You may be asking yourself "Why in the world would it matter how I wash my microfiber towels? They're just another piece of cloth!" If not, then kudos, you're already smarter than I was before I learned this.
We're going to lead with the information you're looking for because there's nothing worse than having to skim an entire blog post just to find the nugget of info you're interested in. THEN we'll go into the nitty gritty for the folks who want to know the WHY behind the recommendations.
Let's get into it.
How to prep your microfibers before first use
- Before you use your microfiber towels for the first time, make sure to wash them to remove any loose fibers from factory production.
- You should always wash newer red, orange, and black colored towels separately from light colored towels. You don't want your colors bleeding.
You may already know that washing your microfibers before first use is recommended. But you may be surprised by how you're supposed to be washing them.
How to wash microfiber towels
Quick Cleaning - for lightly soiled microfibers:
You can hand wash your towels with warm water and a mild clean-rinsing liquid soap. Clean-rinsing liquid soaps easily rinse out without leaving behind any residue. Make sure to rinse extremely well, until all soap residue is gone and the only thing coming out of your microfiber is water.
Deep Clean - for heavily soiled microfibers:
All of the towels we carry from The Rag Company are machine washable, so you don't need to wash them by hand! Just keep in mind that you don't want to exceed 140° F (60° C) or you risk melting the fibers. Damaging these fibers can make your towels less effective or worse, completely useless. Especially after many washes. We also recommend keeping your dirty microfibers separate from your other laundry pile. That'll make the next step easier.
- ONLY run them through the washer with other non-linting fabrics (Definitely don't wash them with cotton!) - Washing micros without other types of fabric helps to maintain the integrity of the towels, which helps to keep their dirt and water gripping properties. Oh, and keeps them lint free! Microfiber is designed to grab and hold onto lint, which is why you should avoid mixing them in with your other laundry.
- Machine wash with warm water and avoid using hot water.
- Make sure to use a liquid detergent that is clean-rinsing, mild, and as free of perfumes and dyes as possible. Strong scents used in most detergents can actually coat the fibers of the cloth, which reduces their ability to pick up and grip dust/dirt.
- Don't use any fabric softener or chlorine bleach. Fabric softener can clog the fibers and reduce their overall performance. Bleach prematurely breaks down the fibers and kills the electrical charge in the towel that is so crucial to their performance.
- The best way to dry your microfibers is to hang them up to dry outside or inside with plenty of air circulation. If using a machine dryer, make sure to clean out your lint trap thoroughly before loading it up! Dry only with LOW or NO HEAT. You should skip the dryer sheets, as even some of the best out there can clog the towel's fibers.
I'm not sure if anyone actually irons their microfibers, but if you do, you should stop. Ironing microfibers actually melts the fibers. Oh no!
Why is it important to wash microfiber towels properly?
If you're trying to maximize profits at your business, knowing how to properly care for your towels will help reduce the frequency at which they'll need to be replaced. It's also helps to know why microfibers work the way they do in the first place.
Other types of cloths made of cotton or nylon are constructed with large fibers, whereas microfiber cloths are made up of thousands of tiny fibers. These tiny fibers are positively charged, which makes them attract and lift negatively charged grime such as dust or dirt. All those positively charged tiny fibers working together make these cloths super effective at holding onto dirt, dust, and liquids. They'll continue holding on until the cloth is rinsed out.
Now that you know why microfibers work, caring for them properly makes more sense. The key takeaways here are to wash them as gently as you possibly can and help preserve the positive charge the towels have. Once the towels lose their charge and fibers get coated with perfumes/dyes/etc, they stop working as well.
FAQs about microfiber towels
How long should my microfiber towels last?
Since these cloths are designed to be washable and reusable, you can get several years out of them. Remember how I said the towels hold a positive charge? Well, that charge will lessen over time, making them less effective. With the proper use and care, the towels should hold up for 100-500 washes or up to three years.
With all that in mind, it's really going to come down to how you're using and caring for your towels. If you're super rough on them, expect to be replacing your microfiber towels more often.
I washed or dried my towels with heat! How can I tell if the fibers on my microfiber have been melted?
It's pretty hard to tell by just looking at them. To the human eye, a cloth with melted fibers will look pretty much the same as one in normal condition. The easiest way to tell is to pour a small amount of water on a table and try to wipe it up with your microfiber. If your towel has been melted, it will just push the water around instead of absorbing it.
How can I tell when it's time to replace my microfibers?
Kind of like how you tell when it's time to throw out an old t-shirt. The easiest way to tell would be to try to use the microfiber dry for some light dusting. If it's not picking up and holding onto dust, you know it's lost most of its positive charge. Fraying edges, holes, rough feeling fibers, and stains are also signs that point to end-of-life for the rags.
Why is it important to hang dry microfibers?
Frequent machine drying will loosen the tiny strands of fabric and make them prone to pilling (loose strands or balled up fibers on the fabric). If you do have to machine dry, make sure to use low or no heat. This will help to reduce the amount of fabric pilling and also prevent the fibers from melting under higher heat.
If you're looking for the best microfiber cloths for your detail shop, we've got you covered!
If you're familiar with our brand, you know that we don't sacrifice anything when it comes to sourcing the highest quality materials and ingredients for our product line. (We're super fussy about anything we put on our vehicles)
That's why we only carry microfiber towels from The Rag Company, another American company based out of Idaho. They've been a trusted name in the detailing industry since they were founded in 1999.
Check out our full selection of microfiber towels designed to meet your detailing needs! And please, remember to care for them properly.