Originally Posted by 3352G0
Maybe I need educating but I assume that direct contact with the paint is what causes swirls...at least with black paint which is more sensitive. Even when I used to dry with microfibre cloths after a lengthy wash, I noticed a few new swirls arose each time so I stopped touching the paint.
Pushing around dirt and other contamination on the surface is what creates swirls and other imperfections. The particles will create a dip or valley in your clear coat and under the proper lighting you see the infamous "swirl mark".
This is why I try to stress the importance of using the proper washing and drying tools and techniques. Without the safe and proper removal of contamination you will just be asking for swirls as this is typically the step that 70% or more of the swirls are created.
After washing, you would want to use a clay bar to truly remove as much contamination as possible. Using clay can remove both macro and microscopic contamination that typically would not be removed during the washing and drying phase.
Once your clear coat is free of contamination, you should not create any imperfections in your paint unless you are using a dirty removal towel, a contaminated applicator pad, too aggressive of an applicator pad without following up with a finer pad / polish combination.
It's the grinding of contamination into the surface that usually creates these swirls and contamination. This is why using a sponge is so harmful, because you are just pushing the dirt around the surface. A wash mitt on the other hand has a thicker pile to pull the contamination away from the surface, acting as a safer removal method for contamination.
Without using the proper washing and drying techniques, you will still have contamination on your surface and hence create swirls anytime you goto apply any product or use any towel on your vehicle if you continue to maintain your car the way you mentioned before.
Hope this helps clarify some things for you, please do not hesitate to ask any other questions, this is great information for anyone to read.