No matter what you are doing, having the right tool for the job makes a world of difference. Having a quality tool to do that job will certainly make the experience more enjoyable! Microfiber although typically not thought of as a tool is a key tool when it comes to detailing your vehicle. Microfiber towels are known as the go to towels in the auto detailing industry as a result of their amazing characteristics and performance. What is Microfiber, what makes a good microfiber towel, which towel is right for the job at hand? Here we break it down for you.
Microfiber can be defined as a synthetic fiber with strands less than one denier (unit of measure to determine fiber thickness). Quality detailing and drying towels have fibers that consist of polyester and polyamide.
The polyester provides the structure of the towel and is good for scrubbing and cleaning while the polyamide provides the density and has fantastic water absorbing characteristics. Combine these two materials coupled with a high quality manufacturing process and the results are pure magic!
The Split Process
The Split process is a big contributor to making a microfiber towel do amazing work. It’s this process that allows microfiber towels to remove such products like waxes, glazes, and sealants effectively and provide further water absorbing ability such as absorbing 7 times their weight in water!
Why is this? It boils down to increased surface area that the microfiber has when split. For drying this also helps with what is known as capillary action. From my college years as an engineering student I remember capillary action well. In simple terms capillary action is the movement of flow through the fibers (in our case), they act like a wick.
The weight of a microfiber towel is measured in Grams Per Square Meter (GSM). Lower GSM have a lower pile, while a higher GSM has a higher pile and is more plush. The benefit of a higher pile towel is its ability to pull away the dust and other fine particles on your paints finish. These particles get kicked up into the fibers of the towel instead of staying on the surface which we know can cause scratches. However, depending on the intended use for detailing various ranges of GSM are acceptable:
- Interior and engine bay detailing – 250-300 GSM
- Removing Wax/Polish/Glaze – 350 GSM and above
- Drying – 500 GSM and above
Blend refers to the ratio of polyester to polyamide. The typical blend that is used in a good quality microfiber towel is 80/20 or 70/30, which is better? Depends upon the use, if your chosen microfiber towel is being used for general purpose, removing waxes, glazes, and sealants the 80/20 should be sufficient. However, if your microfiber towel is for drying, the 70/30 blend will have greater absorbing charecteristics due to the higher concentration of polyamide. Here at Redline Finish our flagship microfiber drying towel is a 70/30 blend.
Types of Microfiber Detailing Towels
- General Purpose /Utility Towel – Great for cleaning the interior, engine bay, door jams, etc.
- Edgeless Buffing Towel – Great for removing waxes, glazes, and sealants.
- Waffle Weave Towel – Waffle Weave is a good versatile towel for cleaning glass, waterless wash, and drying.
- Glass Towel – Like the name implies its for cleaning glass and has a very low pile.
- Twist Towel – The microfiber twist towel refers to the fibers that have been twisted together. We have found this is to be a fantastic towel for drying as it wicks away the water like our flagship drying towel The “One” Ultimate Drying Towel.
Where these towels are manufactured and the quality of the end product some debate but one thing is consistent, South Korea is known for producing the best microfiber in the world. There are manufactures in China that produce microfiber and assemble it in their factory. There is also factories in China that purchase their microfiber material from South Korea and then assemble the towels in their own factory. The issue that can arise due to the volume that is produced in China is the quality control and consistency can slip resulting in poor quality and performance.
Here at Redline Finish we prefer to stick with what is widely known in the industry as the best microfiber in the world and thats being manufactured and assembled in South Korea where the quality and control is typically extremely high.
We hope the information provided here gives you a better understanding of microfiber, helps identify the right towel for the job at hand, and what to look for when purchasing a microfiber towel. If you would like to learn how to care for your microfiber towels check out our article on Microfiber Care.
We hope your detailing experience is amazing!