How do I Choose the Best Chamois Towel?

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  • Written By: Ellen Dean
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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A chamois towel comes from the skin of a chamois, which is a variety of mountain sheep, though it can also be made from other varieties of sheep skin or lamb or from a synthetic blend that replicates the softness and absorbency of animal skin. Chamois towels are often used to shine boats and cars because they quickly dry water, are highly absorbent and simultaneously buff the enamel paint to a high shine. To choose the best chamois towel, decide whether you want a natural or synthetic towel, and consider what it is that you will be using it on most often. Always examine the chamois towel for consistency in the fabric, and check for discoloration or spots. Keep your budget in mind, but expect to pay a higher price for a top-quality chamois towel.

Purchasing a large chamois towel is necessary if you need to use it on a large area in a short amount of time. A towel that is 25 inches by 25 inches (63.5 cm by 63.5 cm) can help make the task of shining a car quick and easy. For cleaning the inside of a car, such as the dashboard, a smaller cloth might be easier to control and to reach into tight spots. Smaller cloths also are useful when cleaning things such as bicycle frames, sports equipment and motorbikes. A small chamois towel is also handy to keep in your glove compartment for quick touch-ups in the parking lot.


Natural chamois towels should never be washed in a washing machine or thrown in a dryer, which can result in shredding the material or can create discoloration and spots on the surface. Instead, wash the chamois towel by hand, using mild detergent and gently rinsing it with cold water. Hang it in the sunlight to dry. A natural chamois towel typically lasts for several uses, and you might begin to notice your towel leaving fuzz or tiny bits of material behind when it is ready to be replaced. After several uses, your towel also might begin to absorb less water because of polish or wax buildup in the pores of the material.

An artificial chamois towel is made from manmade fibers. In contrast with an animal skin, a synthetic towel can be cleaned in a washing machine to help it last longer. Microfiber chamois towels also usually are less expensive than natural cloths. Although synthetic towels might last longer and save money, many users prefer natural cloths that dry with fewer discoloration spots than the synthetic towels.

Chamois towels can be purchased at a number of outlets, from high-end car retailers to discount stores on the Internet. They are often found listed as car drying towels, car cleaning towels or car washing towels. Though it is not necessary to use a chamois to clean a car, it does help to remove water that could leave spots on the finish of a newly cleaned automobile. It might be helpful to first use a squeegee to remove excess water before buffing the car with a chamois towel.


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