How to Wash Car Wax Rags To Maintain Their Absorbency for Longer

Car wax rags are essential items that you can’t do without. They are great for wiping glass, polished surfaces, and cleaning other parts of the vehicle. They get exposed to polishes, ceramic coatings, sealants, waxes, detailers, grease, and grime. So, maintenance of these rags is a big concern.

Knowing how to wash car wax rags is an essential skill that helps keep the towels in good condition for repeated use. However, very few people understand how that works.

This article explains everything you should know about washing car wax rags. Read on for more information.

Can You Wash Car Polishing Rags And Cloths?

Yes. You can wash cars polishing rags and clothes. However, due to the kinds of dirt – sealant, wax, polymers, and oils – to which they get exposed, you need a stronger detergent. For example, sealants and waxes are resistant to water, detergents, and heat.

Similarly, cured ceramic coating can resist cleaning by soap and water for years. Therefore, ceramic residue tends to settle into the rag and make it stiff and crusty. You may need a good mix of all purpose cleaner and strip wash to remove sealant from polishing rags and cloths.

While you can use regular laundry soap to remove embedded dirt, it can be difficult to remove polymer sealants, and carnauba waxes that way. Whether you choose to clean your car wax rags by hand or machine, having the right product and utilizing the best cleaning method is critical.

When cleaning car polishing rags and cloths, the best solution is a combination of warm/hot water and a strong microfiber detergent. This process emulsifies the caked-up wax, polish, and detailing residues. Avoid weaker detergents that progressively leave behind tiny amounts of detailing, resulting in a build-up of residue and hampering the cloth’s performance.

How To Wash Car Wax Rags?

Do you know how to wash car wax rags? Since these pieces of cloth are made from delicate materials such as cotton and microfiber, they require special handling when cleaning. With the right laundering procedures, car wax rags can last through more than 100 washes.

Here is the breakdown of the procedure for washing car wax rags:

How To Clean Polish Rags?

Before cleaning polish rags, you should check the care label to understand the kind of care the rag requires. Polish rags tend to scrape wax off your car and accumulate lots of debris in the long run. Therefore, the cleaning process should get rid of impurities and not damage the rag’s polishing properties.

You can clean polish rags by hand washing in a sink with soap and warm water. It starts with soaking polish rags in warm soapy water. Then, you can wash the rags like you would any other piece of cloth. Alternatively, you can wash with a dish detergent instead of any special cleaning agent.

For a handwashing job, you need the following items:

  • A wash bin, washboard, and two buckets
  • Brush, handheld washboard, or another agitator
  • Laundry or dish detergent
  • Special cleaning solution if you need it

Alternatively, you can machine wash the rags alone using a light detergent. After shaking out the loose dirt or dust, treat heavily soiled stains. Soak the rags in warm water and add some mild detergent. After setting the washing machine to cold and delicate, run the wash cycle.

Related Post: Top 10 Best Spot Free Car Wash Soap To Buy In 2022

How To Clean Car Wax Applicator Pads & Bonnets?

Wax applicator pads and bonnets are great for waxing and wheel cleaning your car. They are delicate and require gentle cleaning. Ideally, you should rinse the applicator pads and bonnets to remove embedded dirt.

Prepare a soap solution and soak the applicators in it. After a while, rinse the applicators to remove build-up debris. Once the dirt is adequately loosened, hand wash the applicators or clean them in a machine.

You can wash with a dish detergent and warm water. Gently scrub the foam on the applicator to remove wax, polish, grease, and other forms of dirt. Once you finish, you should air-dry the wax applicator pads and bonnets and keep them in a store once they dry.

Instead of hand washing, you could wash in a machine set to a warm, gentle cycle. You can then tumble dry with minimal heat to prevent the foam from melting. If you choose to air dry, it can be a while before you can use the applicator again.

What Is The Best Way To Wash Microfiber Cloths?

How to Wash Car Wax Rags

Cleaning microfiber cloth is an integral part of properly maintaining it to keep it in good shape. When washing microfiber towels, you can’t just throw a bunch of them together with the rest of your laundry. You have to take deliberate steps to get them cleaned in the right way. Here are some of the steps you can take:

1. Separating Microfibers According to Purpose

It’s not advisable to wash microfibers with other fabrics, especially lint-producing cotton. Make that mistake, and the microfiber picks up excessive lint, becoming virtually useless.

Also, you shouldn’t wash all your microfiber cloths together. You should separate the towels depending on the detailing jobs they serve. For example, clothes for detailing your car should go into one bunch and those for cleaning the wheels into another.

Remember, some of the microfiber towels might not be as dirty as the rest. Therefore, washing them together can result in spreading dirt, grime, and grease to the cleaner ones. Here are a few tips on categorizing microfiber towels:

  • Keep the towels drying together since they have less residue and solid particles
  • Wash mitts have some dirt and solid particles and should go in one heap
  • Buffing clothes are exposed to polishes, ceramic coatings, sealants, waxes, and detailers. Put these towels in the same category.
  • The last category consists of the towels for cleaning the undercarriage, engine bay, door jambs, wheel arches, and other grime-laded areas. Wash them separately.

Step 2: Pre-Soaking Microfiber Towels

Are you wondering how to wash car wax rags? Wash towels can be so dirty to the extent of being unsuitable to put in a washing machine. If you insist on washing them directly, they could soil the machine necessitating a thorough wipe down later on.

You can avoid that by soaking the extra-dirty towels in warm water with mild microfiber detergent. Later on, when the dirt is softened and removed, you can go ahead, and machine washes the towels. Whether hand washing or machine washing, pre-soaking makes your work extremely easier.

Step 3: Choose Detergent Carefully

What is the best microfiber detergent? It should be one that’s gentle enough to keep your microfiber clothes intact for later use. So, choose whatever the manufacturer has labeled as “baby” or “skin-sensitive.”

Avoid fabric softeners since they render fiber cloth towels useless when it comes to absorbing water. Bleaches also damage the towel fibers and lead to expedited deterioration. The result is lots of lint and particles that remain on the surface of your car.

Don’t use powder detergents either since they may not dissolve in the water fully. The undissolved bits end up lodging in the fabric, causing microfiber towels to leave lines and streaks on glass and scratches on the surface finish. So, only use liquid detergents.

Go for microfiber detergent, which is the safest for the fabric. However, avoid snake oil or any products claiming to have the ability to restore damaged microfiber. If you opt to machine wash your towels, add some vinegar instead of fabric softener.

Step 4: Washing Microfiber Detergent

Now you can load the washing machine with the microfiber towels. Turn the heat to medium to loosen the dirt that could have built into the fabric. The cycle should happen for only a few minutes to prevent the microfibers from getting tangled.

If you expose the towel to high heat often, the towel could end up hardening and losing its absorption properties. You can have graduated heat settings based on the type of microfiber towel. For drying, window, and wash QD towels, wash in cold water. Warm heat is for polish, sealant, and wax towels, while the hot setting is suitable for the dirtiest towels.

Step 5: Drying Microfiber Towels

If you’re not in a hurry, air dry your microfiber towels on the rack or line for use the following day. Alternatively, you can use the dryer at the lowest heat settings. However, do not get the towels completely dry. Remove them while they have some dampness and air dry them.

Can You Wash Microfiber Cloths With Vinegar?

No. You cannot wash microfiber cloths using vinegar. Even though one of the best laundry agents, vinegar is acidic and tends to erode the microfiber bristles. However, you may use a little vinegar instead of a fabric softener.

How To Wash Car Wash Rags- FAQs

How Do You Clean A Waxed Rag?

The best way to clean a waxed rag or other fleece product is by washing it with soap and water. Or, you can soak the item overnight in warm water and 1 cup of vinegar to remove oil, body oils and dirt. To maintain appearance, hand wash in cool water using mild soap. Do not use fabric softeners as they are not recommended for fleece products.

How Often Should You Wash Microfiber Cloths?

The frequency with which you should wash microfiber cloths varies based on how much you use them, how dirty they become during use, and how quickly they get dirty. Generally, it’s recommended that microfiber cloths should be washed after each use. By washing your microfiber cloths regularly, the dirt and grime that becomes embedded will be kept to a minimum, resulting in longer lasting microfiber cloths.

Do Microfiber Cloths Scratch Cars?

No, they do not scratch cars when used properly. But there are many ways to scratch a car’s finish depending on how soft or hard the microfiber cloth is, what chemicals you use on them, how you hold the cloth, etc. The answer depends on the individual person’s definition of scratch. Microfiber cloths can just be the trick for you to keep your car shiny clean and looking new for years to come.

What Kind Of Rag Should I Use To Wash My Car?

Your first step should be to buy a car cleaning kit. It will include the soap and supplies you need, such as soft sponges and high-quality microfiber towels. Use high quality sponges or wash mitts to prevent scratching the paint. Using high quality towels made of microfiber or cotton flannel will help avoid swirl marks and light scratches when you dry your car with a clean chamois leather.


Now that you know how to wash car wax rags, it should be easier for you to keep them clean and well-maintained for repeated use. Since car wax rags are made from different fabrics, they have varied washing requirements.

For example, polish rags are the best hand washed with mild soap and water. Wax applicator pads and bonnets are made from a foam material and require gentle washing. In the case of microfiber towels, keep pre-soak and clean in warm water for hand-washing or at the lowest temperature for machine washing.

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