Glass cleaning is a seemingly simple task that can drive detailers crazy. It is typically the final step of the detail before delivery to the customer and chasing streaks can be a nightmare.
Detailer’s have developed many techniques and use a variety of chemicals to attack the problem. Believe it or not, there is quite a bit of variation between different types of glass, windshields, and film (tint) used by automotive manufacturers. Varying techniques, different glass, and endless chemical options has led to the development of more than a few types of microfiber towel options.
If you are a new detailer or newbie enthusiast all of the options and combinations can be dizzying.
Before we get into the differences between our different towel options, we think it is important to point out (as a towel manufacturer actively doing R&D on products for this task) that the most critical aspect of glass cleaning isn't any of the towels, chemicals, or techniques, but how you care for your towels before and after you clean. Regardless of the type of glass, chemical, towel or process, if the towels you are using are dirty or contaminated you will have a difficult time cleaning glass.
If you only want to remember one thing to make your glass cleaning more effective, it is:
LAUNDER YOUR GLASS TOWELS SEPARATELY FROM EVERYTHING ELSE….
and secondarily use distilled white vinegar in the rinse cycle to neutralize any detergent (or alkaline chemical) that hasn't been rinsed out.
If you launder your glass towels with towels used for other detailing processes you run the risk (high-risk) of contaminating your glass towels with whatever other chemicals or grease/grime is in those towels. If your towels are contaminated with the wrong chemical, then no matter what glass cleaner or technique you use you will have a difficult time chasing streaks.
Secondarily, when doing the final wipe on a window to remove streaks or residual moisture, make sure that you are wiping with a clean towel section. Many detailers will use a two-towel method, where they use a damp towel for the initial cleaning and removal of dirt and grime, and a second clean/dry towel for the final wipe. This is where proper toweling technique, with a towel folded twice into quarter sections, and continually flipped can lead to much better results and efficiency.
With those critical points out of the way we can get into the differences between our different glass towel options.
Good old normal microfiber (terry or two-pile) can work great on windows and glass, especially if it is a high-quality towel. The only downside is that they are more likely to leave lint. The open fibers in the pile of the towel can break off on certain types of windows.
Waffle weave microfiber towels are the consensus favorite for cleaning automotive glass. They are super absorbent, the low pile is unlikely to lint, and the high-low contour of the waffle ridges attacks grit and grime while reducing wiping friction, so that the towels easily glide over the surface, for fast cleaning.
The Smooth Weave towels are the original microfiber glass towel. They have no pile, so they are very unlikely to leave lint, and they are good at leaving a streak free finish. The major downside is that they can create too much friction when wiping, especially on certain types of automotive glass.
Autofiber Options: Smooth Glass
The Diamond Weave towels are similar to the Smooth Glass, but they have a diamond pattern that creates a high-low contour, like the waffle weave to allow the towel to glide across the glass surface with less friction.
Autofiber Options: Diamond Glass
The twist loop towels are a great option for glass. The closed end loops are low lint, the high pile attacks dirt, they are super absorbent, and provide low friction wiping.
We offer a variety of specialty glass towels that are composites and combine various types of microfiber fabric into tools that make glass cleaning easier and more efficient. Our unique “flip” towels are well suited for glass cleaning because they assist in proper towel technique: always using a clean towel section for the final wipe. Some of our best glass cleaning towels are “two-sided” composites to make the two-towel method possible with one towel.