How To Wash Microfiber Towels Properly (With Pictures)


Microfiber towels are an essential tool in every car detailer’s arsenal because they are very efficient at picking up dirt, dust, and debris. They are very durable, but you have to take care of them.

In this blog post, I am going to talk about how to wash your microfiber towels properly. As a bonus, at the end of the article, I will share a recipe for homemade microfiber detergent.

In order to wash your microfiber towels properly, you first need to separate the towels into different groups depending on how dirty they are. Then, pre-soak the microfiber towels in warm water and degreaser or all-purpose cleaner. Place the towels into a washing machine and choose the coldest cycle possible. Pour a mild detergent and pour 1/2 of white vinegar. Once done, air dry the microfiber towels.

How To Wash Microfiber Towels Properly

Microfiber towels are used both in car detailing and in housekeeping. They will last a long time if you take care of them. Microfiber towels are made of polyamide and polyester. Those fibers are thinner than human hair which makes them very fragile. Microfiber towels have a melting point which makes heat their biggest enemy. All of the above information just contribute to how important is to wash your microfiber towels properly.

1. Separate the microfiber towels

How To Wash Microfiber Towels Properly

In order to wash your microfiber towels properly, you will need to separate the microfiber towels from any other types of fabrics. You do not want to mix microfiber towels with other fabrics because they’re very good at picking up lint and obviously you do not want that.

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Next, you’re gonna separate your microfiber towels according to what you use them from. What I normally do is have a separate pile for anything that’s very dirty such as microfiber towels used for engine bay detailing, tires, and wheels. Set that aside.

You can have a pile of any towels that you are using for polishing removal. So, stuff like compounds and polishes usually contain abrasives and they’re going to clog the fibers. You don’t want to mix them with towels that you’d have for your interior or for applying waxes or removing paint sealants or ceramic coatings.

2. Pre-soak your microfiber towels if you are too dirty

How To Wash Microfiber Towels Properly

If your microfiber towels are extremely soiled or dirty such as this one which has a bit of soiling in it, you will need to pre-soak them. What I recommend is to either dunk them in a sink that you can fill with a bit of warm water, not hot water.

If you have a 5-gallon bucket, you can fill that up with water as well. What I also recommend is to use a multi-purpose cleaner and degreaser. Nothing fancy, no need to buy something special for this task. Just use what you already have in your household. That’s going to help to start a loosen and break down all those oils and all that excessive dirt from your microfiber towels. When they’re done soaking for a few hours, just wring them out properly and then you’re gonna take your dirty towels and you’re gonna open your washer and throw those in there.

3. Wash on a regular cycle with cold water

The settings on the washer are a very important part. Turn the washer on and select a normal cycle. That’s super important because you do want some agitation in the tub itself. Agitation scrubs the fibers and helps to remove all of that stuff on the temperature control.

Next, select cold so cold wash which is awesome for microfiber towels. If they’re dirtier than usual, you can go up to either semi-warm or warm, but never ever use the hot setting. This is very important because the water tank in your household is set to roughly 140 degrees Fahrenheit or 60 degrees Celsius and that’s the melting point of microfibers. You would damage the towels.

That’s why you never use hot water. So, cold is preferable and you can go up to warm or lukewarm and that’s fine. If you have the option to select extra rinse as well. The extra rinse is very good and is going to help really release all the dirt and oil that and that’s inside the towels.

4. Use a gentle liquid detergent

The best detergent for washing microfiber towels is a gentle liquid detergent free of dyes, scents, bleach, or fabric softeners.

The ideal detergent for washing microfiber towels is something like Tide Free and Gentle all free and clear, or whatever you guys have at home that you use. Inessentially something that’s free of any dyes, any scents, absolutely no fabric softeners in there, and no bleach. So, as pure detergent as you can find.

The reason why you should use a gentle liquid detergent when washing your microfiber towels is that you do not want to clog the fibers of your microfiber towels with any fabric softener or any other chemicals that can leave a residue on the towel.

There are also some microfiber-specific detergents. One of my favorite ones is micro restore. This one is very efficient and requires just a few ounces for a single wash. It actually has a filler that’s integrated into the bottle and you pour that directly into your detergent dispenser in your washer.

You don’t necessarily have to buy microfiber-specific detergents. As I said, you can use something free and gentle or free and clear.

5. Pour 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar into the bleach port of your washer

How To Wash Microfiber Towels Properly

Another very important step is to add 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar into the bleach port or the fabric softener dispenser of your washer. Basically, the vinegar will be released during the rinse cycle and is going to help further release any oils, dirt, or any gunk that might be in the fibers. So, get a measuring cup and pour half a cup into your bleach tray or your fabric softener tray. Next, start your washer and wait for it to finish.

6. Use air dry or tumble dry settings (lowest possible heat)

After the washing is done, next is the drying stage. Remove your towels from your washer and put them inside the dryer. Make sure that the lint trap is free of any lint so that way you have good airflow to increase the efficiency of your dryer.

Turn the dryer on and select either low heat or no heat at all. Some dryers have an air-dry option and others have to tumble dry. Whatever your dryer has, select the lowest possible heat. The air-dry option uses ambient air that blows on the towels and driest the towels. As far as the time duration, select thirty to sixty minutes, depending on how many towels you have inside.

What I like about using a dryer for drying microfiber towels is that it recharges that electrostatic cling. Microfibers are known to be very grabby. They are kind of like little fingers and they have an electrostatic charge on them which helps to pick up all the dust and dirt.

Never use dryer sheets or fabric softener sheets in the dryer because that would go ahead and release a chemical that will clog the fibers which you do not want. Also, those chemicals have a tendency to destroy the fibers over time.

If you don’t have a dryer or do not want to use one, you have the option of using a rack. Basically, you are gonna let them hang dry by putting them on your towel rack. Avoid hanging your microfiber towels outside because they’re going to pick up a lot of dust from the exterior air.

Homemade Microfiber Liquid Detergent

There are a lot of microfiber detergents that you can buy online, but why not make your own? Below you will find a recipe for a homemade microfiber liquid detergent that is non-toxic and does the job perfectly.

1. Required items

  • Six cups of water
  • 4 tbsp of Kosher salt
  • 2 and 1/4 cups of Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds
  • Large bowl
  • Spoon

2. Preheat the six cups of water

Using a kettle or what works for you, preheat the six cups of water. There is no need for the water to boil. It just has to be warm enough to dissolve the salts.

3. Pour the water into the large bowl

Using a measuring cup, pour the six cups of warm water into the large bowl.

4. Add four tbsp of Kosher salt

Add four tablespoons of Kosher salt into the large bowl. Kosher salt is important to this recipe because of the large granules. If you use any other type of salt, it will not work because I’ve tried it. Not sure why, but Kosher salt thickens up the soap so that you have a nice thick laundry detergent instead of runny laundry detergent.

5. Stir the mixture

Using the spoon, stir the mixture really nicely. Make sure that the Kosher salt is completely disovlved.

6. Add Dr.Bronner’s Sal Suds

Get the measuring cup and add 2 and 1/4 cups of Dr.Bronner’s Sal Suds. This cleaner is a very effective cleaner. You just wouldn’t want to use it on your body because it is a much stronger soap than Castile soap. It is a very safe and non-toxic soap and the smell doesn’t stay on the microfiber towels after they are being washed.

Stir the mixture again with the spoon until fully dissolved.

7. Add it to a container

Once the mixture is nice and without any salt or soap residue, add it to a seal-tight container. You can use an old laundry detergent container if you have or you can add it to a bottle.

Car Care Hacks

Hi there. I am a certified Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) mechanic since 2018 and a car detailer for 10 years.

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