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Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
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Description: Designed to feel like cloth and work even better. Patented technology allows this thick, strong towel to absorb oil and water faster than rags or shop towels. Retains strength through harsh use, even when used with solvents.
Keywords: shop towel rag
Site Administrator
Posts: 5,325
Registered: October 2006
Location: NH

Site Administrator

Registered: October 2006
Location: NH
Posts: 5325
Review Date: Tue December 2, 2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Bottom line: not only are these Wypalls the "Crew Chiefs Choice" they're my choice for any of my automotive cleaning and wiping jobs.

by Hib Halverson,
Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
January 5, 2008

Seldom do we think about shop rags but, if one does pause to consider all those little mundane, taken-for-granted things which make our Corvette DIY service work easier, the unsung hero of dirty parts, greasy work benches and oil spills on the floor really should get more respect.

Several months ago, during my Saturday afternoon B&B (that's "Beer and Barcalounger) session with "NASCAR Scene" magazine, I came across an advertisement from Kimbrely-Clarke (the "Kleenex" people) for a new product called "Wypalls", a paper-based, disposable shop towel. Kimberly-Clark Professional was advertising this as the "Crew Chief's Choice" and, in the ad, there was Tony Eury Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr's famed Crew Chief staring down at me while he hand-modeled a "Wypall X80 Towel".

In a stunning example of how an association with NASCAR can successfully market products to unsuspecting race fans, I began to think more seriously about shop rags...uh, shop towels.

"Gosh darnit" I thought, "my shop rags are boring and low-tech. I've got technology everywhere else in the shop. It's time to go high-tech with towels."


Enough of the tongue-and-cheek approach.

Until I contacted the Kimberly-Clark Professional folks, I'd never considered using disposable paper towels for shop work. Oh sure, I'd sometimes used kitchen paper towels for cleaning windshields and a few other, light-duty wiping tasks but, generally, for any serious automotive work, for which ordinary paper towels were woefully inadequate, my wipes of choice were old t-shirts or cloth shop rags I bought by the bag at Costco or Home Depot. When the rags were too dirty or sopping wet with oil or gear lube, I'd toss them in a sealed can for later disposal at one of Los Angeles County's household hazardous waste disposal points.

Shop rags are problematic in a couple of ways. First, they're "old-tech" in that they're not all that absorbent. Secondly, if they're made of recycled material or are previously used then laundered for reuse, they may contain metallic residue lodged in their fibers. If you're using them to wipe down engine parts prior to assembly or to clean surfaces which will show scratches, the metallic residue can be problematic.

I decided to try Wypalls in place of any rags for four months, so I ordered a box--for some unknown reason K-C calls it a "Brag Box"--of 160 X80 Towels (PN 41041) which K-C says can replace 25-lbs of shop rags. When it arrived and I pulled one out and could see, right away, that they really weren't "paper" in the way most of us think of that substance. X80 Towels are made of a material Kimberly-Clark calls "Hydroknit" which is a composite of paper pulp and polypropylene. In a process called "hydro entanglement", water jets force paper fibers into a polypropylene base material. Since no glues or binders are used, Wypalls are safe and effective when used with solvents. The polypropylene base has an added benefit in that it has an affinity for oil and grease which further enhances a an X80 towel's ability to pick-up oily messes. All this makes one of these wipes highly absorbent, quite versatile and very strong. They're tough enough for the nasty, dirty jobs but actually soft enough for wiping your face and hands.

Do they work? Heck, yeah. I was actually surprised at how much better they are than rags. In fact, they are so absorbent that I'm using only a half to to a third the amount X80 Wypalls as I did shop rags. I don't generally use Wypalls for drying my face or hands but I did try them for that and they are, indeed soft enough to use on your skin.

This Hydroknit stuff is just what K-C claims it is are as far as strength goes, too. The X80 Towels are just as strong as a common, cloth shop rag, perhaps even stronger if the shop rags low quality or have been laundered and reused too many times.

Bottom line: not only are these Wypalls the "Crew Chiefs Choice" they're my choice for any of my automotive cleaning and wiping jobs.
There's more information at or at including streaming video explaining the product's strength, absorption and how its made. There is also information on where to purchase Wypall products. that I'm using these racing shop towels, I can mop up the beer I just spilled with the same wipes NASCAR crew chief Tony Eury Jr. uses. Is this a great country, or what?

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