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Microfibre - Tough Towels with a Strong ROI

The two main types of towels dominating the car care industry are terry (cotton) and microfibre. Although terry towels have been a popular choice over the years for their durability and versatility, microfibre is quickly becoming the top pick for many car washes and detailing centres. Microfibre has revolutionized the auto detailing industry by providing better cleaning, higher quality and longer lasting towels than previously thought possible. Microfibre is an extremely small, synthetic fibre approximately 1/100th the diameter of a human hair. microfibre is primarily constructed from a blend of two materials, polyester and polyamide (nylon). The ratio at which these materials are blended is what adds to the versatility of microfibre and allows towels to be made for a wide range of uses. Blend ratios are expressed in terms of percentage of polyester / polyamide. This also allows towels to be made with different enhanced characteristics such as softness, toughness, absorption, breathability and durability.

Why Microfibre Towels Are Superior to the Rest

As we discussed early, microfibre is extremely small, but the size of the fibre is not the only reason for its superiority. Traditional cleaning cloth fibres are cylindrical and have a tendency to push dirt and moisture around leaving the surface unclean and wet. Blended microfibre is shaped like an asterisk (*). It has the ability to pick up and lock dirt, dust and moisture into the fibres actually cleaning and drying the surface.

Microfibre is positively charged, which adds to its ability to attract dirt like a magnet (dirt is negatively charged). It is also lint free, leaving nothing behind when cleaning or drying. The fibres are so small they are able to penetrate cracks and crevices that cotton fibres are unable to clean, along with cleaning the microscopic surface pores of most materials. Due to the increased surface area of the fibres and their asterisk shape they are able to hold 7-8 times their weight in liquid, making them excellent drying towels

A microfibre towel can be washed over 500 times, compared to just 55 for a conventional towel, providing a lower lifetime cost. As well as saving costs with towel purchases, less cleaning chemicals are used to clean surfaces, which also save costs.

Key benefits of Microfibre towels:

  • Locks In Dirty And Dust
  • Highly Absorbent
  • Lint Free
  • Strong and Durable
  • Soft For Delicate Surfaces
  • Light Weight
  • Resistant to shrinking and stretching
  • Wrinkle Free
  • Quick Drying
  • Versatile

How to Clean and Care for Microfibre Towels

Even though microfibre towels in many cases help elevate the efficiency of a wash/detail service, they can quickly lose their effectiveness and rendered essentially useless to the car care business if they are not properly laundered and maintained. When washed properly, microfibre can last hundreds of washings. The manner in which you wash and dry your microfibre towels can deeply impact the effectiveness of the towel.

For starters, microfibre towels should be washed in cold or warm water ideally with liquid detergent. Cleaners like fabric softener and bleach should never be used as it can damage the fibres. Perhaps most importantly, microfibre towels must always be washed separately from other fabrics and materials, especially cotton towels as the lint from other towels will stick to the microfibre.

The drying process is equally important to retaining microfibre quality. Ideally these towels should be air dried. Because microfibre is made of polyester and nylon, high heat will cause melting which will close the wedge-shaped fibres and may lose some of their absorbency. Although it can be rather difficult to tell if the microfibre has been damaged, one way to tell is to run your hand over the cloth. If it feels like it’s pulling your skin then it’s good. If it doesn’t then you might need to replace.

Following the right washing and drying is critical to protect the microfibre; however, laundering alone will not safeguard your towels. Additional care and maintenance procedures should be followed to maintain high performance. Such things as implementing a colour coding systems, for instance can help preserve quality and also reduce chances of cross contamination and damage to vehicles. For example use one colour for a tyre shine and a different colour microfibre towel when using a different chemical. Additionally employees must be trained to use the right towel for the right job.

Furthermore, consider the microfibre towel as a return on investment (ROI). Not only can they last up to 500 washes but following the laundering and care procedures discussed in this article will help maximise quality, and better still, help reduce costs by boosting your bottom line and helping adsorb longer term profits and savings.

Contact our friendly staff at Prowash on (03) 8340 3200 for any further queries on microfibre towels and our extensive range of vending products.

Adapted from Professional Carwashing & Detailing, March 2016

© Prowash Australia
Author: Liz Reisman
Date Published: 15 April 2016