Selecting a Car Drying Towel: Not a Simple Choice

The most popular items used to dry cars after a car wash–squeegees, chamois, and terricloth cotton towels–actually damage paint. Particularly on dark-colored cars, you can see fine microscratches in direct sunlight which are the cause of dirty and abrasive wash cloths/mitts and dirty or gritty drying devices.In the past decade a new material has radically changed the automotive appearance business: microfiber. Constructed of hundreds of thousands of tiny fibers per square inch, microfiber has exceptional softness and durability. Just as important, the micro-sized dimensions of the individual fibers make paint scratching virtually invisible.Microfiber yarns have 100x the surface area of polyester and cotton. The density–with its many nooks and crannies–allow it to hold 7-8 times its weight in water. It ages better, weighs less, and can be laundered more times than polyester or cotton. In every case, a microfiber towel will clean better than its natural fiber counterpart. Microfiber drying cloths are known to wipe wet windows dry with no streaks or fingerprints at all.Microfiber car drying towels can be laundered and reused as much as 15x the rate of terricloth towels, and 30x the rate of natural and synthetic chamois drying towels. Microfiber drying towels are available in sizes up to 2.5x that of chamois towels, allowing the operator to dry a vehicle with up to 50% less effort.The benefits of microfiber do come with a cost: initial price is higher than chamois and cotton cloths. However, the durability of microfiber makes it the more economical choice over time: it simply does not require the replacement frequency of common car drying devices. Per unit, per use, microfiber is the superior choice when cost is considered as well.Microfiber drying towels have not yet reached the mass market. They can be purchased from automotive specialty retailers, usually online. The preferable style of drying towel is a “waffle weave” towel with the maximum fibers per square inch.If you are committed to driving a modern car, maintaining it with the latest technology, and cleaning/polishing it with modern car care chemicals…take look at your drying towel. Is it as modern as the rest of the tools in your garage?