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December 21, 2023 3 min read

What is the Difference in A Polishing Microfiber Towel vs. A Cleaning Towel

We have already covered that all towels (or microfiber towels) are not created equal. In continuing that conversation, you must also know that a polishing microfiber towel is different from a general cleaning towel. While there are some subtle differences between the two, using the proper microfiber towel for your specific detailing needs is essential, and you will have the best results if you use the appropriate towel for the job.

What is a Microfiber Towel?

Microfiber towels are made up of synthetic fibers that is 1 denier or less, which is essentially an ultra-fine thread that/s basically 1/20th the diameter of a strand of silk or 1/100th the diameter of a human hair strand. Usually made of a blend of various polyesters and/or polyamides, Microfiber towels come in various types where certain types are designated for specific detailing methods. Additionally, microfiber towels come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and the better-quality ones have a higher GMS (grams per square meter) density or thread count and have a bordered edge to prevent fraying or the fibers from coming apart.

The Difference in a Polishing Microfiber Towel vs. a Cleaning Microfiber Towel

Polishing microfiber towels generally have a longer knap with a higher pile than a cleaning microfiber towel. A polishing cloth will usually be made with a fleece type microfiber and have an ultra-plush feel that’s softer to the touch than a typical cleaning microfiber towel. Polishing microfiber towels are excellent for sensitive surfaces and your vehicle, where it allows you to polish a surface with a reduced risk of scratching during buffing. Polishing microfiber cloths is also good for polishing other items, such as jewelry.

The application of some waxes and sealants may be performed using a polishing microfiber towel, as you will need to use such for the buffing or polishing process. 

Cleaning microfiber cloths do not have the fluffiness or thicker pile found on a polishing microfiber towel. Many terry-type weave microfiber cloths are ideal for general cleaning tasks. Moreover, cleaning microfiber cloths tend to be very absorbent, where they can hold a lot of liquid, and are excellent for wiping areas or cleaning grimy or dirty surfaces reducing the risk of scratching the surface.

Cleaning microfiber towels may be used during vehicle washes where you utilize soap and water. Additionally, cleaning microfiber towels are excellent for drying a vehicle because, again, they are usually very absorbent. Some cleaning microfiber cloths may be textured and are specifically for cleaning soiled surfaces or a drying process.

Pro tip: We recommend testing a small area with a microfiber cloth to ensure that it is the right type for wiping or buffing a specific surface. We never condone or advise the use of a microfiber towel for any purpose other than what is indicated by its manufacturer. Moreover, avoid the use of inferior microfiber cloths, thin cloths, or ones that may be resold by vendors that do not specify their type or GSM. Lastly, we highly suggest reading our blog post on "Microfiber Technology: What Is It & Why You Should Use Microfiber Towels to Detail Your Vehicle" to learn more about microfiber towels and their useful applications. 

Quality Microfiber Towel Recommendations



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