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  1. #1
    Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    How many microfiber polishing cloths do I need to detail my car?

    How many microfiber polishing cloths do I need to detail my car?





    Often times on discussion forums, the question comes up,

    "How many microfiber polishing cloths do I need to detail my car?"

    Usually this is from the perspective of detailing a car, as in a Saturday detailing session.

    I would just interject that instead of approaching this from the point of view of,

    "How many microfiber polishing cloths do I need to detail my car?"


    Instead, look at it from the point of view of,

    How many microfiber polishing towels do I need in order to make one, small dedicated wash load in my washing machine?


    You see, it's best to not wash microfiber towels with other types of towels like cotton towels or a load of jeans and t-shirts, so ideally you want to only wash microfiber polishing cloths together in a dedicated microfiber wash load.

    Thinking about how many microfibers you need from this perspective, you want enough microfiber polishing cloths to run at least a small load through your washer and dryer.

    Something about making a wash and dry load with only 4 items for example always seems kind of wasteful. So instead of stocking up on enough microfiber polishing cloths for a single detailing session, stock up on enough microfiber polishing cloths to at least make a small wash load when you're ready to wash and dry your microfiber polishing cloths.



    How many towels do you need?

    At least a dozen microfiber towels.

    12 average size microfiber polishing cloths makes for a good small wash load in most washing machines.

    So use that as a target number to shoot for when building up your supply for microfiber polishing towels.





    Here's two more tips...

    Dedicated Clothes Hamper
    Swing by a store like Target or Walmart and pick up a small clothes hamper for the garage and dedicate this for just microfiber polishing cloths. It's vitally important that your microfiber polishing cloths don't get contaminated with dirt and other abrasive particles.

    Seems like the wind always blows leaves into our garage and when they dry out and get crinkly and then get on microfiber it's almost impossible to get all the dried leave particles out of the nap of the microfiber nap and in this case washing it with other microfibers will contaminate them also.

    So invest in enough microfiber polishing cloths to make a small wash load and invest in a dedicated clothes hamper for the garage to keep them from getting dirty and contaminated. Then when you have enough dirty microfiber polishing cloths to make a wash load, wash them, dry them and then store them in a place where they wont' get dirty.


    Enclosed Storage Cabinet
    Another thing to look for at Target and Walmart that will help you are these roll around plastic cabinets with 4-5 drawers. You can fold your microfiber polishing cloths and place them in the drawers and this will keep them clean so they're always ready to use. It's self-defeating to to carefully store your dirty microfiber polishing cloths and wash them in dedicated loads if you don't have a clean place to store them for future use.


    Washing and Drying
    Another question that comes up all the time is how to properly wash and dry microfiber polishing cloths. It's best to keep this process simple and uncomplicated.

    Washing
    Wash your microfiber polishing cloths in the warm or hot temperature setting with a quality detergent on the normal or heavy duty setting. Choose between these options by how dirty your microfiber polishing cloths are; if they are really dirty with lots of polish and wax residue then use the hot temperature setting, on the heavy duty wash cycle. If your washer has an optional secondary or extra rinse cycle you can use this option to insure all the detergent is rinsed out before drying.


    Liquid or Powder Wash Detergents
    There are people that will argue that only a liquid detergent should be used for washing microfiber polishing cloths to reduce the potential for any undissolved powder particles to somehow attach to the nap of the microfiber cloth and remain their, (undissolved), through both the wash cycle and the drying cycle. Personally I've never had a problem using powder style washing detergent. The polish and wax used on this truck was wiped off using microfiber polishing cloths washed using Tide Powder Detergent.


    Here's a tip... <-- Important
    When using a powder type laundry detergent. Before you add your microfiber polishing cloths, first start by filling the wash tub with water and then add your laundry soap, (both powder or liquid), and let the laundry detergent fully mix with the water to create a uniform soapy water solution to then add your polishing cloths. With a powder type laundry detergent, the violent mixing action by the agitator will allow the powder particles to fully dissolve, thus used correctly a powder type laundry detergent is a liquid.

    If you add your polishing cloths first, then pour the powdered laundry detergent on top of them and then start the load, the powder particles will have to work they're way through all the polishing cloths in order to mix and dissolve in the water. So create your soapy detergent solution first and then add your polishing cloths.


    Another tip...
    If you're making a large load, mix your laundry soap using only the small or medium size wash load first, then after mixing and dissolving the laundry detergent, add your microfiber polishing cloths and then re-set the size selector to large or extra large setting, (whatever you're using), and start the timer/cycle switch at the beginning. The tub will then fill with water to the correct level and wash the microfiber polishing cloths for the full cycle in completely uniform solution of soapy water.



    The paint on the below 1956 Ford F150 is a single stage urethane and was easily scratched if you were not careful.






    2006 Mosler with an easily scratched clear coat finish



    1954 Corvette - Single Stage black Lacquer Paint



    Steve Radigan's 1960 Corvette - Single Stage Black Lacquer Paint



    Both of these below cars were wiped using microfiber polishing cloths that were washed using powdered Tide laundry soap

    Chip Foose's Challenging Challenger



    Steve Metz Panic Parrot




    And during this detail session, the microfiber polishing cloths used were washed using powdered Tide laundry soap


    Nate Truman's 1966 Batmobile



    On other forums you'll see people argue over powder versus liquid laundry detergents but if you follow the tips presented here it really comes down to personal preference. One thing for sure, these pictures are real-world details that counter the claim that a powder type laundry detergent will somehow not dissolve, make it through both the wash and drying cycles and then scratch car paint.



    Drying
    Dry your microfiber polishing cloths alone on the warm to hot setting. Don't use a fabric softener like Bounce Dryer Sheets. It's recommended to use a fabric softener when washing or drying cotton towels but not microfiber materials.



  2. #2
    Junior Member Nissaner's Avatar
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    Re: How many microfiber polishing cloths do I need to detail my car?

    This is great information as always. Thank you for the thorough and detailed thread!

  3. #3
    Super Member DARK HORSE's Avatar
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    Re: How many microfiber polishing cloths do I need to detail my car?

    Yes, very nice indeed Mike. Thank you for taking the time to provide such detailed and unbiased information. (One thing that I have discovered though; is that heat from the dryer can add static to my towels, therefore I will dry them for a short time on medium heat and remove them while they are still damp and hang them up on hangers to dry the rest of the way). Great write up!! Oh ya and the rides aren't bad either...

    Thanks again,
    Tad
    Last edited by DARK HORSE; 01-26-2010 at 12:54 PM.

  4. #4
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    Re: How many microfiber polishing cloths do I need to detail my car?

    I've been using microfiber cleaners like dp and pinnacle,never used laundry detergent yet. Per dp microfiber cleaner ad,( use the wrong detergent and your microfiber will lose its magnetic attraction.) After drying I know they sure due want to cling to my finger nails.
    It also states that microfiber cleaners work better at cleaning? Just a thought.

  5. #5
    Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: How many microfiber polishing cloths do I need to detail my car?

    Quote Originally Posted by aria View Post
    I've been using microfiber cleaners like dp and pinnacle,never used laundry detergent yet. Per dp microfiber cleaner ad,( use the wrong detergent and your microfiber will lose its magnetic attraction.) After drying I know they sure due want to cling to my finger nails.
    It also states that microfiber cleaners work better at cleaning? Just a thought.
    Good points.

    I originally wrote this article back in 2008, over 2 years ago now and long before coming to work here at Autogeek where they offer a dramatically larger selection of specialty products. I think I can trace my oldest article on the topic of detailing on the Internet back to 1994 and because this industry is always changing and evolving it means I have to update and re-write most of what I've written in the last 20 years.


    One thing for sure, if you find a product, or process that works for you... go with it...


  6. #6
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    Re: How many microfiber polishing cloths do I need to detail my car?

    Is it OK to wash general purpose microfibers that have been used on rubber trim, door jambs, wheels etc. with the plusher polishing towels? How about waffle weave drying towels?

    Thanks for your responses and thanks to everyone who contributes here, these forums are priceless. I have been lurking around for a while and this is my first post. Been busy reading up and spending $$$, its gettin kind of addicting!

  7. #7
    Super Member Dubbin1's Avatar
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    Re: How many microfiber polishing cloths do I need to detail my car?

    Quote Originally Posted by ShannonD View Post
    Is it OK to wash general purpose microfibers that have been used on rubber trim, door jambs, wheels etc. with the plusher polishing towels? How about waffle weave drying towels?
    I wouldn't recommend mixing them.

  8. #8
    Super Member trhland's Avatar
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    Re: How many microfiber polishing cloths do I need to detail my car?

    my wife keeps asking my why do you need more towels? you have 3 large plastic containers!!! i dont know what to say i love them and feeli need alot .
    names tom i live in nj with my wife cindy .and our 3 children. samantha gabriella and little tom...

  9. #9
    Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: How many microfiber polishing cloths do I need to detail my car?



    I forgot I wrote this.


    Need for webcast



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