Microfiber vs. Cotton Towels – Which One Is Better For Car Detailing

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mnicrofiber vs cotton towels, which one to use for car detailing

Even small choices like towels can be a game-changer in boosting customer satisfaction and saving time, as well as maintaining the safety of the car. Today I’m gonna talk about the differences between microfiber and cotton towels and which ones are the best for car detailing.

You should always use microfiber cloths/towels when detailing a car. By using microfiber towels, you’ll prevent damage to both interior and exterior surfaces, and you’ll also get better detailing results. Cotton towels aren’t that soft and are more likely to cause swirls and scratches on your car.

Choosing between the right type and kind of fabric for towels is essential because, as car detailers, you want to make sure that you are deciding on something that lasts longer, costs less for the quality delivered, and does not make you switch frequently between products.

While we are at it, microfiber towels are better than cotton towels in terms of strength and durability for car detailing services. It is mainly because of the tightness of the fabric threads present in the microfiber towels that deliver great strength to make them last longer.

Choosing The Best Towel For Car Detailing

The basic purpose of a detailing towel is to soak the water, dry your car, wipe off the dirt, fragments, and other particles from your vehicle’s surface and assist in the processes of detailing or polishing.

The most important thing to keep in mind while using a towel for detailing is ensuring that the vehicle’s paint remains intact.

Having said that, the worst choice you can make in this process is to opt for an abrasive fabric that can damage the surface of your vehicle’s paint.

There are various components that should be taken into account while deciding on buying car wash towels:

1. Level of Softness

The level of gentleness of the towel will ensure that you do not accidentally damage the exterior or interior of a vehicle. Choosing a towel that remains soft and gentle even after various washes is crucial.

In terms of softness, microfiber towels are a much better choice for washing cars:

2. The Strength And Durability of Fabric

The strength and durability of fabric are extremely important for auto detailers. And while both cotton and microfiber towels are pretty durable, microfiber is still a much better option for washing cars.

It is mainly because of the tightness of the fabric threads present in the microfiber towels that deliver great strength to make them last longer.

3. Size of The Towel For Detailing

Detailing is not a single leveled process. It includes various tasks like washing, interior cleaning, waxing, and scrubbing.

An expert will always feel the need to switch to a different-sized towel for each activity.

Large-sized towels (check the price now) are ideally used for the vehicle’s exterior to cover more surface area at a time. Large-sized towels are the best option for drying the car. They can soak so much water that you can dry out the whole car without draining them.

4. Weight of The Detailing Towel

Usually, thicker and heavy towels are aimed to absorb more liquid. On the contrary, lighter and thinner towels have the advantage of drying quickly.

Cotton towels are often too heavy, and once they’re wet, they’ll take a lot of time to dry. On the other hand, microfiber cloths are pretty light, even when they’re much thicker than cotton towels.

5. The Color Range of The Detailing Towel

You may think that coloring isn’t so important at first, but it actually is. Many professional car detailers use the “color coding” technique – for instance, they only use blue towels for cleaning glass, red towels for cleaning interior plastics, etc. That way, you always use the same type of microfiber towels for one purpose.

And more importantly, colored microfiber towels won’t wash out and translate the color to other things in your washing machine – that’s why I highly suggest using them.

Microfiber vs. Cotton: Comparison

While choosing between microfiber and cotton towels it is very important to consider the fiber each material is made of.


  • Since we are talking about car detailing, it tends to push the dirt and particles rather than keep it inside the cloth.
  • Cotton tends to grow bacteria and give odor, considering it is made up of organic material. It is also necessary for cotton to disperse cottonseed oil, requires more time to dry, and often leaves fluff behind.


  • Microfiber is made from synthetic materials like polyester and polyamide or nylon blend, whereas cotton has a natural fiber. Microfiber material is extremely fine, ranging to 1/100th in diameter compared to human hair and almost 1/3rd in the diameter of cotton fiber.
  • Microfiber towels are highly absorbent up to an extent where they can contain 7-8 times their weight in water.
  • Because of its synthetic build-up, it can effectively trap and pick contaminants, dust, and particles from the surface.
  • The material itself can last longer if it is properly maintained and used.

However, microfiber has a few cons to it as well. It is costly compared to cotton and requires special cleaning. But I would say it is just a cost that comes with the quality and benefits it provides.

Detailing experts also believe that when comparing microfiber and cotton towels for detailing purposes, microfiber stands out.

However, some people are not quite adaptive toward change, so they hold on to using cotton towels. This is also because they are less informed about microfiber material’s benefits.

That’s the reason why I’m writing this article; I want all of you to be informed about the importance of using microfiber towels when detailing your car.

Always Choose Microfiber Over Cotton Towels For Washing Cars

All detailing experts consider microfiber towels to be their holy grail while rendering services. Microfiber suits various needs, whether cleaning the windows, treating leather seats, or washing an exterior of a vehicle.

If you are in the automotive detailing business or just a hobby detailer who likes to wash their car, I will tell you the 3 key reasons why microfiber towels are better for car detailing.

1. Great For Cleaning The Dirt During The Detailing Process

Microfiber towels are more effective in cleaning compared to regular towels. It consists of tiny microfibers that pick and trap the dirt inside.

Usually, towels made up of cotton fail to do so and can smither dirt around the surface of a vehicle when rubbed or wiped against the vehicle’s surface.

In addition to this, microfiber is ideal for cleaning. They produce a static charge when the fibers of the microfiber material rub together during the wiping motion in the cleaning process. This allows the fabric to clean the dirt effectively since the charge attracts dust and dirt particles.

2. Microfiber Towels Are Non-Abrasive in Nature

As I mentioned earlier, the fiber of the material is so tiny, about 1/1ooth diameter of human hair. When this is combined with the synthetic build-up of polyester and polyamide blend, it is made extremely soft.

Some detailing experts choose to use towels with a varying blend of two, depending upon which service and result they want to achieve. Usually, higher polyamide blends will make the microfiber towel even softer and ideal to clean delicate surfaces like the vehicle’s paint.

These towels lift away dirt in a non-abrasive way even when the towel is wiped from the surface. Hence, there is no chance of paint damage or scratching.

3. Microfiber Towels Are Extremely Absorbent

The absorption capacity of microfiber towels is remarkable. This is mainly due to the presence of thousands of tiny fibers that suck up liquid from the surface.

It can absorb 8 times its weight in water, making it an excellent choice for drying a vehicle’s surface without any drop of water or liquid.

The synthetic build of these towels is such that they absorb liquid and are extremely quick and drying out.

Since they can be dried quickly, there is little to no chance of bacteria inhabitation.


We are lucky that we live in the 21st century. People are inventing something new every single day. The same is with the car detailing. There will always be a better way to do something, and so far, microfiber cloths are the best product for car detailing.

People used cotton towels in the past, but back then, they didn’t know about microfiber towels.

If you’re in search of the best microfiber towels for washing cars, check out our recommendation.

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