Professional Carwashing & Detailing

New towel trends and innovations

Advice on how to make sure they're being used properly and efficiently.

March 5, 2014

Towels might seem to be simple and universal, however not all towels are created equal and not all perform the same. The two different types of towels are terry cloth and microfiber. According to Danielle Harsip and Valerie Sweeney of ERC Wiping Products, Inc., microfiber towels continue to gain in popularity in the car care industry and are best for drying the windows, while terry towels are still great for drying the body of a car (assuming the towel is not too old and has been cared for properly). Both Harsip and Sweeney also offered  the following advice:

Advice for detailers

Microfiber is really the best way to go for windows and the interior of a vehicle, while terry drying towels are still the most popular towels for the body of the car, but larger microfiber to dry the body  has become more and more popular. Microfiber towels now come in the same size as a standard terry drying towel. The best towels for the wheel wells and door jambs are terry bar towels — they are thin and small enough to get in to tough to reach parts of the wheels and doors.

Advice for full serve washers

All types of towels work: Huck, microfiber and terry. Customers at a full serve wash are expecting their car to come out spotless. The way to do this is to use the right kind of towel on each part of the car.

Towel trends

Car care business owners want their cars dry, free of streaks and spots on the windows. The best way to do this is to make sure you have the best quality towels and microfiber.

Tips for terry towels:

  • Use hot water for the first few washings. It will help to break in the towels more quickly. If hot water is not available, bring the towels to a Laundromat or commercial laundry where they can be washed for a minimum of eight minutes with a water temperature greater than 168 degrees.
  • Fully dry the towels after the first few washings to collect the excess lint. Empty the lint trap after every load.
  • Never use bleach. Bleach breaks down the cotton fibers, resulting in lint.
  • Avoid washing old towels with new towels.
  • Avoid washing window towels, detail towels and body towels together.
  • Don't use fabric softener.
  • Use fresh water each laundry load, because reusing water will retain lint.
  • Darker colors take longer to break in then lighter colors or white.
  • Add one cup of distilled vinegar once a week. The vinegar will help to remove musty damp smells, and wax build up from the towel.
  • By increasing the alkalinity of the water, you can also help to open the fibers and diminish the sizing during the break-in period.

Tips for microfiber towels:

  • Wash in either cool water or warm water (approximately 105 degrees or less).
  • Tumble dry low, air dry, or place in an extractor.  Please make sure dryer has fully cooled off from previous load.
  • ALWAYS wash colors separately.
  • NEVER use bleach or fabric softener.
  • NEVER iron.
  • NEVER wash microfiber towels with other laundry, especially cotton terry towels. The lint from the other towels will stick to the microfiber and you will have a very hard time getting it off.  To keep the wedges intact, it is best to wash microfibers in a full load to ensure less wear and tear.

Don’t make these mistakes

Some business owners don’t care for their towels as much as they care for their machinery. Towels may be a low cost item in comparison to expensive machines, but not caring for them properly leaves lint and scratches on cars, and if you don’t care for your towels, you could end up spending at least twice as much on towels then you really need to.