40 Unique Ways to Use Your Microfiber Towel

40 Unique Ways to Use Your Microfiber Towel

February 04, 2019

We've already talked about why microfiber towels are amazing for travelers. They're easy, efficient, useful, and, above all else, affordable. Regardless if you're actually traveling or not, we still think the world of these awesome little accessories and would recommend them to anyone.

But have you taken the time to actually consider how much you can use these travel towels? Sure, they can clean up messes like no other and are great for drying off after swimming, showering, or sweating. Trust me when I say that these are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

You can use a microfiber towel for a myriad of scenarios! As an experienced backcountry hiker and oft-broke backpacker, I have come up with some pretty crazy uses for my own towel.

We are going to present to you 40 different ways you can use your microfiber cloth. Cleaning, detailing, make believin; you're about to bombarded with a ton of unique ideas.

So take a moment and check out our suggestions You may find them useful, you may just find them entertaining; either way, it'll be time well spent.

man walking with the best microfiber towel for travel

1. You just forded a river and want to dry your feet

Wet boots are seriously the worst on a hike. Nothing irks me more than walking for miles while my feet go squish every time I take a step.
Smart hikers take off their boots before crossing rivers. Having a good quick dry towel with you will help you dry your feet off quickly, so you can get on with the trek.


2. You need a quicker way of drying out your boots

Say you’re one of those dinguses who decides to wade through knee-high water in their boots, like they’re in Platoon or something. Way to go, Charlie Sheen - now you get to look forward to soggy socks for the rest of the trip.
If you do happen to get your boots wet, swallow your pride and dry them out. Stick your quick drying towels in them suckers and pray that expensive Gore-Tex kept most of the water out.


3. You need a headscarf

I usually pack a kaffir with me wherever I go, because they’re pretty damn useful. I remember one time though where I forgot my kaffir - it was a noteworthy event because I happened to be in the worst possible place to be without one, the Jordanian Desert. Smooth move, I know.
Luckily, I happened to have my travel towel with me. Couple of twists here, a few folds there, and, BOOM, I was able to make myself a headscarf to protect me from the sun. Best idea, ever.


4. You don’t want to bother with a beach towel

Why in the world would anyone have more than one type of towel, I ask you? Beaches towels, bathroom towels, face towels, kitchen towels; it never ends! Just invest in the best microfiber towel and use it for everything, including the beach. It’s durable enough to handle the sand, cleans easily, and will dry out in a snap.


5. Someone stole your hostel towel

Nothing is more annoying than getting a nice, clean, pressed towel from reception, only to have it stolen within hours. Most of the time, it’s an honest mistake, because no one can really distinguish those ubiquitous white pieces of cloth anyways.
Do yourself a favor and just have your own microfiber bath towel. If anyone claims its theirs, tell them they’re full of shit and then banhammer them to using the hostel’s repertoire.

microfiber cloth for hair after shower


6. You want to imagine you’re a matador

Pfff - getting in the ring with enraged bulls is so 19th century. Real toreadors can challenge any animal to a duel while using their own travel towel. Pigeons? Look up from that seed for a second and fight me! Squirrels? You don’t look so tough.
(Disclaimer: Please don’t play matador with elephants, lions, wild dogs, or anything ferocious-looking. Let’s not take this joke too far.)


7.You’ve broken your arm and need a sling

In all seriousness, getting hurt in the wilderness can be a serious problem. A broken bone can be a life or death situation at times and God forbid you’ve fractured something.
If you've broken or even dislocated your arm, it’s imperative that you keep it comfortable and resting in the proper position. Use a strong microfiber towel to rig up a sling - it could mean the difference between permanent damage and full recovery.


8. Or you’re bleeding profusely

You’d have to be gushing blood to justify using a microfiber towel as a bandage. If someone’s nicked an artery or has massive trauma, you’re going to need something sturdy and absorbent. Apply gauze first and then use a towel to secure it. NEVER use the towel as a gauze itself - who knows where it’s been or what it’s been used for.


9. You’re a real traveling bum and need an extra bag

Ever see those old cartoons where bums tie a handkerchief to a stick and put their personal items in it? That’s actually a great idea!
If you’re short on bags and need to wrap up a few extra items, use a quick drying towel. You’ll marvel at how well it works and organized your pack suddenly is.


10. You need an extra blanket

When you’re in the mountains and the temperature dips closer and closer to freezing, you’ll use anything to keep yourself warm at night. Bag liners, bottles filled with hot water, even dirty clothes have been among the items I’ve used to stay warm.
A microfiber towel is suitable source of extra warmth as well. Even if it’s not a down blanket, it’s still better than nothing. And in the mountains, a little extra comfort can mean all the difference.

using a towel as a blanket in patagonia


11. You’re going on a picnic

Like the point before, you can wrap up food in a good travel towel and then stick it in a basket or backpack. If your microfiber towel is large enough, you can even lay it on the grass like a blanket. While it may not be as classy as that Hot Topic tapestry that the couple lying next to you has, at least yours cleans up easy. Wine, jam, honey; good luck getting that out your Bob Marley tapestry.


12. You need to protect your food from birds

While you're making fun of that couple picnicking next to you, the birds are planning their attack. Those guys can be downright nasty and if you’re near the beach, OH, good luck with the seagulls.
Bring an extra travel towel with you to cover your food. The best microfiber towels will be durable enough to repel even the most persistent avians. No guarantees if you’re attacked by a bald eagle though.


13. It’s laundry day and your only pair of underwear is drying

We’ve all been there - you’ve been backpacking in Brazil for 2 weeks and been using the same pair of underwear the entire time. Someone has finally forced you to clean your garments and now your glorious streak has come to an end. Since ALL of your clothes are probably being washed, you now have no choice but to use your microfiber bath towel as a loincloth. Hope you're enjoying the show, everyone.


14. Just spilled coffee in the car

Everyone should have a dedicated microfiber towel for their car for this exact reason. Coffee stains happen all the time and, when left untreated, just have a really unappetizing, peculiar odor.
Instead of ignoring a stain when it happens, just put a cloth down and soak that spill up. It takes two seconds, you can wash the towel out later, and your car will smell much more pleasant.


15. You need to dry off after swimming in an alpine lake

I love taking microfiber cloths with me while backpacking because they’re light, strong, and dry out quickly. More than these though, I love jumping into random alpine lakes that may be absolutely freezing cold!
If I’ve made a huge mistake and jumped into a glacial pond, I’m going to need to dry off quick. Thankfully, I’ve got my microfiber cloth for my hair, body, whatever, or else I’d be in real bad shape.

microfiber cloth for hair after swimming in lake

16. You’re at a festival and you don’t want to sit on the ground

You ever try to find a perfect spot of grass at the Fields Festival or the Gorge Amphitheater? It’s no easy feat, my friends. Strewn everywhere are bits of trash, empty water bottle, drug baggies, and all of that ish is gross.
But you’re smart and brought your own microfiber bath towel with. All you need to do is lay it on the ground and now you’ve got yourself a throne fit for a lord.

17. You’re at a festival and your friend just puked everywhere

Just when you found the perfect spot to watch your favorite band, your friend starts to get that sickly look on their face. They just killed the bottle of Smirnoff, their face has gone pale, and now they’re doing the 1000-mile stare. Yep, here it comes - the spew.
Now you gotta get up, use your microfiber towel to wipe the yack of their face and get them back to the tent. Good thing these travel towels clean up so easily.

18. If you want to pick something hot up, but just be careful

You can use your travel towel to pick up hot objects, but you must be very mindful of their temperatures. While most microfiber clothes can handle a reasonable amount of heat, too much will cause them to melt quickly.
Thankfully, the best microfiber towels are treated with flame retardant chemicals and are more adept at managing heat. I use the Active Roots cloth when I’m backcountry cooking and, so far, have had no problems.

19. God forbid you forgot toilet paper

We all get desperate sometimes and do shameful things - let’s just be honest. If the absolute worst should happen and you have no way of cleaning yourself after a particularly nasty session, well, I guess there’s no choice. You can do your best to clean your quick dry towel after soiling it but you may just want to get a new one. They are, after all, pretty cheap these days.


20. It’s Halloween

If you’re one of those people, like me, who waits until the very last second to throw together a Halloween costume then you know the struggle. Having to work with only household items can be a bit frustrating, but you’re a creative type - you can make anything with a little effort!
Grab that microfiber bath towel and use your imagination! With a simple cloth, you could be anything from Mr. Hanky to the Old Spice spokesman to Noob-Noob from Rick and Morty. You’ll have a lot more fun with a costume you made yourself; more than these turds especially, who clearly over thought this holiday.

rick and morty noob noob costume with a towel


21. You need a mat for screws and whatnot

If you’ve ever taken apart something that involves a lot of screws or pieces while sitting at a table, then you know those things can easily roll off. Any bits and pieces that do fall of the table are essentially banned to the deepest levels of rubbish hell and are probably lost forever.
If you place a microfiber cloth down though, there will be enough friction to stop a lot of things from moving around. You’re welcome, aspiring watchmakers.


22. You just found a baby puppy and it’s cold

Oh my god! The poor thing! That puppy has just been abandoned there in the gutter and now it’s getting soaking wet! If someone doesn’t wrap it up soon and get it out of the cold, it could have very little time to live.
If you find yourself in this situation, use your microfiber towel for cleaning this lost puppy and then get it to somewhere warm. In the meantime, wrap it up tight and hold it close to your body. You may have just saved the poor creature’s life and, with proper attention, maybe it can grow into a happy dog.


23. Something is really noxious

If you’ve ever traveled in India or China then you know that the air quality can be very, very unhealthy. You could be walking around a town, city, or even in a national park, and be choking on particulates in the air.
If you travel with a microfiber towel, you can use it to cover your mouth when the atmosphere is unbearable. Granted, microfibers are not as breathable as cotton, but, in a pinch, they can still be helpful.

24. You’re abandoned on an island

Let’s just say you’re Tom Hanks and have been marooned on a desert island somewhere - rations are low, your sanity is slipping, and everything smells like piss.
When you’re ready to blow this popsicle stand, you can use that sturdy towel to help build a sail or even a giant SOS sign in the sand. When a ship comes close enough, you can use that cloth to get their attention even, though a bright light or fire would probably work better.

25. Need to wax the car

Some of the first synthetic towels were used for drying cars. Their excellent absorptive qualities made them ideal for wiping down vehicles after they were cleaned. Who needs a professional service when you have your own microfiber towel for detailing your sweet ride? Besides, taking the car to a cleaner everytime is a huge waste of cash.

microfiber towel for car detailing

26. You want to be the Karate Kid

You want extra points while wiping down the car? Grab that microfiber cloth and tie it around your head like Ralph Macchio. Better yet - grab the jukebox and play some Joe Esposito while you’re at it. Just don’t start doing the crane move - that just too much, man.

27. You need to do the dishes

You just met the coolest group of backpackers in your hostel and you’ve all decided to make dinner together that night. The German makes schnitzel, the Englishman brings beer, the Australian brings wine - wow, this is going to be a shit show actually.
3 hours later and everyone is drunk as a skunk and you’re left with all of the dishes. Sweet guys! Luckily, you have a responsible friend and both of you get to cleaning. You guys also have your microfiber clothes, which will make quick work of dirty dishes and countertops. Bang it out and then hang your towel up triumphantly to dry.

28. You can even mop the floor

This is one of the tricks that is so obvious that it’s brilliant. Instead of having a dedicated mop, just grab a flat broom and wrap it with a microfiber cloth for cleaning the floor. All you need is a bucket of soapy water and, BOOM, you’re in business. A lot of cultures actually do this habitually, my Italian girlfriend included.
So skip the mop and Swiffer pads and just use this cleaning hack, as the rest of the world does. In an ingenious method and just as effective.


29. You need a pillow

For those who go wilderness backpacking often, one the things they miss the most is their comfy pillow. Obviously, you can’t pack that goose-feather monster with you when you have 20+ miles to walk, so you’re going to have resort to others means. While you can certainly pack something like a camping pillow, I find that using a combination of my clothes and a microfiber towel works very well.
The key is to roll the towel/clothes just right - too loose and the pillow falls apart, too tight and the pillow is uncomfortable. Practice your rolling and, eventually, you’ll get it just right.


30. You need a yoga mat

Yoga mats are super effective at what they do, but they can be a bit of a pain to carry around. When rolled up, they’re rigid, bulky, and may even require extra accessories.
Why not just use your travel towel? They’re large, durable, and are super easy to clean up. You won’t have to worry about packing the towel up either - you can just toss in your backpack and get on with your business.

using a microfiber towel for yoga

31. You need padding for sending a package home

Moving is expensive enough (trust me, I’ve done it way too many times), but it’s even worse after you factor in the costs of shipping and handling. To save on packing materials, use randoms clothes and towels to create padding for your valuables. Microfiber cloths work just as well as any other type of bath or beach towel and I’ve never had problems while using them.


32. You need a pair of shoes NOW

Maybe you want to enter a temple and you can’t wear your boots. Perhaps you just cleaned the house and don’t want to dirty it. Worst of all you don’t own any slippers. Whatever the reason, you need to improvise something quick and clean to wear on your feet.
You can totally wrap your feet in little microfiber towels if you like! That way, you can keep both them and the floors clean at the same time. If you feel the need to slide on the floor like Tom Cruise in Risky Business, then, by all means, go for it.

33. You’re the type sweats a lot while exercising

Maybe that yoga sesh was a little more intense than usual. Your teacher decided to bust all of the advanced Vinyasa techniques and now you’re covered in perspiration.
Use your microfiber towel to clean yourself and the area around before leaving. You wouldn’t want to catch a chill outside and no one enjoys wallowing in a pool of your sweat after you’ve finished either.

34. You like to be blindfolded

We’re just going to assume you’re going to a pinata party or you really like that new Bird Box Netflix show. Both of these are great instances where your microfiber towel could get a little extra use covering your eyes. If you’re using it for something a little more naughty; well, at least you’ll have something to clean up the mess afterward.


35. Maybe you’re a messy eater

I CANNOT eat spaghetti without getting something on my brand new shirt. As hard as I try, I always end up with some sort of spot or stain on my fresh button-up and it’s just demoralizing. I’ve actually reached the point now where I use a bib.
If you’re backpacking somewhere and have just ordered a fresh and messy looking dish, whip out that microfiber cloth and use it to protect your clothes. You may get some funny looks but it’s better than walking around looking like a bum who just went swimming in the trash.

messy eater microfiber towel for cleaning

36. You like to snap people with a towel

If you like to snap people in the rear with a wet towel, let me just say that you can go explicitly screw yourself. Snap me with your towel and I will come at you with all the fury of Um Bak. This microfiber towel is mighty and I swear there will be no mercy for you, vile offensor!


37. You need a gag

We’re not asking questions - you do you.

38. You need extra privacy

Oh god, those two backpackers who have been eying each other are finally making the move tonight. The dorm is going to be a rocking and no one wants to be caught up in the shockwave.
Use your travel towel to erect a little barrier in front of your face so at least you won’t have to watch them get down. Just cover your ears and rock yourself to sleep - it’ll all be over soon.


39. You need to blow your nose

After all the weird suggestions that have been made in this article, I feel like this is probably one of the tamer ones by now. Yet, even something as commonplace as blowing your nose can be a huge ordeal - some people just have to have the right tissue or do it in the sanctity of privacy. Just do the damn thing in a microfibre cloth and wash the nastiness out later. Our grandfathers used to always have handkerchiefs; why can’t we?


40. Want to donate to charity

We believe that, as travelers, we are a fortunate bunch and that it’s necessary to support underprivileged communities. For every towel sold, we donate a portion of the sale to the Elephant Conservation Center in Luang Prabang, Laos.
While we do enjoy providing people with the best possible microfiber towel, our greatest joy is knowing that our business can empower others. Being good at what we do is awesome, but helping others to be even better is the most satisfying of all.

active roots elephant charity

Brass tacks - Why Everyone Should Have a Microfiber Towel

In all seriousness, there are a lot of really good reasons to invest in a microfiber towel. Even if you just glossed over the 40 ideas listed above, then you probably already have a good idea. At the end of the day, microfiber towels are useful, durable, and, above all else, affordable.
For those who are still on the fence or who want more direct answers (beyond those I’ve already provided) here is a quick review of why you need a good microfiber towel.

Microfiber Towels are Extremely Useful

We’ve just given 40 examples why these quick dry towels are awesome. If someone needed any more proof of how much these little accessories can do, then I can only imagine how demanding their life must be.
Quick dry towels absorb moisture extremely well, dry out quickly, and come in all kinds of colors and sizes. They are suitable for all sorts of procedures, from drying off a simple dish to conducting emergency first aid in the field.
Ultimately, a towel is a towel so it had better soak up water well and dry out relatively quick. Microfiber does both of these things better than cotton - it will absorb liquids much quicker than cotton and will dry out in about half the amount of time. So while some people are struggling to pack away and deal with their wet towels, you’ll be set because your microfiber one is already dry.

manys uses of a good microfiber towel
One of the best things about microfiber cloths are that they’re far more portable than conventional cotton ones. Cotton towels are thicker and more fibrous and, as such, will take up a lot of room - room that you could be using for more enjoyable things like clothes or a hammock.
Microfiber towels are much thinner and can be rolled up to the size of a soda can or smaller. For those who need the most room possible for packing, microfiber is the clear winner.
Whether you need a microfiber towel for detailing your car or for all of your travel needs, makes no difference - these handy tools can go anywhere and do just about anything. They’re one of the most used items in my own bag and, honestly, I wouldn’t go anywhere without one.

They’re strong

Microfiber towels can take a beating. I’ve gone backpacking, trekking, running, climbing, with one of these towels and never once has one of them torn. You’ll be tempted to run these towels through a gauntlet of trials and to take them to their absolute limits. If anything, I have to replace these because they’re stolen so often by jealous bystanders!
Some synthetic materials have a tendency to retain offensive odors, but if you invest in a higher quality towel then this less of a problem. The best microfiber towels are made from antimicrobial materials and, as such, don’t smell as bad. Our own Active Roots towel is made to be resistant to bacteria so you won’t have to worry about throwing it away prematurely.
If you’ve really done a number on your towel and it looks like a grease rag, then, good news, cleaning them is a very straightforward process. Cleaning microfiber is just as easy as a regular towel and they’ll maintain their usefulness well after the hundredth wash. Just be sure to hang dry it or to use the “low-heat” or “tumble setting” when using a dryer - high temps can damage microfiber cloths.

solid construction of microfiber cloth
We would be remiss to say that microfiber materials are perfect though. Their biggest weakness is that they are not very resistant to extreme heat (when compared to cotton, at least). When exposed to extreme temperatures or an open flame, microfiber will actually melt - quite quickly - and can shrivel in your hands.
Higher-quality towels are better at handling heat and come closer to matching the flame retardant properties of cotton. Honestly, I’ve grabbed everything from pots filled boiling water to hot rocks with my Active Roots towel and never had a problem. I don’t know how well the towel would put out a fire, but I have other measures for such a situation.

Best of all, they’re cheap

Even if you should ruin, destroy, lose, or just need an extra, microfibers towels will always be affordable. You should never pay more than $20 for a large towel and $10 for a medium-sized one. A lot of these towels come bundled up in packages and include multiple sizes for a discounted rate.
Towels come in all colors and sizes! You could own a set of small microfiber towels for cleaning the car, a medium one for the gym, and a larger one for traveling with. For A-types, you could even color-code each towel based upon its purpose - red could be for the kitchen, grey for the gym, and green for camping. Regardless of how many and what kind of towels you want, you’ll find the price is almost always reasonable.
Again, investing in the best microfiber towel doesn’t require a huge sum of money. For the same price as a couple of beers, you can own something that will make your life a little bit easier. Messes will seem less intimidating, traveling will become a little less complicated, and unexpected situations will be more manageable. Who knows; you may find a use for your towel that even we didn’t think of.

different shapes and sizes of microfiber towels

Final Thoughts

There you have them folks! 40 different ways to use your microfiber cloth! Not all of these may be relevant to you (were sure not everyone likes to be blindfolded…) but it just goes to show how useful these tools can be.

Regardless of how you intend to use your towel, you should always find a lot of use in it. Whether you are backpacking in the wildernesses of Africa or just getting your car ready for a hot date, you'll find a way to take advantage of your towel.

So make the move and go buy yourself a microfiber cloth. Play with it, love it, and find new ways to make it useful. If you discover a new way to utilize your towel, please send us an email! Let's make the most epic handbook for towels, ever!

active roots best microfiber towel
Disclaimer: The author is no way a certified medic, detailer, or Matador. He is a professional guide and a very competent outdoorsman who has, through trial and error, discovered some pretty uses for his gear. Please understand that while some of the ideas listed in this article are a little ridiculous, most are serious. Please do not use your towel for anything that may seriously put your life in danger.

Check out our other articles for more gear-related inspiration!

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