By: Dr. Joe Gartland, Towelologist

Since the earliest days of professional car washing, towels have played an important role in automotive appearance. Over time, the industry has changed and so have the towels. Technology and the evolution of textiles has brought us towels with increased water absorption, cleaning performance and extreme polishing functionality.

The development of commercial-grade microfiber has enabled Doctor Joe to assemble a line of towels that are task-specific. The towel brand was built around categories of what you want the towel to do. Dry cars? Reach for Body Towels. Need to clean and dry windshields, use our Glass Towels. Polish cars to a fine shine with our Detail Towels. Offer Courtesy Towels for your customers’ use, or send them home with Vending Towels. You can now easily handpick the towel based on the job you want done!

To further help you with the towel selection process, all items are classified as Good, Better and Best. In most instances, these terms do not speak to the quality of the product but rather to its suitability. One will be larger and heavier than another, while others may include towel technology that makes them suited for a specific task, and so on.

Regardless of what type of towel(s) are chosen, it is critical to “color code.” This is the best practice of assigning one color for glass, another color for drying and a third color for detailing. Color coding allows for quick, easy identification during the drying process, so you know you’re using the right towel for the job! To help with this, Doctor Joe offers most items in a variety of colors.  

Body Towels

The primary responsibility of towels in a car wash is to dry a vehicle quickly. This is where size and weight matter. A larger, thicker towel will wick more water than a smaller thinner towel. Whatever the selection, it is important to remember that all body towels should remain clean, damp and free of all debris. Many people underestimate the damage to painted surface a dropped towel can cause. A dropped towel can pick up everything from dirt and mud particles, to miniscule bits of stone or concrete. If a towel falls on the ground, take it out of service.

Body towels - good, better, best

Microfiber Towels make excellent body towels. Doctor Joe uses the same high-quality yarn in all body towel selections. The differences are found in the size and thickness of the towel. Good: Ultra-61 Medium Weight 16” x 24”, Better: Ultra-80 Heavy Weight 16” x 27” and Best: Ultra-85 Super-Heavy Weight 16” x 27”.  There is also a larger choice in body towels available – the oversized Ultra-70, measuring 20” x 40”.  This towel is particularly useful in drying larger vehicles, RVs, boats, and planes. The Ultra-70 is available in six colors.

Cotton towels are also popular as body towels. All of Doctor Joe’s towels are crafted to be perfectly broken-in after one wash and machine dry. Think-Thick Towels, available in 16” x 27” and 24” x 24” sizes, and Ambassador Hand Towels 16” x 28” are the Best selections in this category.

Glass Towels

There seems to be a universal problem with removing white streaks from windshields, but with Black and Blue Diamond Microfiber towels, that problem is solved! These towels have an exclusive diamond pattern that cuts streaks and smears off glass. Did you ever use a razor on glass? It works the same way. It is one of the Best Selections for cleaning glass! It is available 16” x 16” and 16” x 24”. Look for Ultra-55 and Ultra-56 on the website. These towels are also the Best Choice for Glass Tinting.

Glass towels - good, better, best

Another great selection for glass cleaning is a Waffle-Weave Microfiber Towel. These towels also reside in the Best Choice for glass towels. Waffle-Weave can’t be beat for cleaning off heavy smoke and of all things, the removal of donut icing! The heavy-duty pouches scoop off any grime present on the glass. It is available in two grades: Medium Weight 16” x 16” (Ultra-36) and Heavy Weight 16” x 24” (Ultra-32).

Going from Best to Better is the Ultra-51. It is a smooth tricot microfiber 16” x 16” glass cleaning towel. Doctor Joe went the manufacturer of the small cleaning towel you use for cleaning your eyeglasses. He had the towel made heavier and larger and rest is history! This is also excellent for smoke, smear and smudge removal.

Finally, weighing-in on the Good category are the much-respected cotton surgical towels. They are one of the oldest and most reliable types of towel for cleaning glass. Surgical towels are available new in a variety of colors or in a washed recycled version for eco-conscious cleaning.

Detailing Towels

The detailing business has changed dramatically in the last 25 years. The business model has moved from “a guy with a bucket, can of wax and a few rags” to a true professional with knowledge of chemistry, paint finishes, best practices, and a depth of experience.  In order to properly service this sophisticated industry, Doctor Joe has developed a full line of specialized microfiber towels for detailing.

Detail towels - good, better, best

The two Best Detailing Towels both feature an uncommon level of softness. The Pre-Laundered Elite 01, made in Korea, is a 70/30 blend 16” x 27” black fine-fiber microfiber towel. It is designed specifically to polish after the application of ceramic coatings. It is the same type of towel used to polish the ceramic coating on the circuit board on your mobile phone – only it is heavier and larger.   

At a similar level of plushness but in a smaller, easier-to-use size, the Charcoal Gray 16×16 Microfiber Ceramic Polishing Towel is the perfect choice when a smaller size is preferred. Both towels are considered the Best choices for polishing nano-coatings, traditional waxes and preparing vehicle surfaces for the application of graphics.

Classified as Better is Ultra-82. This is a 16” x 16” Fine-Fiber Detailing Towel. These towels provide the proper friction coefficient for wax removal without scratching clear coat or paint. The Big Box Store Towels do not offer this benefit. Ultra-82 is also available in nine colors.

Described as Good Choices are Closeout Microfiber Towels. These are first quality towels that are no longer manufactured. They include towels for as little as $0.32 each! They are excellent for odd wiping and cleaning around the shop. These towels are priced on par with those found at big box stores, but are softer and plusher!

Courtesy Towels

The business models of many car washes have changed over the last twenty years. In the old days, Full-Serve Washes were everywhere! You would often see ten or more attendants busy drying cars. Today, work sharing is common with Flex Serve and Exterior Washes. The customers are put to work doing their own vacuuming and towel drying. Hence the need for a courtesy towel. Here’s how car washes work with this concept:

  • Towel is given to the customer as a courtesy: Perhaps a 12’’ x 12” Microfiber (Ultra-03 or Ultra-05) or 16” x 16” Microfiber Closeout.
  • Towel is given to customer with “Top Wash Package” purchase: In this instance, something of value should be given to reflect the value of the wash. Both the Ultra-82 Heavy 16” x 16” or the Heavy Gray Viper 16” x 24” are Better Choices in this scenario.
  • Towel is purchased by customer: For example, a 12’’ x 12” Microfiber (Ultra-03 and Ultra-05) or 16” x 16” Microfiber Closeout is sold to the customer.
  • Towel is provided at the tunnel exit so customers can dry their vehicles: A low-cost towel like a surgical towel 16” x 24” (H-115), Blue Terry towel 16” x 19”, or 16” x 16” Closeout Microfiber would be the doctor’s prescriptions for this scenario. The customers are expected to return the towel, but we know it doesn’t always happen, so balancing cost consciousness with quality is the key.
  • Towel Replacement Program: A “Unique Towel” is sold to the customer one time. On the customer’s future visits, the “Unique Soiled Towel” is replaced with a clean “Unique Clean Towel”, at no charge.  A plush towel like Ultra-86 Super Heavy Weight 16” x 16” in Black or Charcoal with a “Unique” red edge works perfectly in this circumstance!

What are the best towels for your business? Call today at 1-800-233-3873. All team members at Kleen-Rite are qualified to answer your questions, solve your problems, and help you make the best towel selection.

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