Scratches and swirl marks are the bane of any car enthusiast. Using improper cleaning materials can scar and mar paintwork, leaving previous showroom-shine paint dulled and damaged. Yet it doesn’t need to cost the earth to keep that paint shining and relatively free from blemishes.
Every time I see someone cleaning their car with a sponge, I die a little inside. The material sponges are made up from don’t suck up dirt and dust well. Any particles you ‘wash’ off your car with a sponge will actually be stuck to the surface of the sponge and will be rubbed across the rest of the paintwork. Even the smallest particles can leave tiny scratches that result in swirl marks and the spiderweb-like marks you’ll see on older paintwork. A lambswool mitt or similar washing mitt functions differently, sucking up dirt and keeping it away from the surface – the quality and number of the fibres means it is far less likely to lead to damage to the paint. The same applies to post-wash care.
What’s the difference?
You might wonder what the difference is between a microfiber cloth and an old rag made from a discarded t-shirt or pair of trousers and why these are better for wax and cleaning. The answer lies in the name. ‘Microfiber’ cloths are made up of ultra-fine fibres which are thick and plush. Microfiber cloths are made from a positively charged material that attracts and traps dirt, dust and debris below the surface and therefore reduces the risk of scratching or damaging the paintwork when waxing or polishing.
But surely it’s already clean?
You might think that you’ve washed your car so it’s already clean and you don’t need to use microfiber cloths. Don’t be fooled. Paintwork isn’t perfect smooth; there are thousands of tiny pores that are invisible to the naked eye but hold oil, dirt and residue from exhaust emissions. All these nasty materials can potentially be picked up by a ‘normal’ cloth or ‘rag’ and scraped across the rest of the paint surface. A microfiber cloth reduces the risk and ensures your paintwork removes clean and undamaged.
Whether your car is brand new and fresh off the lot or a few years old, a microfiber cloth can make all the difference. Large, plush microfiber cloths are ideal for cleaning and polishing without leaving streaks or smudging. Microfiber cloths are also ideal for window cleaning due to their soft capillary nature.