How to Dry Your Car with a Microfiber Towel

Drying your car properly after washing is a critical step to maintain the condition of the paint and finish.

How to Dry Your Car with a Microfiber Towel

Using a microfiber towel is one of the most popular and effective ways to dry a car without causing swirls, scratches or water spots.

Why Dry Your Car with Microfiber Towels

Microfiber towels are ideal for drying for several key reasons:

  • Absorbent: Made up of split microfibers, these towels soak up large amounts of water quickly. Their exceptional absorption ability makes drying fast and efficient.
  • Gentle: The tiny fibers are nonabrasive, smoothly gliding over the paint to lift water without causing fine scratches or swirl marks like other drying materials can.
  • Lint-free: Microfiber towels do not contain lint or loose particles that could get left behind on the paint.
  • Reusable: With proper care, high-quality microfiber drying towels can be laundered and reused over and over without losing effectiveness. This makes them a good value over time.

Using a microfiber towel is not foolproof however. There are some potential downsides to be aware of:

  • Lower quality microfiber can leave behind lint or easily scratch.
  • Overly used/worn towels lose absorbency and can streak or smear.
  • Using too much pressure can lead to light marring.

As long as you select good quality microfiber towels and use proper technique, drying with microfiber is safe for all clearcoat finishes when done carefully.

Types of Microfiber Drying Towels

There are a few key types of microfiber drying towels to be aware of:

Waffle Weave

Waffle weave microfiber towels have a distinctive waffle-like woven texture. The deeper piles created by the weaving pattern allow for excellent water absorption. These towels tend to be a bit thicker.

Twist Loop Pile

Twist loop pile microfiber towels have fibers spun together into thick loops. The twisted loops grab onto water effectively. This style often comes in plush, thick piles.

Standard Weave

Standard weave microfiber does not have a complex weave but has a soft, smooth texture. These towels reliably absorb water without adding any thickness.

For drying, twist loop pile and waffle weave microfibers are preferred for their extra absorption capabilities. Plush, thick towels make drying fast and easy. Just be sure whichever microfiber towels you choose are lint-free and made for auto detailing.

Key Takeaway: For car drying, use a thick, plush microfiber towel with a waffle or twist loop pile for maximum water absorption. Avoid cheap, thin microfibers prone to linting.

How to Dry Your Car with Microfiber Towels

Once you have selected high-quality microfiber drying towels, using proper technique is vital for safe, swirl-free results. Here is a step-by-step process:

1. Rinse the Towel

Before drying, thoroughly rinse out the microfiber towel with clean water to remove any lint or particles. Wring it out well to remove excess moisture. It should be damp but not dripping wet.

2. Dry the Upper Sections First

Start drying from the top down. Carefully pat or drag the microfiber towel over the roof first, then the hood and trunk lid, upper parts of the doors and panels, etc. Working top down allows gravity to help water run off without dripping onto already dried lower sections.

3. Wipe in Straight Lines

Use straight, overlapping lines when patting or dragging the towel across the paint rather than circular motions. Straight lines mimic the flow of water for better results.

4. Be Gentle

Do not press down too firmly or rub aggressively. Let the microfiber do the work. Light, gentle motions are best to prevent adding swirls or fine scratches.

5. Dry One Section at a Time

Dry only a 2 ft. x 2 ft. section at a time before re-rinsing and wringing out your towel. This keeps the towel from getting overly soaked with water and helps lift contaminants off evenly.

6. Work Methodically

Make sure to carefully dry every section, including mirrors, trim, wheel wells, and door jambs so no water is left behind anywhere.

7. Spot Buff with a Dry Towel

When the entire car has been patted dry, take a fresh dry towel and gently spot buff the paint to lift any remaining moisture and add extra shine.

Caring for Microfiber Drying Towels

To maintain the longevity and performance of your microfiber drying towels:

  • Wash after each use with mild detergent and no fabric softener or bleach
  • Air or line dry only – no machine dryers! The heat damages the microfibers.
  • Inspect for damage and discard overly worn towels prone to linting/smearing
  • Keep separate from regular household rags and wash mitts

With proper washing and drying methods after every use, high quality microfiber towels can be reused many times over.


What is the best way to dry door jambs and trim?

Use a small, compact microfiber towel that can fit into tight areas like door jambs. Carefully pat dry any leftover droplets of water in the cracks and crevices.

Should you use a drying aid before the towel?

Yes, apply a detailing spray wax or drying aid like Meguiar’s Last Touch before using your microfiber towel. The lubricating oils help the towel glide smoothly over the surface.

How do you get into hard to reach spots?

Wrap your microfiber towel around a longer object like a paintbrush handle. This allows you to easily maneuver the towel into gaps and dry hard to reach areas completely.


Drying your vehicle properly after washing takes precision, but using a high-quality microfiber towel makes the process much easier and swirl-free.

By starting at the top and working in straight gentle motions section-by-section, you can achieve professional no-spot, no-streak results.

Emma Kellam
Emma Kellam

I'm Emma, and I run Towels Edition, a website for fellow home goods enthusiasts who, like me, are passionate about textiles. After working in high-end retail, I was amazed by how little most people (myself included!) know about all the towel options out there.

I research and write all the content myself. Whether it's specialized towels like bar mops, Turkish cotton production methods, or comparing hair towel absorbency, I cover it. My goal is to share my knowledge and enthusiasm to help others.

Running Towels Edition allows me to constantly expand my own expertise too. I love learning about innovations in bamboo fabric or ideal bath towels. It's so rewarding to receive emails thanking me for recommendations that improved my readers' routines.

I want Towels Edition to be the ultimate online towel resource, making this overlooked necessity far more fascinating. My aim is to open people's eyes to how specialty towels can thoroughly enhance hygiene, cleaning, recreation and self-care.