How to Wash Microfiber Towels for Cars: The Ultimate Guide

Microfiber towels are a useful and versatile tool for auto detailing and caring for your vehicle’s exterior. These cloths are made with super-thin fibers that feel really soft. They pick up dirt, dust, grime, and even fingerprints without leaving any marks or scratches on your paint or windows.

However, to maintain their effectiveness, towels need special care when washing. With the proper cleaning methods, you can restore the absorbency of your towels and extend their lifespan. Follow this guide to learn everything you need to know about washing microfiber towels.

Why Use Microfiber Towels for Cars?

Microfiber towels are ideal for auto detailing because:

  • Absorbency – These special towels are made of fibers that work like tiny sponges. They can soak up water, oil, wax, and even dirt much better than regular towels.
  • Fast drying time – Microfiber dries quickly compared to cotton, meaning your towels will be ready to reuse in no time.
  • Lint-free – Won’t leave behind lint, fuzz or particles that can scratch paint. Microfiber traps the dirt instead of spreading it around.
  • Gentle on surfaces – Fine threads are smooth on paint, glass, chrome and other surfaces. Reduces swirl marks and light scratches.

Preparing Towels for Washing

Before washing your towels, take a few preparatory steps:

  • Shake out loose debris – Get rid of any loose dirt or crumbs by shaking the towel or pressing it down firmly.
  • Pre-treat heavily soiled areas – If there are any big stains, put some stain remover on them and let it sit for a bit before washing. This helps get rid of greasy or oily spots.
  • Check the label – Some microfiber may have specific washing instructions. Make sure you follow those.

Washing Methods

You have two options when it comes time to clean your microfiber towels – using a washing machine or hand washing. Here’s how to decide:

  • Washing machine – Best for towels used for messy jobs, like wiping up polish or grease, when they need a strong cleaning.
  • Hand wash – Better for lightly used towels. You can focus on any stains with special care. Quick and easy.

Washing Towels by Hand

someone hand-washing a microfiber towel

For best results, microfiber towels should be washed by hand. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Fill your sink or a bucket with cool water and add a small amount of mild detergent.
  1. Submerge the towels and allow to soak for 15-30 minutes. This gives the detergent time to penetrate and loosen dirt and oils.
  1. Move the towels around by squeezing and rubbing. The friction helps remove stuck grime.
  1. Drain the dirty water and refill the container with clean, cool water. Rinse the towels thoroughly to remove all traces of detergent.
  1. Avoid wringing or twisting as this can damage the delicate microfiber strands. Instead, press them gently to squeeze out excess moisture.
  1. Lay the towels flat or hang to air dry.

Caution: Never use fabric softener or bleach when washing microfiber because they will damage the fibers.

Washing Towels in the Machine

Washing microfiber towels in washing machine

While hand washing is best, you can wash microfiber towels in the machine if you follow these tips:

  1. Set your washing machine to the gentle or delicate cycle, which agitates the towels less and protects the fibers.
  1. Add cold water in the washing machine. Avoid hot water as it can shrink or damage the synthetic fibers.
  1. Add a small amount of mild detergent according to the instructions on the bottle.
  1. Place the microfiber towels into the washing machine and start the cycle.
  1. Wash them separately from other laundry items, especially cotton towels.
  1. After the washing cycle finishes, allow the machine to run an extra rinse cycle. This removes all leftover detergent residue.

After washing dry the towels completely. Lay them flat or hang them up to air dry. This is the safest way, like letting your clothes dry on a line in the sun.

Cleaning Products to Use and Avoid

What to use:

  • Mild liquid detergent – Look for a mild detergent made for fabrics like towels.

Avoid the following products:

  • Bleach: This harsh stuff can break down the fibers and make your microfiber weak. Don’t even mix them!
  • Fabric softener: This coats the fibers, making them less absorbent and less effective at cleaning. Skip it!

Benefits of Washing Towels Properly

It’s important to wash towels regularly and properly for these reasons:

  • Extends lifespan – Frequent washing and proper care keeps towels in good condition for more uses before needing replacement.
  • Maintains absorbency – Washing after each use prevents dirt and oil buildup that reduces absorbency.
  • Prevents scratches – Clean towels mean no particles get dragged across paint causing swirl marks or scratches.
  • Prevents mold and mildew – Detergent removes grime where mold can grow. Drying fully after washing prevents this.
  • Saves money – Taking good care of towels means you won’t have to replace them as often.

Maintaining and Storing Microfiber Towels

Neatly folded and rolled microfiber towels in cupboard

Follow these tips for maintaining and storing your towels between uses:

  • Fold or roll up towels – Don’t bunch them together tightly. Allow space for air circulation.
  • Pick a good spot: Keep towels in a cool, dry place like a cupboard or drawer. Avoid excessive heat, moisture or direct light.
  • Wash regularly: Wash towels at least once a month, especially if you use them a lot. Dirty towels just don’t work as well.
  • Avoid snags: Keep them away from sharp things or rough surfaces that could snag them.

By taking simple care of your towels and keeping them in the right place, you can make them last longer .

Signs Your Microfiber Towels Need Replacing

With proper care, high-quality microfiber towels can last 1-2 years or longer. But there are a few signs it’s time to replace them:

  • Holes, snags or tears – If your towel has holes, snags, or tears, it’s no longer doing its job of soaking up water. It’s time for a new one!
  • Loss of absorbency – An older towel won’t soak up water and liquids as quickly.
  • Stiff, rough texture – As fibers break down, the towel feels rough and scratchy instead of soft and fluffy. The fibers get hard over time.
  • Discoloration that doesn’t come out when washing could mean the towel is too worn out.


By properly washing and taking care of your microfiber towels, you can keep them in good shape for keeping your vehicle clean. Just follow the above steps for washing, whether by hand or using a machine. This helps make sure that these special cloths stay absorbent, soft, and free of lint. It’s important to avoid using damaging stuff like bleach and fabric softener to keep the microfiber fibers in good condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you machine wash microfiber car towels?

Yes, you can machine wash microfiber car towels. Set your washing machine to the gentle or delicate cycle with cold water and a small amount of mild detergent. Wash them separately from other laundry items, and avoid using fabric softener or bleach. After washing, air dry or tumble dry on a low setting.

What is the best thing to wash microfiber towels in?

The best thing to wash microfiber towels in is cold water with a mild liquid detergent. For machine washing, choose the gentle or delicate cycle. If washing by hand, use a sink or bucket filled with cool water and a small amount of mild detergent. Always check the label for any specific washing instructions for your microfiber towels.

How do you dry a microfiber car towel?

To dry a microfiber car towel, either air dry by laying it flat or hanging it up, or tumble dry on a low setting. Avoid high heat, as it can damage the synthetic fibers. Never wring or twist the towels, as it may harm the delicate microfiber strands. Ensure they are completely dry before storing or using them again.

What is the best detergent for microfiber?

The best detergent for microfiber is Woolite Damage Defense Laundry Detergent. It is a mild liquid detergent designed for fabrics like towels. Avoid using bleach or fabric softener, as bleach can break down fibers, and fabric softener coats the fibers, making them less absorbent. Stick to a detergent like Woolite for optimal care of your microfiber towels.


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