What are Micro Fibres?

Shane of HD Valeting and Detailing uses three micro fibre towels when drying a car.

A detailer’s toolkit is not complete without a good set of microfiber cloths. Microfiber is a standard material used in the car industry because it includes a blend of two materials Polyester and Polyamide which play a key role in its performance. Polyester will absorb oil based liquids and the Polyamide will absorb water based liquids.

There are various different genres of microfibre available – suede-like glass cloths, super absorbent drying towels, general purpose cloths, and super plush buffing towels for wax removal. Always be very careful not to drop your cloths on the ground – for some detailers, any microfibre that has been dropped is either binned on the spot or demoted to dirty duties like engine bay cleaning.

Performance of the microfiber can be improved by splitting the fibres to create a larger surface area which enables the cloth to retain dust and dirt more effectively. The standard weave for a microfiber is known as a ‘terry weave’. Not only is this the cheapest material to use while maintaining optimum performance, the end product produces less lint and does not streak when the material is wet.

When purchasing a microfiber for detailing, be careful about the edging. Some cloths are edged with a rough cotton thread which can cause scratches to the surface of the paintwork. An edgeless microfiber cloth or those with a silk microfiber band are recommended when they are used for vehicle detailing.

Taking care of your microfibers is relatively easy. Ensure that you keep used and new cloths separate and very dirty cloths can be soaked in an all purpose cleaner with a ratio of 20:1. Cloths that are not too dirty can be washed in the washing machine at 40c on a delicate or wool setting using non-bio liquid or a specialist microfiber detergent. Once washed, cloths can be air dried or tumble dried on a low heat. Do not use fabric softener and if you are regularly washing your microfibres, it might be worth investing in specific microfibre washing liquid that can be used in your washing machine.

Manufacturers are developing new microfibres and microfibre-based products all the time so do keep an eye on the new products section in the Pro Detailer Magazines for the latest creations.

Ben of Aspect Valeting uses a suede-like micro fibre wrapped around a sponge pad to apply a coating (Photo: Antony Fraser)