Managing towels, sponges and orbital pads

JHZR2

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46,137
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New Jersey
Hi, I've amassed a decent amount of stuff from my years of keeping after my cars. Certainly a good number of microfiber towels, wax hand applicators, orbital pads and sponges. I'm curious as to how folks deal with each of these. Specifically some questions below, but if you have other thoughts, please feel free. - do you use a separate sponge for the top half-2/3 and then the bottom section, since the bottom is usually dirtier/grittier/has more tar? - do you do anything to care for your sponges/mitts besides rinse them well? (Btw, I've generally gone to grout sponges, but microfiber mitts/sponges sometimes have their place) - do you keep separate wax applicators / random orbital pads for different products? - what do you use to clean your pads and applicators? - how often do you clean them (I assume every car if not sooner)? - do you use different microfiber towels for drying vs buffing? - how often do you change towels when working on a car (I.e. Do they get to a full point with buffing residue)? - how often do you wash them? - what products do you use to wash them? Thanks!
 
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2,871
Location
High Tax Illinois
This drives my wife nuts. She goes into my oil/oil filter room and see's the rags/towels/micro-cloths go from clean stage to dirty stage laying in different piles. "Why don't you throw these away?" Not yet....still one last hunk of crud to wipe off of something!!!
 
Messages
635
Location
Norwalk, CA not CT
I use a microfiber mitt for my car. I find sponges just don't have the gentle scrubbing power microfiber does. I don't have a separate mitt for different portions of the car. I just work top to bottom and have a separate nylon webbed scrubbing sponge for tough bugs but generally I don't use it,a good soaking will soften everything up where the mitt is enough especially when the surface is kept properly waxed. But applicator sponges and polishing pads I wash them in the washing machine with my microfibers. I use the sanitary plus steam cycle on my washer which is the hottest longest cycle. Along with Purple Power degreaser and laundry detergent they come out pristine. Tumble dry on low. I have separate pads for waxing and polishing. Other than that as long as they're clean any polishing pad I'll use for any step necessary and the wax pad is reserved just for waxing. Drying towels are larger and only used for drying, I've been only rinseless washing but still they are for drying only. Generally the towels are good for about 6-8 rinseless washings before they're too loaded with the oils and waxes in the rinseless wash to be as useful. So maybe they're washed once a month. I make sure I have enough cloths to coincide with this so I can dedicate an entire load to microfiber. I gather every microfiber I use and wash and dry them at once. That includes any around the house for general purpose cleaning. As for polishing. My car isn't huge but I can generally get away with one microfiber cloth per step. Folding into quaters and using each side gives me 8 total sides to switch to. One to wipe then flip to buff. Refold and repeat. Switch to a new one when going to the next step. And then if necessary one final cloth for a final wipedown. Oh and recently I ran out of bath towels. You probably didn't consider this, but a large plush microfiber cloth will dry your body out much more thoroughly and quickly than a cotton one will. And if you could convince your significant other, it also will dry hair nearly dry out of the shower like 10 times quicker than a cotton one. Just blotting out my hair it ended up nearly completely dry so that it would be dry after like 10 minutes so one thing they'll probably like, they won't need to walk around with really wet hair AND won't need to blow dry it. Microfiber really is an amazing material.
 
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12,336
Location
OH
You may want to consider claying the car(s) since I don't remember you mentioning this as part of your routine in another thread about the Saab. It probably only takes 20 mins and can be done when washing the car. But only do it when waxing/sealing the car. Querty pointed out a real nice sponge from walmart awhile ago that was only $3-4 or so. I may just get a nanoskin fine grade sponge to accomplish what the clay does. Only $13 and just rinse it off to clean it. Then I'll add some Iron-x spray to the shopping cart as well from autogeek.
 

JHZR2

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Thread starter
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46,137
Location
New Jersey
I use grout sponges from HD, made in Germany for around $1. but I do have some microfiber mitts and other things... I try the plastic bag test to see if I need to clay. Fortunately I felt it was minimal enough to not need to clay. Im always concerned with gouging and dragging contaminants when I clay, even with lube. Still, good point, and I will if I need to.
 
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486
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Is there anything specific that you are wondering about? I quick read your questions and a lot of them are the same. Washing isn't rocket science. Well okay for some guys it is and others want it to be. DO: - Always use 'free and clear' of dyes and perfumes detergent. - If the towel is really dirty, soak it using the above detergent in a bucket for an hour or so before washing. - Air dry DON'T: - Wash microfiber with non-microfiber - Use bleach - Hot dry in the dryer - Try to save a hopelessly stained microfiber towel, demote it to non-paint duties. As for the pads, yes, overtime they tend to end up being used for specific duties, like either polishing only or waxing only. I also use an ungodly amount of detergent when washing pads. Detergent is cheap. Your paint isn't.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Thread starter
Messages
46,137
Location
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: razel
Is there anything specific that you are wondering about? I quick read your questions and a lot of them are the same. Washing isn't rocket science. Well okay for some guys it is and others want it to be. DO: - Always use 'free and clear' of dyes and perfumes detergent. - If the towel is really dirty, soak it using the above detergent in a bucket for an hour or so before washing. - Air dry DON'T: - Wash microfiber with non-microfiber - Use bleach - Hot dry in the dryer - Try to save a hopelessly stained microfiber towel, demote it to non-paint duties. As for the pads, yes, overtime they tend to end up being used for specific duties, like either polishing only or waxing only. I also use an ungodly amount of detergent when washing pads. Detergent is cheap. Your paint isn't.
No. If you condense the questions down, its not much about washing and more about everything else. Do you buy a pad, and only use it for a specific product (i.e. label it and only use that one for it), or just have pads, use them, wash them, and then use them again for something else?
 
Messages
437
Location
midwest
I'm not as OCD about this as some people, but I'll chime in. I have 2 of the Griot's wash mitts. I use one for the car and one for the wheels (they are different colors). I use the same one for the top and bottom of the car, I just do the bottom last. I also have a scrubber from Autogeek for when there's a lot of grit or whatever on the bottom part. I use the foam was applicators. Once I use them for a product, they only get used for that product. I wash them with dish soap by hand, let them dry, and put them in labelled Ziplocs. I have specific microfiber towels for drying and different ones for buffing. I change the buffing towel when I can see the residue in the towel and I no longer have a clean square to use. I wash all the microfiber together using the extra rinse/delicate cycle, and low heat dry. I use Tide Free and some Oxiclean. This all seems to work well enough for me.
 
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