If you’ve detailed your car then you know what I’m talking about when I say accessories get dirty. Applicators get chalky, wheel sponges start to look like charcoal, microfiber towels gather grease, and you’d never want to detail your car with dirty accessories. Cleaning your car with dirty mitts or soiled towels can leave you with swirl marks, scratches, and worse, an even dirtier car. For these reasons I suggest that after every detail and every wash you should scope out your accessories to determine if they need to be washed. TIP: Separate towels and accessories by the surface they are used on before washing – glass with glass, paintwork with paintwork, leather cloths with leather cloths. When you notice the filth and it’s time to clean, here’s how to do it correctly…
Washing Foam Pads & Applicators
When you’re washing foam pads and foam applicators, commonly used for waxing or wheel cleaning, you have to be gentle. Start by rinsing the applicators to remove large debris and gunk before going to the washing machine. TIP: Pre-soaking applicators in a soap dilution will make the wash more thorough. After a pre-rinse or pre-soak, you can either hop into a hand wash technique or you can use a washing machine. If you’re hand washing you can use dish soap and warm water to scrub the foam and remove embedded dirt, product (ie. wax, polish), or grease. For those using washing machines, set your washer to a warm, gentle cycle. After either hand washing or machine washing, tumble dry with little to no heat. You can also air dry, but this will take a little longer. Heat and foam don’t work well together, and in some cases you can melt the applicator if you use excessive heat when drying.
Washing Microfiber Towels & Wash Mitts
If you’re using microfiber then you know it is much more delicate than a cotton cloth would be, and because of this your washing technique has to be a bit different when you’re cleaning such unique towels. Similarly to the foam accessories, I recommend rinsing or pre-soaking the towels before jumping into a wash. A “soak” will release a good amount of build-up that would otherwise contaminant your wash and can make all the difference next time you go to use your microfiber towels. Whether washing with by hand or machine, be sure to use warm to hot water with a mild detergent. If washing by hand, rinse often. TIP: Avoid using fabric softeners, as this can clog the space between the cleaning fibers in microfiber and render the towel useless. Tumble dry with no heat, as high temperatures can cause the towels to curl and singe.
While of course these suggestions are dependent upon the individual item being washed, these procedures are designed to be gentle solutions to cleaning the accessories that help you keep your car sparkling clean. As an experienced detailer, heed my advice… washing your accessories after use is one of the most important steps you can take toward a longer lasting finish. Dirty towels cause problems: filthy applicators can cause product contamination, and you don’t want to see a gash in your wheel because of leftover brake dust on your wheel sponge. A clean car begins and ends with clean towels, clean pads, and quality car care products – all of which lead to profesional results right at home.