Evaluation of Microfiber Towels (dry, polish, wax)

Posted by: Gary Ray on 2002-04-28 at 20:55:49
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Since buying a Jet Black 330i Iíve started investigating microfiber towels. Why? I swore the impossible. Having never owned a black car before, I claimed that I would find a way to remain swirl and micro-scratch free.

The first thing I did was look at how scratches and swirls are introduced into the paint. Looking around at other cars with this problem, including McGuiarís sponsored cars that looked like they were scoured with a brillow pad, I determined three things: 1) Car washes are absolutely forbidden, 2) Most damage is done with the improper use of an electric buffer, 3) towels scratch cars, and towels most often touch the paint when the car is being dried.

The first decision was simple. After having a local car wash destroy a set of new wheels with acidic cleaner, I became a detailing fanatic. The second decision was also pretty easy. I wonít use an electric buffer. Since Iím using Zaino, thereís really no need for a buffer anyway, although Iím sure you could use one safely if you really wanted to. The third problem was tough.

I had been using a California Water Blade on my previous car, but I had also used 100% cotton towels to mop up the parts the water blade canít get to. These towels were high quality too, rivaling the towels my wife buys for the bathroom (donít tell her though!). After my first wash with Jet Black and the obvious micro-scratches from the cotton towels, I could either take the advice of the skeptics and accept this or find another solution.

That other solution was microfiber towels. These towels are amazing. Without scratching or creating swirls, microfiber towels can dry the car, apply polish, clean windows and just about anything you can think of, but without the scratches you get with cotton towels. What Iíve discovered is that not all microfiber towels are created equal, and price has little to do with the quality.

So letís take a look at the three towels that Iíve evaluated: Yosteve.com Ultra Microfiber Towel, Griot's Garage Microfiber Towel, and Meguiar's Ultimate Wipe.

The first towel is the Ultra Microfiber towel from Yosteve.com. These were highly recommended in the Autopia detailing forums, so I decided to give them a try.

The first thing I noticed with the green Ultra Microfiber towels were how they leaked green die onto my other microfiber towels. This smelled of cheapness to me, and it instantly made me a skeptic.

The towels proved to be fine when I put them to use. I could use them to dry the car, including the windows and apply Zaino polish and gloss enhancer spray. These towels were good, although they were a little pricey at $8.89 each. What I found invaluable were the Yosteve.com microfiber applicators. What a great idea! At $6.95 for three, it seemed a bargain, and although they were stained in the first wash with the green towels, they recovered and have worked nicely.

The Griot's Garage Microfiber Towels were the first towels I tried, after hearing so many raves about Griotís Garage from various discussion boards. The towels came individually wrapped in plastic. Unfortunately, the borders were ripped badly when I removed the plastic wash care tags. You would think these would be designed to come off easily, like the Yosteve towels, since people who buy these towels are concerned about scratches.

In service these towels did a great job on painted surfaces. They dry well, apply polish and gloss enhancer spray as expected, but they have a dark side. Over time, the towels lint! They leave bits of lint everywhere you go, requiring you to go back over the area with a fresh towel. You also canít use these towels on windows unless you want them to lint instantly. These are clearly towels to be avoided, and at $5-6 each, they arenít exactly a bargain.

I thought very little of these towels when I first saw them. We picked up several at Bimmerfest this year (ok, more than several, the wife picked up 8 towels!). They come in individual plastic bags and when unfolded, look very much like the Griotís towels.

In service, these towels did an excellent job on painted surfaces, without linting or otherwise causing problems. The Ultimate Wipe also did windows without a hitch. What was really surprising, and what makes these towels my first choice, is that theyíre super absorbent! I could mop up from my drying with just a couple towels, where the Griotís would start to lint with so much use and the Yosteve towels simply didnít hold water. At $5.99 each, these towels are roughly the price of the Griotís towels while outperforming Yosteve.

Even if price were not an issue, the Meguiarís Ultimate Wipe outperforms the YoSteve towels in absorption and avoids the linting problems associated with Griotís Garage Microfiber Towels. At a price of $5.99, these towels are competitively priced with a trusted corporate sponsor. You also shouldnít miss the Yosteve microfiber applicators. With no competitors, this product promises to apply polishes and waxes without scratching your paint.