Microfiber Towels: Care, Types, and GSM Explained

By Byron Yoder

Microfiber towels have significantly impacted how we clean and maintain various substrates, from sunglasses and television to the paint on your aircraft. Microfibers provide a great deal of absorbency, durability, and versatility, and when paired correctly with different jobs, they can significantly reduce your workload. It can be confusing what towel to use, when, where, and why. In this article, we will cover various types, the importance and meaning of GSM (grams per square meter), and provide suggestions and tips on how we use them in our everyday business.

Care for Microfiber Towels:

All items in this world require some care or maintenance. To ensure the longevity and effectiveness of microfiber towels, follow these guidelines to keep your towels clean and fresh and get the most bang for your buck.


Microfiber towels should be washed separately from other fabrics to avoid any transfer. There are solutions to cleaning your microfibers and getting the most out of them.

Option A: Look for neutral-scented, non-colored, zero phosphate wash soap, often natural or organic label. These can be purchased at your local supercenter or online.

Option B: Look online for specialized microfiber cleaner packets. These come at a slightly higher cost per unit, provide guidelines for soiling level and dilution ratio, and provide the best opportunity to rejuvenate the towel.

Pro tip: Check your towels after every drying cycle; look for twigs, dirt, and oil stains. You will be surprised at the number of debris you find. Suppose you see something; toss the towel or take the time to pluck the contamination out. If you are in question, dispose of the towel. For 25 cents, it can cost you a detail when repeated.   If a towel is used to wipe oil/dirt, have a presoak bucket with water, a microfiber towel cleaner bucket, or a small amount of all-purpose cleaner mixed in, then transfer directly to the washing machine. A second rinse and deep-water wash on your washer set will help keep the washer clean for the following washes. Some prefer to operate another wash cycle after the towels to ensure no transfer or residue will occur. We like to throw the towels away for our details, not to provide the slightest opportunity for contamination.


Air drying is the best method for microfiber towels. Excessive heat can damage the fibers, become stiff, and lead to scratches/marks in your paint and windows. If using a dryer, opt for low or no heat settings. Do not use drier sheets as they can leave residue/protectant on the towel, making it lose its absorbency and may repel future protective coatings or dirt, leading to more scrubbing.


Fold or roll the microfiber towels neatly and store them in a clean, dry place like a clear plastic container or tub. Avoid keeping them with other materials and rags as the fibers, when placed with other fabrics, can absorb old chemicals that may be left in other rags; remember that fabrics have different hardness, and chemicals will consistently wick from hard to soft.

GSM (Grams per Square Meter)

GSM is a unit of measurement used to determine the density and thickness of microfiber towels. This can usually be found on the back of the packaging. Understanding GSM is crucial when selecting the appropriate towel for specific tasks:

Types of Microfiber Towels:

Microfiber towels come in various types, each designed for specific tasks. Understanding the different types will help you choose the right towel for your needs:

All-Purpose Towels:

These versatile towels suit various cleaning tasks, from dusting surfaces to wiping down countertops. They are generally lightweight and have a medium softness, making them ideal for everyday use.

Glass and Mirror Towels:

Explicitly designed for streak-free cleaning of glass, mirrors, and windows, these towels have a tight weave and a smooth texture. They effectively remove fingerprints, smudges, and lint, leaving surfaces crystal clear. They often have very tight weave and nap. We prefer to use high GSM towels as there is less chance of scratching and more space to pick up dirt.

3. Drying Towels:

A high GSM is generally around 800, Although 400 and above is considered high GSM. Drying towels are perfect for absorbing large amounts of water quickly. Dreadnought purchased is one of our favorites for these types of towels. The best part about these sizes, usually 20 inches by 20 inches, requires you to drag the towel over the surface one time and will collect 95% of the water. The downside is that these towels come at a more significant price point and can range from $20-30 dollars per towel.

1. Low GSM (Less than 300):

Towels with a low GSM are lighter, thinner, and more suitable for delicate tasks. They are commonly used for light dusting or electronics cleaning. Your small towel included with your new sunglasses or used to wipe your navigation screens is around this range or can be a combination of microfiber and suede.

2. Medium GSM (300-400):

Towels with a medium GSM offer a balanced combination of thickness and versatility. They are suitable for cleaning, drying dishes, or wiping down surfaces. You can get these at your local supercenter or order online. Purchasing in bulk will save expenses.

3. High GSM (400+):

Towels with a high GSM are thicker, heavier, and offer superior absorbency. They are ideal for absorbing large amounts of water, drying vehicles, or deep cleaning tasks that require maximum absorption. High GSM towels are the best for that final dry, are generally more significant, and have large fibers.


Microfiber towels have become a valuable cleaning tool due to their exceptional absorbency, durability, and versatility. By following proper care techniques, including washing, drying, storage and presoak, you can extend the lifespan and effectiveness of your microfiber towels. If there is oil residue/soap or dirt on previously washed towels and use that same towel to apply wax or sealant, the contamination in the microfiber from the previous could counteract or spread the protectant inaccurately, resulting in wasted time, expense, and product. The difference between .15 cents per towel and .30 cents does not make much difference when looking at the whole picture of labor, frustration, and replacement of parts.

Byron Yoder owns Frontline Detail, a veteran-owned aviation detailing, ceramic coating and industrial corrosion protection company. Byron’s experience is 15 years of detailing with certifications in aircraft detailing, ceramic coating and corrosion protection. Frontline Detail is based out of North Dakota. Please reach out to Frontline Detail at 701-739-6550 or email frontlinedetailnd@hotmail.com with any questions about your aircraft detailing needs. 

AerialFire Staff
AerialFire Staff
AerialFire Magazine strives to provide you with breaking aerial firefighting industry news and information.

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