All detailers should make it a habit to use a partially wet or damp microfiber towel when drying a wet car because it absorbs water better than one that is fully dry. Scientifically speaking, the skin of a water molecule is polarized (attracted to specific molecules), thereby acting like a magnet for other liquid or water molecules based on a process known as capillarity. Combine that with the hydrophilic qualities of those microfiber towels, and you can see why the water on your vehicle is actually racing toward the water in the towel, anxious to bond in aqueous bliss.
Furthermore, your towel isn’t the one soaking up the water, but in fact, the water is doing all the wicking or pulling. That durable, miraculously absorbent, microfiber towel acts like a matrix to hold up to eight times its own weight in water. The cross-stitch pattern found in waffle weave microfiber towels help make them exceptionally absorbent. We highly suggest using waffle weave microfiber towels for drying surfaces because of their efficiency and ability to retain more water.
We use our washing machine to wash and “dry” the towels. When preparing a set of microfiber towels to be used to dry vehicles, we wash the towels on low heat and ring them out by simply using the spin cycle of the washing machine.
Depending upon how often you dry a car, your method for keeping your towels damp can vary. For instance, if you are a professional detailer, you probably turn your towel inventory over quite frequently and therefore you can throw your damp towels into a covered pail or bucket to keep them damp in between services.
If you are only maintaining your own car, or a couple of cars, sealing damp microfiber towels up in a pail with the lid closed for several days or weeks will only result in a soured, moldy and mildewed mess. The best option is to hang dry the towels after you’ve finished then throwing your towels into the washing machine on a quick rinse and spin cycle to get them damp again for your next endeavor.
One last note: So far, we have referred only to microfiber towels, but if you use cotton or terrycloth towels, lint is going to be your biggest concern. So if you’re going to use these towels, keeping them damp will greatly reduce their shedding of lint.