in separate bins.

If the storage methodology seems extreme, that's because it is; but microfiber is often the only medium through which products are removed or applied to your paint. You wouldn't want your surgeon operating on you with gloves that have sat out in the waiting room, so why take a chance with your microfiber towels and applicators?

Curious about KL!N Microfiber? Dive in.




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Amazing write up, much needed thank you



The article was well written, very informative, and specific instructions! Thank you!

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