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Old 09-06-2016, 04:51 PM   #1
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Microfiber towels vs. 100% Cotton

I acknowledge this is a controversial subject, but I continue to question whether to use microfiber or 100% cotton towels to dry my motor home after washing.

Those who object to microfiber say it causes small scratches over time. Proponents of microfiber say that "high quality" microfiber towels do not scratch.

And, I recognize that some cotton towels labeled 100% cotton may actually have a small percentage of polyester fiber that will scratch clear coat.

Since I will soon take delivery of a 2017 Dutch Star, I want to use the best drying towels to avoid scratching the clear coat finish.

I appreciate your thoughts and recommendations.

Rex
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:06 PM   #2
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I've got my popcorn waiting to see the responses. I can't imagine either scratching paint, or clearcoat without putting a lot of pressure on the towel, but then I am not an expert on this subject. So thanks for asking!
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by LK23 View Post
I acknowledge this is a controversial subject, but I continue to question whether to use microfiber or 100% cotton towels to dry my motor home after washing.

Those who object to microfiber say it causes small scratches over time. Proponents of microfiber say that "high quality" microfiber towels do not scratch.

And, I recognize that some cotton towels labeled 100% cotton may actually have a small percentage of polyester fiber that will scratch clear coat.

Since I will soon take delivery of a 2017 Dutch Star, I want to use the best drying towels to avoid scratching the clear coat finish.

I appreciate your thoughts and recommendations.

Rex

I use both on my high end cars and MH. I use a high quality MF towel. For cotton, I only use 100% cotton made in the USA. However, the binding or hem is normally sewn with polyester so I cut them off. It makes a for a messy towel because the edge is raged and stringy, but there's no chance for a scratch.

However, there is no need to dry your DS if you purchase an CR spotless rinse machine. It's a deionizer which removes all the solids and metals. It does not leave water spots . I use it on all my vehicles.

CR Spotless Water Systems - Just Wash, Rinse, Walk Away ®
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by LK23 View Post
I acknowledge this is a controversial subject, but I continue to question whether to use microfiber or 100% cotton towels to dry my motor home after washing.

Those who object to microfiber say it causes small scratches over time. Proponents of microfiber say that "high quality" microfiber towels do not scratch.

And, I recognize that some cotton towels labeled 100% cotton may actually have a small percentage of polyester fiber that will scratch clear coat.

Since I will soon take delivery of a 2017 Dutch Star, I want to use the best drying towels to avoid scratching the clear coat finish.

I appreciate your thoughts and recommendations.

Rex
Years ago after studying up on waterless car washes, I place a order for a kit from "Freedom Waterless Car Wash"(Since sold, now Eco green waterless car wash, https://www.ecogreenautoclean.com/ ) so I could clean/wash the Coach and Bike, and auto's while traveling.......the kit came with great quality micro fiber towels. Their product performs very well, have not looked for anything else. Now, since using the micro fiber towel's , I never use cotton or anything else anymore........use them in the kitchen, bath, cleaning just about anything. Way more absorbent than cotton towels, amazing!
Not one problem with scratching or leaving any kind of swirls. They are all I use now.
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:47 PM   #5
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I always used a chamy to dry my Mh and toad. Then while wintering in Texas , I hired a cleaning crew that were very reasonable. While watching them they changed my cleaning technique . I now use microfiber towels, to dry my vehicles . My opinion they leave a better looking end result. Since then I have been using the microfiber towels five years or so . To dry I use one to get the most of the water ringing out often,and the second one that stays fairly dry to polish. The other benifit they work great even on glass.To date I have not noticed any scatches . I wax at least once a year.
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:55 PM   #6
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I was taught old school auto detailing and learned that most micro-fiber and 100% cotton towels both have edges sewn with nylon. It is the nylon thread that scratches the clear coat not the fiber or cotton. Cut off all edges and there will no scratches from either only exception being, don't use fabric softeners when drying either.
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:58 PM   #7
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My opinion is that it does not really matter which you use as long as you use good quality for either. That is, don't buy microfiber or cotton towels at Walmart - either will certainly cause swirls. Also, all other parts of the wash procedure have the potential to cause swirls and need to be considered as well.

I detail all my cars and spend about 100 hours when my son and I detail the coach. I've used every product you can think of over the years. If you check the websites of any reputable car detailing supply site, you will note that they do not even sell cotton towels. Everything today is microfiber. Personally, I prefer it as well. Check for example, autogeek.net, adamspolishes.com, detailing.com, chemicalguys.com or any host of others. On each site, you will find lots of info as well as videos talking about how to wash and dry to minimize swirls.

I will also say that the 2016 and older DSDPs are lacking in clear coat. They only use 1 coat and it is awfully thin! In 2017, they upgraded to a cut and buff paint job, which means they have to do at least a second coat of clear.

Some other things to note.
  • it is near impossible to prevent swirl marks. Eventually they will show up and you will need to do paint correction/detailing. I can get by with this about every 10 months since I am mostly a weekender and store indoors, but full timers would have to do it a lot more often.
  • the same debate can be held on what type of wash mitt you use. Lambswool is the gold standard, but falls apart quickly and is very expensive. Synthetic wool can be just as good or even microfiber. Recently I have switched to boar's hair and that works very well.
  • the procedure used for washing is also very important. All detailers would endorse the two bucket system. But even this relies on you to rinse your wash mitt very well to remove the dirt it picks up just from washing.
  • swirl marks are much more visible on dark colors. I have some white and silver in my color scheme and rarely can see anything in them, while the blue and black show them much easier.

Since it is so much work to dry the coach, I now use a spotless rinse. It does work as advertised, but is also very expensive as the resin does not last long.

Basically, any time you wash your coach, no matter what you use, you will impart some level of swirls. I detailed mine three months ago and already have some minor swirls back (which can be seen only with a light at this point).

One final point... I recently coated my cars with ceramic paint coating instead of wax or paint sealant. It has worked very well. The claim is for 3 years of protection, which probably really means a solid year. So I have tried it on the coach. I have only done the front and rear caps and the baggage doors. The remainder was done with a paint sealant. After just three months, the ceramic coating is proving its worth easily over the paint sealant. I'd like to do the whole coach, but its an arduous process (it comes in a syringe and takes forever to apply) and expensive.
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:29 PM   #8
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I have been using drying towels from Mothers for the MH, car, jeep and the business pickup for roughly 8 years love them no scratches. Just follow the washing directions
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:57 PM   #9
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My opinion is that it does not really matter which you use as long as you use good quality for either. That is, don't buy microfiber or cotton towels at Walmart - either will certainly cause swirls. Also, all other parts of the wash procedure have the potential to cause swirls and need to be considered as well.

I detail all my cars and spend about 100 hours when my son and I detail the coach. .
Wow-- 100 hours to detail ???
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Old 09-06-2016, 08:08 PM   #10
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Wow-- 100 hours to detail ???
Well, 50-60 hours but two people so that's why I say 100 hours. We call it the 6 stage shine and he pretty much runs and hides when I tell him its time

Stage 1 - Wash - 4 hours
Stage 2 - Clay bar - 6 hours
Stage 3 - Swirl removal with an orbital polisher - 15 hours
Stage 4 - Finishing Polish with an orbital polisher - 10 hours
Stage 5 - Paint Sealant or ceramic coating - 10 hours
Stage 6 - Glass, tires, wheels, stainless trim (polish and seal) - 6

My wife does the inside and thinks I'm crazy.

It probably sounds crazy, but I enjoy it and find it relaxing and rewarding when it's finally done.
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Old 09-06-2016, 08:31 PM   #11
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Years ago after studying up on waterless car washes, I place a order for a kit from "Freedom Waterless Car Wash"(Since sold, now Eco green waterless car wash, https://www.ecogreenautoclean.com/ ) so I could clean/wash the Coach and Bike, and auto's while traveling.......the kit came with great quality micro fiber towels. Their product performs very well, have not looked for anything else. Now, since using the micro fiber towel's , I never use cotton or anything else anymore........use them in the kitchen, bath, cleaning just about anything. Way more absorbent than cotton towels, amazing!
Not one problem with scratching or leaving any kind of swirls. They are all I use now.
I too am a Waterless Wash convert. Since I have to wash rinse and wipe dry, I decided to simplify the process by using a waterless product. Wipe it on, wipe it off. One of the best I have come across recently is from Chemical Guys. Microfiber Towels are the way to go. IMHO. I buy mine from Costco and go through two or three bundles per year on my three vehicles.
I call it the KISS Method,,,,, Keep It Simple Stupid

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Old 09-06-2016, 08:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CapuTech View Post
Well, 50-60 hours but two people so that's why I say 100 hours. We call it the 6 stage shine and he pretty much runs and hides when I tell him its time

Stage 1 - Wash - 4 hours
Stage 2 - Clay bar - 6 hours
Stage 3 - Swirl removal with an orbital polisher - 15 hours
Stage 4 - Finishing Polish with an orbital polisher - 10 hours
Stage 5 - Paint Sealant or ceramic coating - 10 hours
Stage 6 - Glass, tires, wheels, stainless trim (polish and seal) - 6

My wife does the inside and thinks I'm crazy.

It probably sounds crazy, but I enjoy it and find it relaxing and rewarding when it's finally done.
Wow, it is few and far between to found someone on an RV forum that understands what it takes to have and maintain a great finish! Some other good points from others too.

Yes, detailing is "therapy".

Given your coach is quite a bit bigger than ours, your man hours seem fairly reasonable to me. When I did my first complete exterior detail on our new coach, I did skip the clay bar and I used a single cut polish (Griot's Complete Compound) which was fine for a new coach with generally good paint. A couple spots required a more aggressive polish followed by a finishing polish........ I do expect I'll clay bar at least the bay doors and lower rear next time I do a full detailing.

I'm so paranoid about imparting swirls / micro scratches when I wash the coach, I actually don't do a 2 bucket wash, but rince out my wash mitt with the hose each time before I dip it back into the soap bucket.

A couple more thoughts.....

Have separate mitts for your upper body, lower (bay doors) sections, as well as another for your wheels, and another for the edges of the wheel wells and bottom of the bay doors.

Rince out your wash bucket often so you are working with fresh soapy water. I bet I use at least 8-10 fresh buckets of soapy water when I wash my coach (In addition to applying soap with a "soapy water" sprayer. More suds, more lifting of the dirt as the soap is a surfactant which reduces the chance of crating swirls / micro scratches.

As for drying, I spray the wet surface with detailing spray before I dry it with a microfiber towel. If I can't spray the wet surface, I apply (quite a bit) if detailing spray directly on my drying towel. The detailing spray lubricates the towel and picks up any other surface dirt I may have missed washing.

And also be aware of tags and edging on your towels too, as noted above they can quickly damage your paint. As for tags, much better to cut them off to ensure nothing is left on the seam, because a label edge can be like running a razor blade across your paint.

I could go on for hours, but need to cut it short tonight.

CapuTech, hope we get to meet someday and talk detailing, I'm sure we could convince people we need to be committed!


My better half helping me (OK, there to call the paramedics if I fall off the ladder) on the final day of my first full detail.
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:10 AM   #13
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Well, 50-60 hours but two people so that's why I say 100 hours. We call it the 6 stage shine and he pretty much runs and hides when I tell him its time

Stage 1 - Wash - 4 hours
Stage 2 - Clay bar - 6 hours
Stage 3 - Swirl removal with an orbital polisher - 15 hours
Stage 4 - Finishing Polish with an orbital polisher - 10 hours
Stage 5 - Paint Sealant or ceramic coating - 10 hours
Stage 6 - Glass, tires, wheels, stainless trim (polish and seal) - 6

My wife does the inside and thinks I'm crazy.

It probably sounds crazy, but I enjoy it and find it relaxing and rewarding when it's finally done.

This is a good regimen. Do you use a random orbital or rotary? Which polish do you prefer?
I like 3m Machine glaze. It's a non filling polish for fine swirls. I use a rotary buffer though. I find that the RO isn't strong enough to remove the swirl. It just hides it by rounding off its edge.
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Old 09-07-2016, 07:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CapuTech View Post
Well, 50-60 hours but two people so that's why I say 100 hours. We call it the 6 stage shine and he pretty much runs and hides when I tell him its time



Stage 1 - Wash - 4 hours

Stage 2 - Clay bar - 6 hours

Stage 3 - Swirl removal with an orbital polisher - 15 hours

Stage 4 - Finishing Polish with an orbital polisher - 10 hours

Stage 5 - Paint Sealant or ceramic coating - 10 hours

Stage 6 - Glass, tires, wheels, stainless trim (polish and seal) - 6



My wife does the inside and thinks I'm crazy.



It probably sounds crazy, but I enjoy it and find it relaxing and rewarding when it's finally done.

You've got to be retired, right?


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