Forget the sponge your dad used to wash his Cortina or Cavalier – if you want to minimize scratches and paint swirls, a glove is the way to go.
Unlike a sponge with its flat, hard surfaces, a soaked microfiber can loosen body dust and hold it in its strands away from the paint until it is rinsed off. With the grain trapped in the fibers, there is less chance of it being dragged over the varnish, creating swirls and tiny scratches that take away the gloss of the paint.
So whether you are using the two-bucket method or a grain filter in the bucket, a glove is the ideal choice. There are a range of options from sanitary napkins to gloves, but which one deserves a place in your wash bucket? We shot nine to find out.
How we tested them
We extended our net this time around, with protections, gloves and mittens alongside conventional mittens. Our test checked all of them for fit, but the focus was on how well they used the car.
We rated how well they absorbed water by weighing each one dry and then after being soaked and drained for 30 seconds. Instructions have been evaluated, including washing and maintenance, and we have factored in costs from manufacturers or online sources.
The Armor All wins this test, being good to use and easy on the pocket. Captain Crevice, very practical to use, by Dodo Juice is second, followed by the super absorbent Alchemy tampon.
- Armor All 2-in-1 Microfiber Wash Mitt
- Dodo Jus Captain Crevasse
- Alchemy Wash Buffer
Armor All 2-in-1 Microfiber Wash Mitt
When Armor All declared that our previous serial winner of its Kent line was no longer available, we feared that a large glove might be lost. We didn’t have to worry, as we had a hard time distinguishing this Armor All 2 in 1 version from the previous champion. It’s snug and the seam between the middle finger means it doesn’t need to be grabbed like rivals. Decent absorption, long protective noodles, and a crunchy Amazon price seal the victory.
Dodo Jus Captain Crevasse
Retailer favorite Dodo Juice has renewed its line over the past year or so, and one of the beneficiaries is Captain Crevice, which is now “full”. Designed for use on wheels, it is also excellent for grilles and similar areas on the car. The super tight fit means it doesn’t need to be held, making it a snap to wipe down larger areas of the body. It absorbs better than many of its conventional competitors and its ease of use secures it second place here.
Alchemy Wash Buffer
Alchemy claims that this wash pad contains an “incredible amount of water” and it’s true because the microfiber-wrapped sponge easily passed our water test. It offers a lot of protection, thanks to the mid-length microfibers having plenty of space to contain the grain. One downside is that it is heavy to use straight out of the bucket, but it gets easier despite good water retention. It does need a grip, but it’s easier than a loose glove and wipes clean quickly and easily. Another downside is that areas like grids need some other solution.
Amazon Basics Luxury Microfiber Washcloth
This is not the first time that we have been surprised by an Amazon Basics offer. While it looks a lot like any other noodle glove, it had a serious thirst and was second best for absorption, even if it wasn’t by the seven times its own weight claimed by Amazon. Water retention and long noodles ensure good protection. The cover was a bit oversized so you had to grab it, and there was some smear on the dirty panels. Instructions were lacking, but it works well and makes even more sense with two currently on offer for £ 10.80.
This glove has a chenille hair similar to the Alchemy Wash Pad (above), but it couldn’t match the mighty thirst of its rival. This made Kermitt easier to use at first, but the pouch and cuff were loose, which made it difficult to maintain after a while. The pouch is well padded with good finger protection, while the hanging loop is a neat touch and the machine washing instructions were clear. It’s a decent glove, but other products are easier to control and absorb more water, providing more safety.
Gtechniq WM2 microfiber wash mitt
There’s not much to choose from between this red and white glove and the green Mammoth Kermitt. The cuff is a bit tighter but still loose, and the pocket is a similar size, so the glove will move around unless your fingers are spread. There is a strap on the leading edge but grabbing it makes a fist, reducing the contact area. The pouch is much softer than Kermitt’s, which makes it more difficult to control. Good instructions and decent water absorption count in its favor.
Adam’s Polishes 10 “Wash Buffer
Adam’s Polishes takes a different approach from an Alchemy wash buffer. Instead of a sponge wrapped in microfibers, you get a synthetic wool pad, which promises to deliver 20% more soap to the car than conventional mittens. Our water test saw little evidence of this, but the long fibers allowed for good kernel retention. It is easy to work in tight spaces like the grid, but on larger areas it must be held firmly, as care must be taken not to drop it.
Sonax microfiber wash mitt
Coming from Amazon, this Sonax design takes a different approach to car washing – a mitt or glove as the company calls it. On the plus side, this was one of the best to use, with a tight fit and no chance of twisting or needing to be held. The instructions are also good, but we have doubts about the level of protection offered. The coat is dense and short, and the grain was clearly visible on the surface, and its water absorption was lowest when tested. While it’s good to use, you need a strict and frequent rinsing routine.