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Thread: After Washing your car, How do you clean your cleaning rags, etc.?

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    After Washing your car, How do you clean your cleaning rags, etc.?

    For the past 25 years, basically since having our first child, I have used drive through car washes because frankly, I'm a short guy and hand washing vans and SUVs requires a ladder for me, and time I had rather spent with the kids.

    But now the kids are mostly moved out, I once again drive a nice small car that I can wash by hand in less than an hour and the "Fun" of washing and waxing is once again something I look forward to a few times per month. I have done a lot of reading on various products, methods, etc. But one thing I have not seen mentioned anywhere is how to best clean the rags, sponges, micro fibre cloths, towels, etc. that are used to actually wash the car. One YouTube video even mentioned "washing brushes" after every use, as you don't want to bring brake dust from your previous wash to your next wash, which makes a lot of sense, but how do you "wash" a brush?

    Good brushes, micro fibre towels, etc. are not cheap, so washing them for re-use is an absolute must. Clearly, soap needs to have some "degreasing" qualities, so which do you use to clean your cleaning supplies? I have heard that dryer sheets aren't a good idea as they can leave residue that can actually scratch your paint... Has anybody else heard that? It seems a bit odd, but I have always used a non-scented dryer sheet to keep static down, but now I am second guessing myself...

    If it matters, I generally use Meguier's products for cleaning, waxing, etc.

    So, how do you guys and gals wash your car wash supplies?
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    Lifetime Member Southernroadrunner's Avatar
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    The towels and polishing rags and such i just run mine through the washer when im done
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    Senior Member stratofortress's Avatar
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    There's a dude on Youtube who runs an excellent detailing channel called AMMO NYC and he covers lots of great topics regarding detailing. He's on the extreme OCD side though so if that's not your jam then maybe this will help. Note: I'm not a pro, but I'm definitely in the top 5% of OCD owners who care about detailing their personal rides and taking care of their supplies.

    - Most people just throw all their rags into the washing machine together. Me - I don't want to get my washing machine full of car washing crap so I'm going to first soak and agitate all my MF towels in a bucket with warm water and Chemical Guys Microfiber Cleaner to get most of the gunk out. Whether or not you need microfiber specific cleaner or just regular clothes detergent is up for debate, but I don't really care so I'm just using CG's MF cleaner
    - I'll wash all my exterior rags with polish first, then those with sealant or wax, then those used for the interior, then those used for other stuff that get pretty dirty (wheels, chrome polish, etc.) last
    - Depending on how well this cleaner/bucket approach works, I may follow-up with throwing the towels into the washing machine with detergent that's free of dyes, perfumes, scents, etc. But at least I'll have the majority of the wax, sealant, polish, cleaner, etc. removed from the towel and not going into my expensive washing machine
    - Wash on eco-warm or warm water with normal/fast spin cycle on the delicate setting. Tumble (aka no heat) dry or very low heat for 30-40 mins and then hang dry if still damp. Drying on medium or high heat will kill the microfibers
    - Probably a good idea to wipe the washing machine tub with a towel after you finish washing your towels to make sure there's no leftover residue that will get on your clothes or linens

    Hope that helps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southernroadrunner View Post
    The towels and polishing rags and such i just run mine through the washer when im done
    This is what I've done in the past. But I recently decided I was going to wash & wax this car by hand, so bought a bunch of MF cloths of different colors, Blue for tires, green for body, white for windows, peach for interior, and when I was done with the car, it occurred to me that I might want to wash them separately, so as to not transfer gunk from one rag to another. I just felt like dumping them all in together might have the affect of transferring gunk to towels for the next wash... I decided to wash tire cloths separately from body, window & interior cloths.

    Quote Originally Posted by stratofortress View Post
    There's a dude on Youtube who runs an excellent detailing channel called AMMO NYC and he covers lots of great topics regarding detailing. He's on the extreme OCD side though so if that's not your jam then maybe this will help. Note: I'm not a pro, but I'm definitely in the top 5% of OCD owners who care about detailing their personal rides and taking care of their supplies.

    - Most people just throw all their rags into the washing machine together. Me - I don't want to get my washing machine full of car washing crap so I'm going to first soak and agitate all my MF towels in a bucket with warm water and Chemical Guys Microfiber Cleaner to get most of the gunk out. Whether or not you need microfiber specific cleaner or just regular clothes detergent is up for debate, but I don't really care so I'm just using CG's MF cleaner
    - I'll wash all my exterior rags with polish first, then those with sealant or wax, then those used for the interior, then those used for other stuff that get pretty dirty (wheels, chrome polish, etc.) last
    - Depending on how well this cleaner/bucket approach works, I may follow-up with throwing the towels into the washing machine with detergent that's free of dyes, perfumes, scents, etc. But at least I'll have the majority of the wax, sealant, polish, cleaner, etc. removed from the towel and not going into my expensive washing machine
    - Wash on eco-warm or warm water with normal/fast spin cycle on the delicate setting. Tumble (aka no heat) dry or very low heat for 30-40 mins and then hang dry if still damp. Drying on medium or high heat will kill the microfibers
    - Probably a good idea to wipe the washing machine tub with a towel after you finish washing your towels to make sure there's no leftover residue that will get on your clothes or linens

    Hope that helps.
    I like the "Pre-Soak" idea. I might start doing that. I was unaware that heat can affect microfiber towels... Learn something new every day.

    While I don't consider myself OCD, I do want to take care of my supplies in the best way possible... those MF cloths are not cheap!

    Thanks for the answers!
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    First - I recommend using nothing less than a 600 loop per sq/in towel. Several brands label towels by stages or focus on lint, but the thread count is what will keep your paint looking nice. There are large ones (perfect for drying & wet-waxing and/or dusting) that are pricey, but well worth it.

    Soak to get the excess old out. Then, wash in machine... using a little vinegar (no soap). Dryer - low heat. The towels will come out as soft s the day you bought them.

    I'm not the best detailer... I just don't have the time, skill or patience needed. But I enjoy taking care of my stuff (towels included).
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    Oh! It's worth noting I recycle the "filthy" rags until care requires a machine. Filthy rags are those I use for wheel wells, wheels, tires, engine bay. I don't use them on any other part of the car. How clean I can get them matters less then.

    Windows, mirrors & chrome get their own detail/polish towels (still high thread count and still machine-washed) and a "squeegee' rag. All are smaller than the drying/waxing towels and easy to differentiate.
    Last edited by Amacento; 05-15-2017 at 05:25 PM.
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    Microfiber towels need to be washed with a designated cleaner and the best one I've used to date, as well as cost effective, is made by a company called 3D, its called towel clean, you'll thank me later! Its also good to let them soak in a bucket with a little bit of clear laundry detergent as well.
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    Senior Member stratofortress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post
    First - I recommend using nothing less than a 600 loop per sq/in towel.
    What gsm does this translate to?

    I've found that less than 300 gsm is really only good for windows and trim since it's so thin, whereas anything more than 400 gsm has too much nap and the towel just flops all over the place when I'm wiping surfaces down, though these towels do tend to be better suited for drying rather than wipedowns.

    300-400 gsm seems to be the sweet spot for me, so I'd be interested in what loop per sq in translates to from gsm.
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    Senior Member Amacento's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stratofortress View Post
    What gsm does this translate to?

    I've found that less than 300 gsm is really only good for windows and trim since it's so thin, whereas anything more than 400 gsm has too much nap and the towel just flops all over the place when I'm wiping surfaces down, though these towels do tend to be better suited for drying rather than wipedowns.

    300-400 gsm seems to be the sweet spot for me, so I'd be interested in what loop per sq in translates to from gsm.
    No idea on weight. I found this site/article:http://www.incrediblydetailed.com/mi...ofiber-towels/

    I guess the towels I use are the "long pile, 600 gsm". I don't know how they're getting that grade - I've never noticed that on the towel or the adverts for the towel. I only noticed 600 thread-loop (I use for windows, mirrors, and chrome with the squeegee rag as a follow-up) and 1000 thread-loop for the exterior (dry, wax, finish, dust). Microtel is the brand.

    In any case, they do mention vinegar to restore the softness to towels. That is the same advice my detailer gave me. I only use light liquid detergent to soak.
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