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Can't Get Microfiber Cloths Clean

PianoAl

Member
Dec 15, 2019
930
580
Far Northern California
Many of the cloths I use for cleaning the car (with Optimum No Rinse), don't get totally clean:

20210603_111722.jpg


Any ideas for getting the grime out without destroying the microfibers? Should I just use these anyway?

Thanks.
 
Aug 7, 2020
793
1,634
USA
How are you washing them? You can try soaking them in a all purpose cleaner or even boiling them. I’ve found ONR washing can stain Microfibers eventually. Just relegate those to dirty areas like wheels (and engine bay lol) then toss them. Those look like Kirkland towels so they’re cheap enough to not feel bad about throwing them away.
 
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joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,148
1,030
Encino, CA
Like UncertainTimes mentioned, you can try soaking the towels in a bucket filled with water and some all purpose cleaner. I used to soak mine in APC and then wash with OxyClean, which did help. But I recently came across this product:

P&S, the same people that make Beadmaker sealant, offer one of the best microfiber detergents on the market. It's called P&S Double Black Rags to Riches. It not only cleans really well, it can actually restore the towel's absorbency, color, and softness.


I also find that if you pretreat the dirtiest sections of the car prior to an ONR wash using a garden sprayer filled with ONR solution, a lot of the dirt will run off the car, leaving less dirt to be picked up by your towels.
 
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roblab

Active Member
Jul 15, 2008
3,675
3,192
Angwin (Napa Valley) CA
We use baby diapers. Soft, absorbent, does windows nicely, but like yours, the road film and dirt make them look ugly. Even gray, they do the job well, better than the yellow Kirkland ones.

I wanted to try soaking them in gasoline, but with two Teslas, we don't own any gasoline to soak them in. They're still soft, just ugly, no matter what we've tried.
 

PianoAl

Member
Dec 15, 2019
930
580
Far Northern California
P&S, the same people that make Beadmaker sealant, offer one of the best microfiber detergents on the market. It's called P&S Double Black Rags to Riches. It not only cleans really well, it can actually restore the towel's absorbency, color, and softness.


I also find that if you pretreat the dirtiest sections of the car prior to an ONR wash using a garden sprayer filled with ONR solution, a lot of the dirt will run off the car, leaving less dirt to be picked up by your towels.

Thanks, I'll get some of that.

In between full washes, I often clean the back of the car with just ONR. That's probably what's doing it.
 
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Needsdecaf

Active Member
Dec 16, 2018
1,278
1,895
The Woodlands, TX
Microfiber is designed to trap and hold dirt. The P&S cleaner is probably the best MF cleaner on the market.

Do a soak in a bucket, and then use that stuff. If that doesn't clean it....just relegate them to wheel and door jamb duty. These things do a have a life cycle, and it's not long. The MF will break down eventually.
 
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joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,148
1,030
Encino, CA
Thanks, I'll get some of that.

In between full washes, I often clean the back of the car with just ONR. That's probably what's doing it.

If you fill a 1-gallon garden sprayer with ONR solution and use it to spray down the back of the car, it should remove a lot of the dirt before you even touch the surface with a microfiber. Just start at the top, spraying back and forth, and work your way down to the bottom of the car. There is just enough pressure to push a lot of the dirt down and off the car.
 

PianoAl

Member
Dec 15, 2019
930
580
Far Northern California
P&S, the same people that make Beadmaker sealant, offer one of the best microfiber detergents on the market. It's called P&S Double Black Rags to Riches. It not only cleans really well, it can actually restore the towel's absorbency, color, and softness.

I got that. I soaked the towels in a bucket with 130 degree water with 1.5 oz of that, then washed them in 120 degree water. It didn't get them totally clean, but did a good job overall. Below is one of the dirtiest cloths. I'll repeat the procedure with a few of the worst—maybe soak them overnight.

20210611_174030.jpg
 
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joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,148
1,030
Encino, CA
I got that. I soaked the towels in a bucket with 130 degree water with 1.5 oz of that, then washed them in 120 degree water. It didn't get them totally clean, but did a good job overall. Below is one of the dirtiest cloths. I'll repeat the procedure with a few of the worst—maybe soak them overnight.

View attachment 672402
Do you wash the towels immediately after you are done using them or does some time pass between the time you wash the car and launder the towels?

Soaking overnight might help. You can also try adding half a scoop of Oxyclean powder to the load of towels in the washing machine.
 

PianoAl

Member
Dec 15, 2019
930
580
Far Northern California
Do you wash the towels immediately after you are done using them or does some time pass between the time you wash the car and launder the towels?

Soaking overnight might help. You can also try adding half a scoop of Oxyclean powder to the load of towels in the washing machine.
Time passes. Maybe I'll soak them immediately?? I use, at most, three at a time.

Yes, overnight soaking is my next step.
 

joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,148
1,030
Encino, CA
Time passes. Maybe I'll soak them immediately?? I use, at most, three at a time.

Yes, overnight soaking is my next step.

If the dirty towels sit after use, the dirt and stains tend to set into the fibers and are harder to clean. I would either wash them immediately after the car wash or, as you mentioned, immediately soak them in the detergent solution. I am pretty sure that should make a big difference.
 

minsup23

Member
Feb 22, 2016
100
29
Chicago, IL
Do you guys wash your micro fibers with other clothes? I leave my used microfiber cloths in a bin in my mud room until I run out which could be a few months. I guess that’s why mine remain dirty.
 

PianoAl

Member
Dec 15, 2019
930
580
Far Northern California
Do you guys wash your micro fibers with other clothes? I leave my used microfiber cloths in a bin in my mud room until I run out which could be a few months. I guess that’s why mine remain dirty.

I do the same (keep them in a laundry basket and wash them by themselves).

More experimenting:

1. I took the ones that were still dirty and soaked them overnight and washed them: Didn't make much difference.

2. I made a fresh cloth very dirty by cleaning the back of the car with only ONR, then I soaked it immediately with the others. That one got quite clean when I washed it.

In the future, perhaps I'll at least rinse the dirt off the car before cleaning it with ONR. I'll also try Oxyclean.
 
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joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,148
1,030
Encino, CA
Do you guys wash your micro fibers with other clothes? I leave my used microfiber cloths in a bin in my mud room until I run out which could be a few months. I guess that’s why mine remain dirty.

Saving up a bunch of dirty towels and only running a full load, or mixing your towels with other clothes is better for the environment, in that you are not using as much energy and water to do your laundry. But if you want to do what is best for your car's paint, it is best to 1) wash your microfiber towels immediately after you complete a car wash (do not let the dirty towels sit around unwashed for along time) and 2) it is indeed best to separate your microfiber towels that you use for washing or drying the car and washing them separately from any other clothes.

Here is the logic why. Microfiber towels are recommended for washing and drying because they are soft and are less likely to scratch your car's clear coat. But if the towels become dirty or contaminated with dirt, lint (from other clothes), or any other foreign particles, those same towels may now induce scratches.

One last point. If you use any products that contain ceramic or SiO2, you definitely want to wash your used dirty microfiber towels immediately. This includes washing with ceramic rinseless or waterless washes or applying ceramic detail sprays or sealants. The reason is that the ceramic particles, if left in a dirty unwashed towel, will harden over time. So if you do not wash your towels that have ceramic particles in them immediately after use, those hardened ceramic particles will turn your normally soft microfiber towels into scratch-inducing sandpaper.
 
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CaliSurfer

Member
Jan 8, 2021
68
77
Connecticut, USA
If I can't wash my towels right way after use, I do one of two things. I either fill a bucket with laundry detergent and water then place the soiled towels in there to soak until I can wash them or I label them with sharpie with a small T on the corner of the towel to remind me they are now for tires and wheels only. I also check my towels when I get them out of the drier for any foreign particles. If the towel doesn't look close to new, I don't use them on my shiny surfaces.

Also, you should only wash your microfiber towels with other microfiber materials to reduce lint production. Wash on hot or warm water and dry with low heat. Don't use fabric softeners or drier sheets as they can contain oils that may transfer to your paint.

It also helps to use different color towels because not all car towels need to same love.
 
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PianoAl

Member
Dec 15, 2019
930
580
Far Northern California
I'm considering soaking the 1-2 towels that I use in a bucket with warm water and detergent right after using them. Then I would wring them out and put them on a laundry basket until I have enough for a laundry load. But it's very humid here, and they could very well get mold. Hmm.

So, would this residual dirt in the cloth be enough to scratch the paint?

20210611_174030-jpg.672402
 

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