Microfibre cleaning: A must read guide!
Post Open Day - THE BIG WASH
As far as our family is concerned, if it's a cloth and it comes near our cars, it has to be microfibre. Apart from making the whole detailing routine that much easier and faster when using good quality cloths, it also provides you with a far superior finish. We have recently upgraded our complete range of microfibre, and they again make a massive difference in the time and ease to clean your 4 or 2 wheeled friend. This is a good guide on how to look after all these cloths, so they keep working like new for many, many years to come.
Each year we run a few big Open Day tours of the car collection. It's a massive job cleaning all the cars, so we have a team of eager helpers come and help us prepare the shed. After detailing 70 odd cars, we have a big pile of quite filthy cloths that need cleaning. We wanted all our microfibre to last, as it's a reasonable investment with some 200 new cloths of all types used on our cars here. We have learnt a lot over the last 15 years of almost daily using and caring for our microfibre. Our best, updated tips and tricks for looking after the cloths can be found right here. All this is learnt from our own years of trial and much error!
When the cloths are soiled, or stop absorbing product/smearing, then it's time to wash them. We suggest doing this every time after you use them. Try to wash the cloths as soon as possible after waxing or cleansing as the longer you wait, the harder they can be to clean.
Targets detailing chemicals.
This stuff is amazing.
We had tried some other microfibre washes over the years and were never that impressed by their results, finding that normal household detergents would do a better job cleaning our cloths up. Well that day is now long passed - our chemists made this amazing blend, that is 100% for cleaning your cloths after use with many of our detailing products. It has a lot of great attributes as listed below:
- Restores and keeps the softness, plushness and absorbency to your microfibre.
- Created to specifically deep clean all microfibre cloths and applicators.
- Gently dissolves wax, cleanser, polish and all other detailing chemicals.
- Powerful enough to remove heavy dirt, oils, stains and typical car detailing grime.
- No damaging fabric softeners or bleach. Super concentrated, just 20 mls needed for a normal washing of around a dozen cloths.
- Hospital grade anti bacterial formula, to keep cloths fresh. Helps microfibre cloths last longer and perform better.
- Rinses totally clean, leaves no residues in the fibre like a traditional clothes washes will.
- Versatile formula can be used for both hand or machine washing.
- Lows suds formula compatible for top & front loading machines and new High Efficiency versions too.
- Effective cleaner for foam buffing pads, sponges and microfibre chamois material.
- This formula and its ingredients are all earth friendly and biodegradable.
- 1 litre in size, with a measuring chamber so you don't waste any product.
Machine washing your cloths
We recommend all our cloths get washed by machine, either front or top loaders, depending on what you have.
About the biggest thing to remember is that you don't want to wash your microfibre with the household clothes. Wash them separately to everything else. This will end a few hours of fun, as you remove all the lint out of your cloths, strand by strand!
You can mix most of your microfibre cloths together when washing, except any cloths that have been used for metal polishing or cleaning heavy grease and grime (we make our Dirty Deeds cloth dark in colour for those types of jobs). Wash them separate to the rest, otherwise you can have the materials embedded in those cloths, filter through to all your other cloths in the washing process. If it's a cloth that has been used for metal polishing you will see a dark residue through them all (yes we have done it!).
In our range of microfibre, the Big Green Sucker, Big Softie, Circle Work, Drop Bear, Glass Cloth, Chamois, Plush Daddy, Square Bear, Love Glove and Debugger can all be washed together in a machine.
At the bottom of this article we will talk about washing the Dirty Deeds and Muffy Sponge, but for now, lets get into washing these others.
Wax and Cleanser applicators
A short pre-wash before adding to the machine
Before you begin washing all your cloths, give the applicator pads (Circle Work pads) you have used for the wax and cleanser a quick pre-wash. These cloths are about the hardest things to really clean right, as the build up of product gets deep into the cloth and keeps increasing over time. Our new Microfibre Wash completely cleans these fibres and removes all this residue, bringing them back like new every single wash.
Straight after use, put them into a bucket or wash sink with a couple litres of warm water. After an initial soak of a minute, lightly pour about 10 mls of Microfibre Wash into each damp pad, rub it all over the surface till suds appear. I usually rub the two circle work pads together, just for 30 seconds or so, so the wash gets right in there.
Rinse clean with fresh water and then add them with the rest of the cloths to the washing machine.
Wipe your machine out with a clean, lint free cloth. This is to remove any excess lint left behind in the machine from other clothes, that can become embedded in your microfibre cloths. The put all the cloths and applicators together in your machine, set it to a warm-hot water setting as it helps waxes and oils to be released from the cloths fibres.
Add the Microfibre Wash to the detergent dispenser. The amount of cloths you have to clean will depend on how much of the wash you need to use. Our wash is a very strong concentrate - when we clean around 30 to 40+ cloths we use only 40 to 60 mls of the wash. If you're only cleaning 5 to 10 cloths, 20 mls will be fine.
Set the machine to a normal or gentle (never a heavy one) wash cycle and let it do its cleaning magic.
It's critical that you NEVER add a Fabric Softener! This gear will fill up the special fibres so they stop absorbing and effectively kill your microfibre! Likewise don't add bleach or Napisan. This wash will do a better cleaning job and won't damage the material like these others can.
When the wash is done, it's time to dry the towels.
Our cloths are of a very high quality, so they will not come apart if you dry them in a dryer, on a medium to low heat. We prefer drying this way as your cloths come out beautifully soft and plush again as well. We find our plush towels like the Drop Bear and Big Green Sucker really respond well to this. Also, the chance of anything blowing into the towels clean fibres is eliminated. We don't ever like to air dry outside as airborne particles from trees, lawns, blown up dirt all get back into the cloths.
If you don't have a dryer, you can air dry the cloths, but do it inside on a collapsible indoor clothes hanger.
Please never dry the Drop Bear cloth outside. It will attract other Drop Bears to your home. You don't ever want these aggressive predators living in close vicinity to your residence!
The Lobster Wash treatment
When your cloths get very old, you will sometimes find that they keep streaking as they have lost their absorbancy. If this happens, you may need to get a bit more full-on with cleaning them... The Bowden Lobster Wash treatment!
Slow boil the microfibre cloth in a pot of water; letting the cloths be in the water for a maximum of 10 minutes. Keep the cloths submerged as much as possible, as you will see a heap of wax/residue on the surface of the water that can get back into the cloth. After boiling, drain the top oily water off, making sure not adding this residue back into the cloth.
Only lobster your cloths as a last resort to bring your cloths back to being usable.
If this doesn't work, it's time to retire the cloth to other cleaning duties and get a new one for the job.
Do I need to clean my car washing microfibre tools?
All our microfibre washing tools can and should be machine washed and we recommend you do it reasonably often as follows;
The Shagtastic Wash Pad, Love Glove wash mitt and new Muffy Sponge will not always need to be machine washed after each use. Just rinse them out well in fresh water once you're done washing your car and leave them to air dry. We machine wash all ours about once a month, unless we wash a really dirty car, or drop them on the ground, then they will be washed straight after. If you get grease or the like on them, you should hand wash with the Microfibre Wash in warm water, rub the microfibre wash into the more dirty parts you need to clean, then add them to the rest of the wash in the machine. For really dirty stains you may need to use a dedicated laundry spot cleaner.
Our older/ original Muffy Sponge (It was only part covered in microfibre, and has exposed sides) is best hand-washed, in fact it's the only microfibre product we say not to wash in a machine. Wash it by hand in a bucket of 4 to 5 litres with 40mls of the Microfibre Wash added. Once you're happy it's clean, empty the bucket and rinse the sponge well with fresh water.
The Big Green Sucker should be washed straight after each use, again with the microfibre wash and while its still damp/ wet. Reason we say to wash it so often is that the Boss Gloss you use with it is hydrophobic when it dries, so it will make it less absorbent over time if you don't wash it out. Also, any dirt you get in the Big Green Sucker needs to be removed to allow for the safest wash when you next use it. Be sure to put this one in the dryer so it comes back nice and fluffy. If you air dry it, the more plush material will usally become all flat and matted and not feel or work as well as it should.
For the same reason as the Big Green Sucker, the Big Softie cloths you use with the After Glow drying aid MUST be washed after each use, as they too will become slightly water repellant due to the dried After Glow in them. If you cannot wash them right after drying your car, rinse them out well with fresh water and put them in a bucket of water till you can wash them next. (Don't leave it for more than a day though).
NEVER put the Shagtastic Wash Pad or Muffy Sponge in the dryer, it will break down the sponge material inside them and they will come out feeling a lot thinner.. Simply air dry them after washing. The Love Glove can be machine dried if you wish, but its not really needed eaither.
Once washed and dry, fold the cloths up and store them in plastic storage bins that use lids, so they are sealed away from everything, ready for your next big detailing day.
Having your cloths folded also helps easily identify what cloths have been used and what is still clean.
We have a lot of bins for the different types of cloths and another separate tub to use for the dirty cloths as well.
How many times can they be washed?
All our cloths and applicator pads are made to last, and can be washed well over 200 times (some professional detailers report washing our cloths over 1000 times!) as we have done above.
This is way above the longevity of the cheaper cloths you will buy in bundles!
Just stick to our washing technique in this article and they will keep caring for your cars for years to come.
This Microfibre Wash has really made a huge difference to the performance of all our cloths and you can find it at many of our great retailers nationwide. Find your closest one in the link at the bottom of this article.
If you have any questions or feedback about this article please contact me by email - [email protected] or call our office on 1800 351 308.
Love your car,