We should never underestimate the value of drying our cars after washing, rain or an accidental encounter with a sprinkler. Water contains traces of minerals such as salt, iron and calcium. When left behind during evaporation, these contaminants begin to seep into the exterior of your car, eating away at its clear coat. You will save yourself a lot of time and money by drying your car immediately after it catches water.
Although many products exist on the market for drying cars, a chamois towel remains the most efficient, cost-effective and safe product for drying a vehicle today. A good-quality chamois towel is very durable and highly absorbent, has lots of nap, and is extremely soft. These towels came into use in the early 1700s and have remained the benchmark by which every other drying towel is measured.
While chamois towels are mostly used to shine cars and boats, they can also be used to dry other surfaces in the home. Their high-absorbent nature makes them ideal for use in place of kitchen towels
or sponges to clean several messes around the home. Others, such as The Water Gear Chamois Towels
, can be used to dry oneself after a fun-filled water sport such as swimming or diving, or dry your pet after a bath.
Made of sheepskin, chamois cloths are the softest on the market. These towels will dry a surface without scratching or marring its finish. They not only trap water, grit, and dirt, but also release the abrasive materials when rinsed afterward. So, now that you have decided to ditch the old rag you have been using to dry your car for a good-quality chamois, how do you choose the towel that will do the job right and last you years to come? To know which towel is the best, examine it for consistency in the material, and check for any spots or discoloration. Note that you can choose between natural and synthetic fabrics! While it’s important to consider your budget, be prepared to spend a little extra for a top-quality product.
It is also important to consider the size of towel you want. A large "shammy" will come in handy if you have a large area to clean. For instance, a 25-inch x 25-inch towel will make it easy and quick to clean a car. A smaller cloth will, however, be ideal for wiping the inside of a vehicle, such as the dashboard.
Just like bathroom towels
, chamois towels come in a variety of colors for you to choose from according to your style and preference. Let’s now go into detail on what you should consider when buying the best chamois towel before jumping straight to our picks.
With all the tasks that a single chamois towel can perform around the home, you will be happy to note that these pieces of cloth will not cost you much. With between around $8 and $20, you can get a good-quality "shammy" that will serve you for a very long time. The prices are bound to go higher depending on the material, level of absorbency, and softness of the towel. Natural chamois towels are usually more expensive than microfiber chamois towels because the former dry with less discoloration. Beware of very cheap chamois towels, as they may not perform the required tasks optimally.
Here are some features to look out for in a high-performance chamois towel:
- High Absorbency – The more permeable a chamois towel is, the fewer the passes required for drying. Fewer passes means there will be less chance of generating swirl marks from the grit missed during the washing process. What’s more, a more absorbent towel speeds up the process of drying, saving you time and energy.
- Releases Dirt Efficiently – The ability to pull out dirt and trap it in the chamois towel is the most powerful way of protecting your vehicle. But the towel is bound to become dirty or saturated, and rinsing it is essential at this point. The best chamois towel should also be able to release the trapped dirt when rinsed. Towels that cannot release the grit effectively will eventually become abrasive during the drying exercise and damage the paint.
- Soft or Non-Abrasive Fabric – A good drying towel is one made of soft, non-abrasive material. This is an essential attribute, as it helps protect the paint.
- Quantity of Nap /Pile – Nap, also known as pile, refers to small soft fibers that stick out from the fabric. These fibers make it easy for any dirt to be removed from a surface and be pushed up into the towel, preventing the undesirable swirl marks from marring the paint. So, the amount of nap found in a cloth determines the amount of grit it can pull away from a surface.
Construction and Design
There are basically two types of chamois – natural ones and artificial or synthetic ones.
- Natural chamois is made of sheepskin and absorbs a high volume of water, making it ideal for drying things such as automobiles. Natural chamois is very soft and non-abrasive, which makes it perfect for cleaning painted surfaces that are easily scratched. The fact that natural chamois is made of leather gives it more NAP, hence the ability to suck in all the dirt and grit from your paint. The downside to leather chamois towels is that they are very expensive compared to synthetic ones.
- Synthetic chamois, on the other hand, is made of PVA, natural cotton, or wheat starch. While these chamois towels work in the same way as natural ones to absorb moisture from surfaces, they lack NAP, so the dirt that is trapped between the paint and the synthetic chamois can mar your paint. Synthetic chamois is, however, inexpensive compared to the natural chamois.
Performance and Ease of Use
As discussed above, chamois towels are ideal for various tasks. These towels can quickly make any surface clean and dry at the same time, and they are incredibly easy to use. Natural chamois towels are never to be put in a washing machine or dryer, as this can result in the shredding of the material or bring spots and discoloration to the surface. These towels should be hand washed with a mild detergent and gently rinsed in cold water. Hang in the sun to dry!
A natural chamois is durable and might last you several uses, but it is prudent to replace it when you start noticing fuzz or tiny pieces of fabric left behind. Your towel might also begin to draw in less water after several uses due to the accumulation of wax or polish in the pores of the fabric. Unlike natural chamois towels, synthetic chamois towels can be machine washed to help them last longer.
Chamois towels are often listed as car-washing towels, car-cleaning towels, or car-drying towels. While you may feel that it is not a must to use a chamois to clean your car, it really helps to remove the water that might have left marks on a newly cleaned car.
We looked at well-known cleaning brands as well as specialty towel and shammy brands during our search. We chose brands that are known to use high-quality materials and effective designs. We've chosen a variety of sizes and combo packs so you can find an option that fits your needs.
Pay attention to customer ratings to get an idea of how effective different chamois towels can be. Consider how long you want your chamois cloth to last, and whether you want to grab a value pack while you're at it for added savings. Whether you're looking for a new cleaning solution or a great way to buff your vehicles, we hope we’ve helped you find the best chamois towel for your needs. But if we haven’t, these brands have a variety of options for you.