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 the 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 be talking 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. 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.

Right from the choice of detailing equipment to towels. Opting for the right quality and fabric of towels for detailing is important. Deciding on which towels to use from detailing may not look like a major decision but it is important as it aids to reveal the final product.

You need to make the best choice for your business since there a various options available out there such as:

  • Microfiber
  • Terry
  • Huck
  • Cotton

However, there may be pros and cons to each type, size, color, thickness, and quality of towel fabric I intend to suggest you the best one for car detailing. The most popular and commonly used are the microfiber and cotton ones which I will explain further in this article and put forward my recommendation.

Choosing between the right type and kind of fabric for towels is essential because as business owners you want to make sure that you are deciding on something that lasts longer, cost 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 it last longer.

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Choosing The Right Towel For Vehicle Detailing

An average car driver relies on auto detailing and washing services. Therefore for these businesses, it is essential to make the right choices to ensure customer satisfaction. Opting for the use of the right fabric of towel is important because it saves time and money.

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 to make sure that the vehicle’s paint remains intact.

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

There a various component that should be taken into account while deciding for your detailing business:

1. Level of Softness

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

In terms of softness, cotton and microfiber towels are both great:

  • Cotton tends to become softer after a couple of washes.
  • Microfiber possesses a unique fabric wave that makes it softer even without washes.

Related: Should You Wash a New Microfiber Towel Before First Use?

2. The Strength And Durability of Fabric

Choosing between the right type and kind of fabric for towels is essential because as business owners you want to make sure that you are deciding on something that lasts longer, cost 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 it 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.

16 by 24 inches towels are most used because they fit right into your hand and can be used to accomplish various tasks like cleaning dashboards and door jams.

Large-sized towels (check the price on Amazon 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 are capable of soaking 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.

You must always ensure to keep an appropriate quantity of both in order to fulfill different customer needs.

5. The Color Range of The Detailing Towel

It might seem unnecessary to talk about the color of the detailing towel. However, the color may indicate various aspects of your business.

Aesthetically it can give your service a clean, polished, and organized look. You can also color coordinate the towels for different types of tasks like washing and waxing.

I like to color-code microfiber towels so I know which one is for interior, exterior, glass surfaces, very dirt areas, etc. That way you won’t use the same microfiber cloth for both dirty and less dirty jobs.

9 Reasons Why Car Detailing Is Grea...
9 Reasons Why Car Detailing Is Great For Your Vehicle

Microfiber vs Cotton

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


  • When talking about the cotton towel, it is breathable and gentle that would not scratch the surface of your vehicle plus it’s very cost-effective. However, considering its cost-effectiveness it has a lot of cons in comparison to its pros.
  • Since we are talking about the car detailing, it tends to push the dirt and particles rather than keeping it inside the cloth.
  • Cotton has a tendency 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 leave 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 where it ranged 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 is providing.

Detailing experts are also of the opinion that when comparing microfiber and cotton towels for detailing purposes, microfiber stands out.

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

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!

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

If you are in the automotive detailing business or just a weekend warrior, I will tell you the 3 key reasons why microfiber towels are better for 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 or 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 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 has the capacity of absorbing 8 times its weight in water which makes 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 not only absorb liquid but are also extremely quick and drying out.

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


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 be always a better way to do something, and so far, microfiber cloths are the best product available for car detailing.

In the past, people have used cotton towels, but back then they didn’t know about microfiber towels.

We need to improve ourself all the time, and that will make our detailing job much easier, quicker, and more efficient.


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