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Mike Phillips
Feb 4th, 2009, 09:46 AM
How many microfiber polishing cloths do I need to detail my car? (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30290)


Often times 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 another consideration is washing your microfiber polishing cloths. It's best to not wash microfiber 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.

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 cloths.


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 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.

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/2F150Finished11.jpg

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/21956Ford150a.jpg


2006 Mosler with an easily scratched clear coat finish
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/500/Mosler023_jpg.JPG


1954 Corvette - Single Stage black Lacquer Paint
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/500/54Vette001_jpg.JPG


Steve Radigan's 1960 Corvette - Single Stage Black Lacquer Paint
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/260VetteAfter01.jpg


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

Chip Foose's Challenging Challenger
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/2OverhaulinwithM80.jpg


Steve Metz Panic Parrot
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/2PPFrontShot1.jpg



And during this detail session, the microfiber polishing cloths used were washed using powdered Tide laundry soap
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/500/BatmobileFinished001.jpg

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.


:)

eyezack87
Feb 4th, 2009, 10:05 AM
You can never have too many microfibers :woot2

draperd
Feb 4th, 2009, 10:07 AM
You can never have too many microfibers :woot2

:iagree:

sstg
Feb 4th, 2009, 10:26 AM
You can never have too many microfibers :woot2

Correction. You can never have to many QUALITY microfibers.:D

Malo83
Feb 4th, 2009, 10:37 AM
Okay now how many MF do you use to wax/polish your car? I went thru 11 doing my new 08 Malibu this past weekend :dunno

ColonelCash
Feb 4th, 2009, 10:46 AM
Great write-up, Mike!

RDVT4ME
Feb 4th, 2009, 11:57 AM
I have a clothes hamper in the garage for microfibers and terry cloth towels. Since some microfibers are only used for paint and some are only for interior you want to keep them separate. I use white kitchen garabage bags and put them in the hamper. One bag will contain all the nice white meguiars MF towels and another bag will contain the yellow costco MF towels and another the terry towels that I use on the interior. When it's time to wash, I just pull out the appropriate bag. Keeps them all in the same place, but separate.

Tuck91
Feb 4th, 2009, 06:38 PM
This is what i like to do and have available

Wiping off a quick detailer: SS microfibers
removing wax: SS microfibers
removing paint cleaners, polishes or compounds: Ultimate wipe
glass care: Costco microfibers or Vroom Microfibers
drying: Water Magnet or Soft Touch Microfiber Chamois
Interior Care: Costco Microfiber/ Walmart Microfibers
Tire and wheel well care: soft cotton towels or old Walmart microfibers

SS microfibers: 22
Costco Microfibers: 66 ( bought two packs of 36 towels, good sale)
Walmart Microfibers: 12
Water Magnets: 3
Soft Touch Microfiber Chamois: 1
Vroom microfiber towels: 24
Old tatty towels: 12


Its better to have dedicated towels/microfibers for:

Paint care
Interior Care
Wheel and tire care


You kinda get the idea

MDetail
Feb 5th, 2009, 08:33 PM
Awesome info, and a question I have always had.

240SX
Jun 1st, 2009, 01:21 PM
For my interior work I just use dollar store MFs. I guess I'm going to buy some expensive ones when I start doing exterior detailing.

Eddie6th
Jun 3rd, 2009, 07:40 AM
'Microfibres' - 'The more,the merrier!'

Mostly i stick with the Meg's ones.Recently,i picked up a 5 pack in a budget store,but put it back down again when i noticed there were bits of plastic or something,stuck in them.So be carefull on your selection for your bodywork!

Eddie6th
Jun 3rd, 2009, 07:44 AM
The paint on the below 1956 Ford F150 is a single stage urethane and was easily scratched if you were not careful.

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/2F150Finished11.jpg

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/21956Ford150a.jpg


2006 Mosler with an easily scratched clear coat finish
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/500/Mosler023_jpg.JPG


1954 Corvette - Single Stage black Lacquer Paint
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/500/54Vette001_jpg.JPG


Steve Radigan's 1960 Corvette - Single Stage Black Lacquer Paint
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/260VetteAfter01.jpg


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

Chip Foose's Challenging Challenger
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/2OverhaulinwithM80.jpg


Steve Metz Panic Parrot
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/2PPFrontShot1.jpg



And during this detail session, the microfiber polishing cloths used were washed using powdered Tide laundry soap
http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/500/BatmobileFinished001.jpg

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.


:)



Love all those cars!:drool1:drool1:drool1

Chip Foose-Great guy that really knows his stuff!

:worship

Ultraman
Jun 5th, 2009, 06:55 AM
I agree that you can never have too many MF towels. I use the freshest MF towels for buffing and removing waxes. The older MF towels are used for washing, and the really old ones I use to remove dirt and grime from the wheels.

maikolo
Jun 6th, 2009, 01:49 AM
The more the merrier, I have all my mircofibers in diffrent colours just so i know whats for what.

Bunky
Jun 6th, 2009, 05:28 AM
My guess those who have actually experienced problems with powered detergents are probably just using too much soap...more is not better...even liquid. The more you add the more you have to rinse.

It is better to wash twice (run cucle again) rather than just trying to add extra detergent assuming it will clean better.

akimel
Jun 6th, 2009, 07:13 AM
My guess those who have actually experienced problems with powered detergents are probably just using too much soap...more is not better...even liquid. The more you add the more you have to rinse.

It is better to wash twice (run cucle again) rather than just trying to add extra detergent assuming it will clean better.

I know that our MOL microfiber expert, dftowel (Leo Cerutti), recommends less liquid detergent than recommended on the bottle. I add a little vinegar to the first rinse cycle and then run a second rinse cycle.

ziggo99
Jul 1st, 2009, 06:46 PM
I just use Woolite and do a dual rinse on cold water and air dry.
But I probably got at least 25 MF's around. Good stuff, better than the old towels we have in milk crates. So old...

beautechnique-scott
Jul 19th, 2009, 08:37 AM
i think to date i have around 30 average MF's, 5 poorboys, 7 chemical guys, 1 dodo towel and a whole load more various ones..........about 50 in total.
all washed on cold and air dried, tumble drying drys them out and makes them stiff and harsh.
if you can get MF's cheap or they are good value and quality for money buy them as you will always find use for them.

EPHIOS
Dec 21st, 2009, 08:20 AM
I try to use as much mf towels as I can, when detailing my car. I have many different types or brands of mf towels. I have ones for all-around (including for glass and trims), touch-ups (for quik detailers), claying (SS mf is excellent), buffing the wax-off, and interior. The lower quality mf, I use liquid detergent that non-dye and non-perfume. For the higher quality mf, I also use the same liquid detergent, but this time I hand-wash it and air-dry it ONLY!

fullbirdmusic
Jan 2nd, 2010, 04:42 AM
I've read about different percentages of polyester and cotton for MF towels - 70/30 and 80/20 - does anyone know the benefit of one opposed to the other? Mostly I've seen the 80/20s advertised as "drying" towels.

EPHIOS
Jan 6th, 2010, 06:50 PM
I've read about different percentages of polyester and cotton for MF towels - 70/30 and 80/20 - does anyone know the benefit of one opposed to the other? Mostly I've seen the 80/20s advertised as "drying" towels.

Well, from what I have been reading, 70% polyester/30% polymide (70/30), are more expensive to make. I know one does the cleaning and the other does the polishing, I just can't remember which one is which.

fullbirdmusic
Jan 6th, 2010, 11:57 PM
Well, from what I have been reading, 70% polyester/30% polymide (70/30), are more expensive to make. I know one does the cleaning and the other does the polishing, I just can't remember which one is which.
Great! Thanks for the info! :dp:

EPHIOS
Jan 7th, 2010, 07:12 AM
I use nothing but microfiber towels on my car!