The car drying towel is one of the most common mistakes people will make when they get into car detailing. People will almost always go and purchase a leather chamois or worse, use an old one that’s hanging about in the garage. A leather chamois (chamois leather) used to be all the rage over 15 years ago, but things have changed a lot since then. The thought of using a leather chamois now to dry the towel…. ugh. The chances of scratching the paintwork are so high. Thinking about it, it never really did feel right all of those years ago but it was the thing to do so it wasn’t really questioned.
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Thankfully, things have changed. Step in the Microfibre Towel. The microfibre towel provides a soft alternative and will hardly impact the paintwork and just do the job you’re trying to achieve – dry your car!
There are three main things you need to pay attention to when looking for a microfibre towel:
- GSM which stands for grams per square meter
- Edgeless or not
- Pile – Short, Medium or High
GSM is the density of the microfibre towel, the higher the number the thicker the towel which means it’ll absorb more water. Which is great because it’ll mean you spend less time trying to ‘wring it out’ whilst doing your car. Edgeless dictates whether or not it has an edge or not – edgeless often being better as it reduces the chance of scratching the paintwork…. don’t forget to rip off the white label/tag if there is one too! Finally, the pile. Short, Medium or Deep pile depends on your objective, we’re talking about drying a car here so a deeper pile will add depth to the towel. A short pile microfibre is beneficial for interiors e.g. interior trim, for example.
1. Chemical Guys Woolly Mammoth Drying Towel
This is my current drying towel, and I would hands down say it is probably the best I have used. It is extremely large (90cm by 63cm) which makes it incredibly useful as it is more than enough to do an entire standard car. Chemical Guys state it can dry an entire SUV – I’ve dried two cars using this and it didn’t need to be squeezed to get out any excess water. Chemical Guys state it can absorb a gallon of water which is a whopping 4.5 litres. If your car has any form of protection it isn’t likely to hold that much water on its surface anyway (hopefully sheeting away) so it’s no wonder it can do two cars with ease.
It is extremely soft, coming in at 1 inch thick and a whopping 880gsm. The edges of this towel are silk banded, meaning it will not scratch any paintwork at all. You can quite easily use one-pass to dry a panel. It really is the best car drying towel in my opinion and I don’t see myself changing it for anything else any time soon – but it isn’t the cheapest at approximately £25.
Size: 90cm x 63cm
2. Auto Finesse Aqua Deluxe Drying Towel
I’m not a big fan of this towel for one reason. The colour. I get the whole aqua blue, water vibe, but for me, it is quite off-putting. Anyway, with that aside this towel is a bit of a beast. I was interested in it because it has an extremely high gsm, 1200gsm to be exact. You know a towel will be thick and absorbent with a gsm of that calibre. It measures in at 50cm by 70cm, so nowhere near as large as the Chemical Guys Wooly Mammoth but still pretty decent in size.
I did notice a substantial amount of lint when I took it out of the packaging. Normally I use a microfibre towel straight away however I didn’t want any excess lint on the car – so I popped it in the washing machine for a quick 20-minute spin and let it dry then it was fine to use. The edging of the towel is closed, and it is a soft microfibre in black – so there isn’t any chance of scratching the paintwork. Compared to the Chemical Guys Mammoth, it is nearly half the price and given that it isn’t that much smaller and has a higher gsm it competes pretty well – as long as you don’t mind the colour!
Size: 50cm x 70cm
3. Meguiar’s Supreme Microfibre Drying Towel
This was the first car drying towel I purchased – Meguiar’s being such a big name I didn’t really think about trying any others. Talking on that subject, make sure you purchase a microfibre towel that is branded from a company that is popular within the car detailing community. You want to avoid an unbranded (or unknown) manufacturer which you can sometimes find on Amazon. The quality of the towels will not be as good as the branded ones, and they sometimes use a mix of materials to make the manufacturing costs cheaper. These unbranded/unknown microfibres are fine (I guess, but not really!) for some basic interior cleaning but don’t skimp on something you’re going to use on the paintwork of your car.
The Megiuars measures in at 55cm by 76cm so it’s slightly larger than the Auto Finesse Aqua Deluxe Drying Towel. The towel is pretty thick, coming in at 920gsm so slightly less than the Auto Finesse, and higher than the Chemical Guys.
Size: 55cm x 76cm
If you’re willing to spend a bit extra, I’d really recommend products 1, 2 and 3 for the bodywork of the car. With products 4 and 5 more geared towards to be used on wheels.
4. Gtechniq MF2 Drying Towel
Gtechniq is a well-known brand within the detailing community. A key feature of this drying towel is that it has two sides to it, meaning you’ve got two towels in one. This can come in handy in certain situations, such as switching between body panels and glass or trying to get into smaller spaces such as the gaps in the mirrors or door jams.
Measuring in at 60cm by 90cm and costing around £10 it is the cheapest of the towels mentioned. Providing a low (relatively) gsm of 450 it isn’t the most absorbent out of the selection here. I find its a handy drying towel to have in your arsenal but if you’re looking for one towel that’ll cover you for now then I’d suggest looking at the other towels. This towel is more of a nice to have than an essential towel.
Pile: Short & Medium
Size: 90cm x 60cm
5. G3 Pro Drying Towel
The G3 Pro can be seen as a budget alternative to the microfibre towels costing around £10. It isn’t short on size either, measuring at 60cm by 90cm. Similar to the Gtechniq MF2 which offers its dual feature of short and long pile sides giving flexibility in how you use the towel. It is 460gsm so it is ok at water absorption but it isn’t the best. Having said that though, for the price it suffices. It isn’t one I’d recommend but maybe you want to buy this in addition to one of the others to use for your wheels. This one is another towel in your arsenal in my opinion.
Pile: Short & Medium
Size: 90cm x 60cm
Common/Frequently Asked Questions
How should I dry the car using a microfibre towel? What technique should I use?
You can wipe in straight lines or pat/dab the paint as the microfibre towel lays on the panel itself. It is completely up to you. I often mix up the usage. For example, on the bonnet, I’ll lay the microfibre towel down and gently dab the towel and that is usually more than sufficient using any of the microfibre towels mentioned in this article. In the door jams, I’ll use more of a panel wipe technique. So it completely depends where you’re trying to dry.
Can I use a microfibre towel on my wheels?
Of course, and I would recommend it. I happened to purchase the Meguiars towel first and used that on the car. I then wanted to explore other options and then I allowed the Meguiars towel to be used exclusively for the wheels. (I used a fairly cheap one beforehand). It works really well and helps your wheels shine that bit more. My wheels are gloss black and it makes it much easier when you’ve got a large microfibre drying towel you can fit between the spokes. The only downside to that in case you hadn’t already noticed, is that the Meguiars Towel is yellow – so there are quite a few black markings from tyre dressings etc on there now. But hey, that has its advantages. I’ll never mix up my microfibre towels!
Is it OK to dry car with towel? Which is better chamois or microfiber? Can you use microfiber towels to wash car? Will a regular towel scratch my car?
A Microfibre Towel/Cloth, yes is absolutely fine. If you’re talking about a regular/traditional towel that you would use in the bathroom or kitchen then no as it could scratch the paintwork. You need to make sure you find a microfibre towel, ideally with a fairly high gsm and large pile. Check the products that I recommend and make a selection from those. These are ones I’ve tried and tested over the years.
There is no such thing necessarily as the best microfibre towel, but there are towels that offer good value for money, are excellent at water absorption but cost more etc so it is really dependant on the individual circumstances that you have.
Are microfiber towels worth it?
Without a doubt. I wouldn’t be without one at all. Whether you just want to regularly wash your car, or you’re starting your journey to becoming a detailer, microfibre towels are 100% worth investing in, whether its for drying the paintwork of your car or using them for your interior.
Yes, they’re the best. Just make sure you look at our product suggestions. There is a reason you might be able to buy a pack of 10 for £10 and only 1 for £20 – hopefully by the end of this article you’ll realise why. They’re so much better than the leather chamois that was all the rage 15+ years ago!
No, I’d really recommend you stay away from a chamois to dry your car. If funds are tight and you can’t purchase one then, in my opinion, you really are better off letting the car dry by itself. If you wash your car early in the morning/shade, this will reduce the chance of it drying quickly and hopefully minimise water spots (although its likely that you’ll see some depending on the hard water levels you have).
Should you wash microfiber towels before use?
How often should I wash microfiber cloths?
What is the best way to wash microfiber towels?
Should you dry microfiber towels?
Personally, I don’t. I just use them straight out of the packaging ready to be used. For a microfibre towel that is suited to dry your car, I put mine in the washing machine after I’ve used it. A quick 20 minute spin with some washing powder does a good job – then I let it dry overnight and put it away ready for its next use the following morning. If you spot that the microfibre has excess lint, then it might be worth putting into the washing machine for a quick spin. Make sure you do not use too much washing detergent (a small amount is ok).
Tips and Tricks
Did you know that you can use a quick detailer at the same time you are drying your car for it to act as a drying aid? This acts as a lubricant between the paintwork and microfibre towel and often will add extra protection to your paintwork. You’re drying the car anyway, so why not add some extra protection with a spray or two? Win-Win.