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Old 05-03-2011, 09:11 PM   #1
Mike Phillips
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How to correctly fold and use a Microfiber Towel

How to correctly fold and use a Microfiber Towel


People Watching
Most of my life and even just recently while working on an expensive car with a nice finish, I observe people and the techniques they use for any and all aspects of detailing cars. The goal is to help them tweak their technique if anything they're doing could use some improvement. Most pros would agree, when it comes to taking a car's finish to it's maximum potential, that even more important than pad, product and tool selection is technique.


Technique is everything...


Basic Technique but Vitally Important
One common procedure that is as basic as you can get is also one of the most important procedures involved with creating a true show car shine and that's correctly folding and using a microfiber towel to remove a coating of polish, wax, paint sealant, spray-on-wax or spray detailer.
  • Good Technique - Used correctly, your hand and a microfiber towel will create and eye-dazzling finish that that will hold up under intense scrutiny under bright light conditions like full overhead sunlight or while on display at an indoor car show.
  • Wrong Technique - Used in-correctly and you can easily instill swirls and scratches into the paint not only ruining the finish but requiring machine polishing to remove them and then you're back to wiping the polish off without instilling swirls all over again... catch 22
How To Fold and Use a Microfiber Towel
Here's the basics on how to correctly use a microfiber towel.

Start with a clean, microfiber towel. If the towel has been washed and dried, I will usually inspect each side to make sure there are no contaminants on the towel. Microfiber acts like a magnet and can easily attract and hold all kinds of things to itself that you don't want to rub against your car's paint... so take a moment to visually inspect your polishing towels.

If you're working on a show car finish, even if the show car finish is on your daily driver, make it a "Best Practice" to visually inspect the face of each towel before folding and using.

Clean, laundered Microfiber Towel



Fold the microfiber towel in half...



Then in half again...



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Old 05-03-2011, 09:12 PM   #2
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Continued...

Control over the towel
By folding your microfiber towels into quarters, you will now have 8, dedicated sides to wipe with and you have control over all 8 sides of the entire microfiber towel. When you simply lay a microfiber towel flat or scrunch it up into a wad, you don't have any control over the towel because it's too hard to gauge and remember how much of the towel has already been used.


Cushion to spread out the pressure from your hand
Folding your microfiber towel like shown above provides cushion to spread out the pressure from your hand, this provide two benefits,
1) Helps reduce the potential for fingermarks caused by excess pressure from your fingertips.
2) Helps to maintain even contact between the working face of the folded microfiber towel and the surface of the paint. This is important at all time but especially whenever you're working on any panel that is not flat.
Folding your microfiber towel provides cushion to spread out the pressure of your hand plus gives you 8 dedicated sides to wipe with.



Not folding means less cushion and only two sides to wipe with...




Correct Technique
Folded towels provide cushion, cushion enables you to work more carefully on your pride and joy...




Even contact helps you to remove product residues more effectively...




Incorrect Techniques
Simply laying the towel flat against the paint increases the potential for swirls and scratches due to pressure points against the towel. I cringe when I see someone wiping a nice finish by simply placing the towel down flat on the paint and then placing their hand flat on the towel.




Incorrect Techniques
Here's another common method, or actually lack of method, for wiping product residue off paint and that's to simply scrunch up a microfiber towel into a wad of cloth and wipe using this wadded up towel. Not only do you have zero control over the surface of the towel but you now are introducing folds and edges of towel directly to the finish... under pressure!



Argh!
There's nothing gentle about wiping paint with a wadded up towel...




Inspect and Fold
Make it a "Best Practice" to inspect the working face of your wiping cloths before using and adopt another "Best Practice" and that is to fold your microfiber towels 4-ways to give you 8 dedicated sides to wipe with and plenty of cushion to spread out the pressure from you hand while being gentle to your car's finish.

It should look like this...



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Old 05-03-2011, 09:23 PM   #3
Mike Phillips
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I know some people, especially seasoned professional detailers will read the above article and think of it as common sense that everyone should know...

Allow me to quote myself and share why I wrote the article, note the red text

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Phillips View Post

People Watching
Most of my life and even just recently while working on an expensive car with a nice finish, I observe people and the techniques they use for any and all aspects of detailing cars. The goal is to help them tweak their technique if anything they're doing could use some improvement.
That car was a 1954 Corvette and I was going to show the owner how to machine apply the wax and then afterwards, carefully remove the wax. When it came time to remove the wax the owner got all excited and asked if he could help?

I said, "sure" and I figured because he was a "Car Guy", (he owns the below 1954 Corvette and a classic 1959 Cadillac), that he obviously would know how to carefully wipe off a coating of wax.

After I handed him a clean, folded microfiber towel, he proceed to either hold the towel unfolded and flat to the paint, or scrunched up, and then started wiping the wax off the car.

I immediately stopped him and then shared with him how to carefully remove the wax and then even got him to slip on some Microfiber Gloves to make it even easier...

Here's a few pics from that day... the owner is on the left and his buddy is on the right...

~~~~~~~

The microfiber gloves make it real easy to grip the microfiber towels plus you never leave any finger print smudges should your hand touch the paint in the process. For show car quality work, you can't go wrong taking the extra step to wear microfiber gloves.










As the wax comes off the gloss appears...



Beauty shots...










Here's a shot of the dash and cockpit...




Comfortable seating for two...





The 1954 Corvette had little fins leading back to the tail lights...




Chrome Headlight protectors protect the headlights and give classic Corvettes a unique style





The shape and design of the front grill is a work of art...





These are the original 1954 Corvette Hubcaps... do an eBay search and see what just a full set of these goes for now days...






Parting shots...







The point is, even though how you use a microfiber towel is a simple, basic procedure, there are some people that are new to detailing and some people that may have been washing and waxing their cars all their lives that are using a technique that could potentially inflict swirls and scratches into the paint.



Last edited by Mike Phillips; 05-03-2011 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:26 PM   #4
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Here's a quick video I took using my iPhone 3GS before Mike and Mike left with Mike's 1954 Corvette...

(This is the first time I've posted a YouTube video to DetailingWorld, lets hope I have the code formatted correctly)


1954 Corvette Just Waxed with Pinnacle Souveran Paste Wax


And for what it's worth, I just about had a heart-attack when the owner started wiping the wax off with the microfiber towel all scrunched-up...


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Old 05-03-2011, 09:31 PM   #5
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Very nice write up, and worth reading. I think most people can always learn something from someone in the know. Awesome car too.
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:34 PM   #6
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I posted the part about wiping the wax off first because I wanted to drive home the point about why such a simple process, (wiping wax off by hand is so important to do it carefully), but here's the first part which shows how we machine waxed the paint.


~~~~~~~


3M's but not 3M
Mike
the owner and Mike his buddy joined me, (Mike Phillips), here at Autogeek's Show Car Garage to put a Show Car Finish on a 1954 Corvette


This Corvette was restored as part of a car collection and painted approximately 20 years ago using a basecoat/clearcoat paint system. Although from 5 feet away it looked great, we felt the paint and could feel Above Surface Bonded Contaminants of some type all over the paint, even the sides using Pinnacle Ultra Poly Clay.





These are the contaminant after claying just the passenger side door, a vertical panel that is often times skipped by most people. Although contaminants primarily build up on horizontal surfaces, you can still have Above Surface Bonded Contaminants on vertical panels. Because we wanted to maximize the gloss we clayed all the paint panels.



There were some very light swirls in the paint but Mike aka Merlin will be doing a complete swirl removal process on this car down the road so for today the goal is just to apply a coat of wax to protect the paint and create a show car finish.

In most cases, claying will remove a majority of anything off the top surface of the paint, so after claying you really need to apply a coat of wax or a paint sealant.

What we want to do with this project is show that with just two simple steps, claying and waxing with a true show car wax, you can bring out the full richness of color and maximize the glossy look everyone loves...




Applying Paste Wax By Machine
Souveran Paste Wax can be applied by hand or machine, I personally prefer to apply all my waxes and paint sealants by machine plus the owner Mike has never used a DA Polisher before, only rotary buffers, so I wanted to introduce him to one of the most popular types of machine polishers in the industry.


Using a microfiber glove to hold the wax, you can pop the wax out of the jar and then simply swipe the wax a few times across the face of the foam finishing pad and you're ready to machine wax. Sometimes it helps to lightly heat the outside of the plastic jar with a Hair Blow Dryer as this will loosen the grip crated by surface tension the wax has with the jar.






Here's Mike the owner using a DA Polisher to machine wax his Corvette...







Next up I get Mike aka Merlin on our forum set-up to machine wax...






Then I put some wax on the face of my pad and we thoroughly waxed this Corvette in less than 10 to 15 minutes...




Notice the cord over the shoulder to prevent it from marring the finish...









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Old 05-03-2011, 09:43 PM   #7
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Quick question regarding microfibre towels. The ones that come with labels on, do you cut them off. I was doing my car today and noticed it would get caught between the paint and the towel at times
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
Quick question regarding microfibre towels. The ones that come with labels on, do you cut them off. I was doing my car today and noticed it would get caught between the paint and the towel at times
The ones I usually have access to have tags that are either sewn on or use some type of adhesive to hold them on, either way I remove them first.

The tags are annoying, it would be better if there were no tags to remove. Usually I don't apply pressure to edges of microfiber towels when wiping products off so it's kind of a non issue, at least for me.


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Old 05-03-2011, 11:06 PM   #9
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Excellent write-up Mike Certainly gives me something to look at in my own technique.
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Old 05-03-2011, 11:20 PM   #10
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Such an over looked point in detailing and something you see alot is people buffing off products with a scrunched up MF - makes me cringe!
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