High-Performance Towels For Garage And Shop

Whether you’re doing engine work, cleaning, or polishing, there’s a towel for the job.

Working on your motorcycle can be a dirty business because virtually the entire machine is exposed to road grit, water, dust, and more while in use. And if you’ve got an older machine, you can count various oil leaks and misting as additional contamination. Even if you’re working on a clean machine, removing side covers, oil-filter covers, and the like inevitably require cleaning the surrounding surfaces and your tools. While it’s true that old shirts, socks, and undies can serve as disposable shop towels, not all of them soak up oil as well as dedicated towels. And furthermore, when it comes to cleaning, polishing, or waxing plastics and paint, a T-shirt’s reluctance to encapsulate small abrasive particulates can fine-scratch finishes. Enter dedicated shop towels, available both as disposable paper, cotton, and, our favorite, washable microfiber. Here are three options.

Not Your Kitchen Rag

Although pricey compared to common household options, this product outperforms them by far.Amazon

These highly absorbent paper shop towels give and give some more, far after common kitchen paper towels have thrown in, well, the towel. They'll soak up oil and brake fluid, gasoline, coolant, and water—you name it. And further, they're tough enough to scrub with and will even survive rinsing, wringing out, and drying for later reuse. Bottom line, the Scott Shop Towels are one standard every garage should have.

Gas Jock Go-To

Check the oil, clean up spills, wipe your hands, wash up, and then do it all again with this rag.Amazon

Remember the classic service-station gas jock who'd fill the tank and check the oil level and tire pressures all for free? Oh wait, that was 50 years ago. But one thing remains the same today: his classic red shop towel. Every self-respecting gas jock reported for duty with one hanging from the hip pocket back then, and they're still valued members of the complete garage now. Rugged, absorbent, and washable, well, they've got it all.


Boasting 110,000 fibers per square inch, these are said to absorb eight times their weight in water.Amazon

In certain key ways, microfiber towels are the best thing out there for a multidisciplinary garage work. They soak up oil and grease, can be used for fine polishing and waxing without damaging paintwork, and can be laundered over and over again. One of their advantages for paint care is their porous design, which traps microscopic grit instead of wiping it across the surface. Measuring 12 x 16 inches, Zwipes Microfiber Cleaning Cloths are said to be lint free, leaving a more perfect finish behind.