This blog will explain the ins and outs of microfibres in the detailing industry. We look to define some terms you may have come across and give you tips on how to manage your microfibre collection.
What is microfibre?
You may have been brought up with the good old bucket and sponge but microfibre towels have been the best thing since sliced bread for the detailing industry. Here we explain their composition:
- A microfibre is defined as any fibre less than 1 denier, 5 times finer than a human hair!
- Typically, microfibre is a blend of polyester and polyamide, and the majority of cleaning microfibres come in 80/20 to 70/30 blends of polyester to polyamide.
- The main difference between microfibres you find in your home (e.g. on some chairs) and those used for cleaning, is that cleaning microfibres are chemically split. When it is split, pores are created in each of the fibres and thus, extra surface area is available to absorb and attract dirt particles.
What is the best microfibre to use in the detailing industry?
Not all microfibres are created equally! There is a wide range of quality in microfibres and there are also specific towels for specific tasks. To know which microfibre is best for automotive applications it comes down to:
- Yarn quality and fineness. The other aspect is the quality control when it comes to weaving, dyes and splitting, the more precise companies are at these processes, the better the microfibre produced.
- If you buy from reputable sources which are known for high quality products and provide products specific to detailing, you know you are get the best on the market. At Shine Easy we import our products from the USA where companies such as TheRagCompany and Autofiber provide some of the highest quality towels in the industry.
Microfibre specifications explained
There are many different terms to sift through when you purchase a microfibre towel, such as the GSM, weave, blend, edge etc. We will explain what they all mean and how you can choose specific microfibres for each section of your car.
Grams per Square Meter (GSM)
- GSM is defined as the weight of the towel, for example, a 500gsm towel is going be heavier than a 200gsm towel.
- Density of the fibres, length of the piles and the thickness of the fibres all play into a towels weight.
- In general, the higher the GSM, the more expensive and more absorbent a towel will be.
- It is the ratio of polyester to polyamide, which in detailing typically ranges from 80/20 to 70/30 polyester to polyamide.
- The best all-rounder is said to be the 70/30 blend due to the higher composition of polyamide which is the more absorbent and softer part of the material, while polyester picks up the dirt. The only downside is that polyamide is more expensive, but as with most things, you have to pay more for good quality/safe cleaning materials.
Each different weave changes the mechanical cleaning action of a towel, therefore their function changes for individual surface. Some examples of different types of weave are as follows:
- Suede – is smooth and is going to glide across the surface, they are not going to lint and streak as they do not have fibres hanging off them, and therefore they are recommended for cleaning glass.
- Waffle Weave – has up and down contours on it, which creates a larger surface area and are recommended for drying glass.
- Terry Weave – is a plusher type material with longer, soft fibres, and is recommended for paintwork.
Much like the dreaded sewn-in tag, the edge of microfibre towels has been the bane of most detailer’s existence. Cheaper towels have a 100% polyester edge which raises a valid concern for scratching the paint as this type of edge creates more of a scrubbing action. The most popular edges for towels in detailing are:
- Hidden edge – two pieces of microfibre sewn into each other, reduces chance of scratching compared to cheaper towels.
- Edgeless – most popular towel for detailers and the only towel that touches paintwork with us at Shine Easy! The edges are cut with ultrasonic technology and stops the towels from fraying, leaving a scratch-free finish every time.
How to maintain and care for your microfibre towels
First thing to note is that they cannot be cleaned like normal clothes, this means, no fabric softeners, bleach, no heat above 50°c or mixing with any cotton. We maintain our microfibre towels at Shine Easy by:
- Using a dedicated microfibre detergent – they have been designed to remove oils, polymers, waxes, chemicals, fallout etc. Unlike household detergents. They are also liquid and not powder, as powder particles can remain in the towels after the wash and lead to scratches when they touch paintwork.
- Never mix your towels together, for example a wheel towel full of fallout should not be mixed with a high quality paintwork towel, this is to avoid cross-contamination which could ruin the integrity of your high quality towels and cause them to scratch.
- Dry your towels using low to no heat. Excessive heat can melt towels and make their surface rough and scratch paintwork.
At Shine Easy our certified detailers use the highest quality microfibres for all detailing work, our results speak volumes. Knowing what materials are being used to care for your vehicle is essential; you should be asking your detailer what microfibres they are using. A lower priced service will come at a reduction in the quality of materials used.
Well that’s it for our guide to microfibres, we hope you have picked up some tips for your next microfibre purchase and you now have an appreciation of the way microfiber technology has moved us forward from the good old bucket and sponge. For more information, please visit our website at www.shineeasy.com or send us an email to email@example.com if you have any further questions. Thanks for your time!