tl;dr Short Answer: The [Dreadnought] Super Twist Car Drying Towel
When it comes to choosing a car drying towel there are a lot of options. It’s not as simple as pulling out your grandpa’s chamois or using your moms old bath towels.
You can cause a lot of damage to your paint with a low-quality drying towel or by using the wrong drying technique.
First, you will want to make sure that you are drying a completely cleaned surface free of debris and particles.
If your drying towel becomes soiled the embedded debris can be rubbed across the clear coat causing small scratches and marring.
As it should be with all car care and auto detailing processes, you should adjust your technique based on the state of your paint and your desired results.
If you have swirled and scratched paint you can use different products and techniques than if you have perfectly polished and coated surfaces.
Choosing a Drying Towel
For daily drivers (with less than perfect paint) the best towel to dry your car will be something like the
- [Big Thirsty] Waffle Weave Drying Towel 25”x36”.
- light weight
- easy to use
- extra durable
- easy to wring out
- low pile prevents linting and streaking.
For a car with a perfect paint finish the best towel to dry your car will have a higher pile, like:
[Motherfluffer XL] Plush Drying Towel.
- Extremely absorbent
- Heavy Weight
- Plush Fibers
- Super Soft
[Dreadnought] Super Twist Drying Towel
- Extremely absorbent
- Heavy Weight
- Long Twist fibers
- Glides across surface
- Fast absorbency
About the different types of Microfiber Material for Drying
The original microfiber car drying towels were waffle weave microfiber. The tight weave and waffle pattern ridges soak up water quickly and efficiently. They are light weight and easy to wring out. They dry quickly and can be laundered hundreds of times. The [Big Thirsty] is a high-quality example of this towel.
Many detailers and car enthusiasts feel that the best auto drying towel is one with a higher, longer pile, and a heavier weight, for more absorbency.
The long fibers make less contact with the paint, with less pressure, and they cushion the paint from any debris (like granules of dirt) that is picked up by the towel.
The [Motherfluffer] is an example of this type towel. This towel works best on perfectly polished and decontaminated paint with a well-maintained ceramic coating.
The high pile, and open fibers, can create extra friction when wet, making the drying process more difficult.
The solution to this problem is the revolutionary [Dreadnought] Drying Towel.
This towel is heavy weight, with high absorbency, and a high pile, like the [Motherfluffer], but the fibers are bundled in a compact twisted orientation. The benefit of this twisted loop fiber construction is that it creates less friction when wiping. This drastically reduces the time and effort necessary to dry. Another advantage is its superior window drying and cleaning ability. Cleaning glass and mirrors, lint and steak free.
What is the best size towel?
The best size towel depends on the type of material the towel is made from and your preferred drying technique.
Most drying towels are extra-large so that you can dry an entire car with one towel. But this isn’t always the optimal way to dry a car.
Many detailers have found that two smaller towels, one in each hand can achieve faster results.
For this technique, two 16”x16” towels will work best. Examples:
One towel in each hand is easier to control, and you can reach more of the cars surface area from one standing position.
Still, most people prefer a large drying towel. But huge towels are inefficient and can be difficult to use. Heavy weight drying towels should be manageable. For this reason, the large versions of the [Dreadnought] (20”x30”) and [Motherfluffer] (22”x22”), are big but still manageable. The lighter weight [Big Thirsty] is a larger 25”x36”.
How to Dry a Car
There are a few different car drying techniques.
The number one rule when drying your car (if you are interested in limiting paint damage) is to make sure that the car is clean (only wet) before you start using a towel.
You need to ensure that you are not using a dirty towel, or a towel with embedded debris.
- Get After It - Just start wiping. Hold the towel however you want. Fold it, or don’t. Just get the car dry as fast as possible. This is the most popular method, the most natural and the easiest. The [Dreadnought] is by far the best for this method.
- Gentle Drag - Lay the towel down, and gently pull from one end. All of the towels will work, but the [Dreadnought] will be the easiest, because of the reduced friction.
- Lift and Pat - Set the towel down on the wet surface, add gentle patting pressure. Lift the towel and place it on a new wet section of the car. Repeat. The soft and plush [Motherfluffer] will be the best option for this technique.
- Blow Off - Many detailers and enthusiests prefer to dry with a blower. This help blow water out of seams and off of the surface. In most cases, you will need a towel to remove residual water that was not blown away. Any high-quality towel (usually 16”x16”) will work.
Mistakes to Avoid
- Only dry a clean surface
- Don’t use a dirty towel with embedded debris
- Don’t use a towel you have dropped on the ground
Using a Drying Aide
A new popular drying method is to use a “drying aid” or specially designed spray sealant to lubricate the wet surface when drying.
You can effectively apply paint protection when drying the car, removing a time-consuming step.
A great product for this process is American Detailer Garage [Valor].
Give each panel a spray of [Valor] and towel dry.
The spray will reduce the surface tension of the water allowing to to absorb faster in the towel and will provide extra lubricity to help reduce scratching and micro-marring.
Our preferred drying method and products at Autofiber are to use [Valor] as a drying aid with the [Dreadnought].