In this article we hope to answer a few of the most common questions we receive related to microfiber cloths and hopefully broaden your knowledge on what makes microfiber the best choice for keeping your car in peak condition.
What is Microfiber?
The term microfiber is used to describe any fiber with a thickness below 1.0 denier. The unit of measurement denier is used to measure single strands of yarn weight over 9000 meters. For example, a single strand of silk weighs 1 gram per 9000 meters giving silk a measurement of 1.0 denier.
What is microfiber made from?
Microfiber used in the car care industry is made from a blend of polyester and polyamide, such as nylon. The mix of these two materials is important to the performance of the microfiber. The polyester serves to absorb oils based liquids while the polyamide serves to absorb water based liquids.
While budget microfibers will opt for an 80:20 blend of polyester to polyamide a more expensive manufacturer will use a 70:30 blend for optimum performance on both oil and water based liquids.
Why is denier important?
Low budget microfibers will typically consist of fibers of 0.2 denier. This type of microfiber is safe on durable surfaces such as glass, interior plastics, fabric and leather but is not recommended for use on your cars paintwork or gloss surfaces. Over time microfibers of 0.2 denier will create superfine surface marring on the surface and cause dulling of the finish. High end microfiber will typically consist of fibers of 0.13 denier over one and a half times finer than the budget microfibers this type of microfiber is safe on all surfaces including your paintwork and gloss surfaces. Over 150 times finer than a human hair 0.13 denier is the softest microfiber, but comes with an additional price tag due to the added expense of manufacturing the fibers over the cheaper 0.2 denier fiber.
What happens after the fiber is produced?
The first thing the manufacturer will decide is whether or not to split the fibers, while this creates additional expense to the finished product the performance increase gained is considered vital to most manufacturers. Splitting the fiber increases the surface area by creating a capillary action that allows the fibers to retain dirt and dust rather than just spreading it around the panel. Next the manufacturer will chose the density of the fibers for the finished product, usually denoted in the finished product by the grams per square meter or GSM number. A higher GSM number means the finished product will be thicker and the absorbency and cleaning performance increased.
Why are my glass towels different to my buffing towels?
The fibers will be woven together to create large rolls of the raw material, the intended usage of the finished product will determine what type of weave is chosen for the fibers.
The standard weave for microfiber products is known as ‘terry weave’. While this is cheapest to produce and maintains the full performance of the microfiber, the finished product is more likely to lint in use, or streak when wet.
For micro suede the weave is very densely packed with very low fiber lengths to create a very smooth finish, resulting in a lower absorbency rate. Towels intended for cleaning glass will have a woven pattern similar to corduroy to eliminate lint issues while maintaining a high performance of absorbency, and a more aggressive cleaning action than terry weave. With this weave you minimize streaking (although streaking may occur if the cloth is over saturated).
The ‘closed loop’ weave is the most expensive finished product but is the best choice for performance and popular with detailers for all tasks from removing polish or wax to quick detailer, spray sealants or waterless washing.
Will the edges scratch?
The quality of the finished product will rely on the edging material or style, and yes the edges are the most common cause of scratching caused by microfiber towels.
Budget microfibers will stitch the edges of the finished towel with cotton thread, which can scratch gloss surfaces such as paint and piano black plastics.
To reduce this risk some cloths will have a silk or microfiber band stitched around the edge of the towel. While this reduces the chance of the material fraying, the thread used to stitch the banding can still create marring when in contact with gloss surfaces.
To reduce this further some manufacturers will create edgeless microfiber towels with the use of an ultrasonic cutter, and therefore able to create a product with almost zero risk of scratching even the most delicate of surfaces.
How do I wash my microfibers?
Caring for your microfibers is very simple. We recommend you separate any cloths that are very dirty and pre-soak in a mix of 20:1 all-purpose cleaner. Cloths that are not too dirty or after pre-soak process should be machine washed at 40c on a delicates or cotton setting followed by air drying or preferably tumble dry on a low heat setting for extra fluffy results.