Chamois Cloth vs. Microfiber Cloth: Which Is Better For Car Detailing?

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When it comes to car cleaning and auto detailing, having towels on hand is super important. Its significance to your success might be the reason why the chamois vs. microfiber towel debate has such a huge following in the auto world.

You’ll need all the help you can get when washing, drying and applying products on your car’s surface so towels might easily be the most vital tool you would need to get.

So, whether you’re for chamois cloth or firmly believe in the microfiber madness happening now, having a high-quality car drying towel is a must!


What is a Chamois Towel? Read on to Find Out!

For a long time now, the chamois towel has been used for various cleaning tasks because of its soft and quick dry properties. The fact that the original chamois is also a naturally renewable resource made it a popular choice as a towel.

It comes as no surprise then that this wonder cloth became a premium for car care a few years back. But due to the emergence of microfiber towels which are less expensive and great water absorption properties, fewer and fewer people are using chamois.

Add to the fact that there’s a more extensive line of towels to choose from like waffle weave, sponge cloth, huck towels, and even bathroom towels; auto enthusiasts are faced with a confusing choice of which is the best to use for their beloved car.

Not to worry! Below are a few points to consider when choosing the best type of towel for you to use.

So, in this article, we’ll explore:


Leather Chamois vs. Synthetic Chamois


If you’re thinking about getting a chamois cloth as your tool for your carwash’s drying method, then it’s a good idea to know the difference between a synthetic chamois cloth and leather chamois cloth for a car.

So, what is the difference between a leather chamois cloth vs. synthetic cloth?

  • Leather Chamois

Real chamois cloth is made up of animal leather. This means that the material is breathable. What makes it an excellent accessory for automobiles is that it’s great for absorbing moisture. It is also very soft and smooth making it a great non-abrasive cloth for wiping your car’s paint.

This type of chamois prevents you from accidentally imparting fine scratches on your paintwork. Unfortunately, like everything that’s made naturally, it also wears out after some time. When this happens, it will quickly dry and crumble.

Another disadvantage of getting real leather chamois is that it’s a lot more expensive than the average towel in the market. You would need to allocate a budget to purchase a good quality one. But for the great benefits that it can give, it will be worth every penny.


  • Synthetic Chamois

Synthetic chamois cloths are made up of PVA, or polyvinyl alcohol, wheat starch, and cotton. Although it is called synthetic because of the processes it undertook, the components of this towel are naturally occurring thus making it an environmentally-friendly alternative.

Since PVA has a tighter molecular design than that of real animal leather, this type of chamois can absorb more moisture than real chamois so it’s also a good choice as a car drying accessory.

Plus, synthetic chamois is less expensive and can last longer than real chamois if taken cared for properly.


Best Chamois Cloth


Whether you’re looking for leather chamois cloth or a synthetic one when it comes to removing water spots and swirl marks you only want the best. Here are a few suggestions you can look into to find your best chamois cloth:

  • Clean Tools The Absorber Synthetic Chamois

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When it comes to chamois, The Absorber is a favorite among enthusiasts so you know you won’t go wrong with buying this product. It’s made up of PVA like most synthetic varieties and is definitely a better option than using a terrycloth.

Also, The Absorber is wonderfully lint-free and is resistant to chemicals, mold, and mildew if you practice proper care. That’s such a great investment as one cloth can last you for years!

Like most chamois towels, this one is also soft and very safe to use on any auto finish as it is non-abrasive so you don’t have to worry about scratches.

Plus, it’s innovatively machine washable. After a hard day’s work of cleaning your car, you don’t need to think about manually washing your towels after.

Since it’s so easy to use, you can try cleaning different things with it. It’s highly ideal for boats and other vehicles as well. But you can also use it around the house, like kitchen counters or table spills.

If you have a pet, it’ll be a trouble-free drying experience after every bath. You can even use it for yourself after a heavy workout or a swim in the pool!

For less than $10 with all the benefits, it’s basically a steal! It even comes in six different colors so you don’t have to be stuck with the boring natural yellow that all chamois cloths have.


  • The Man Sham Chamois Cloth
The Man Sham Chamois Cloth - 26" X 17" - Ultimate Shammy Towel - for Fast Drying of Your Car or...
  • Designed to suck up water like a vac -...
  • Let the sheep keep their skins, get a Man...
  • Don’t want to wash all those old towels?...
  • The Man Sham will make a special gift for men...

When it comes to impressive packaging and talking a big game, this product’s marketing team is fantastic. But it’s easy to see that they didn’t have a hard time hyping this product up because it’s equally as awesome as they say.

The Man Sham is created from PVA (making it a synthetic variety) which allows it to absorb more water. Think of it as a high performing sponge but in towel form. You don’t even need to worry about the little fibers clinging to your paint because it’s lint-free.

It can also save you a lot of effort because it can easily do the work of 5 cotton towels. With its ability to absorb lots of water and can easily be wrung out, drying your auto will be a fast task to finish.

Plus, you’ll be letting the sheep keep their skin for a while longer since this product doesn’t use animal leather. You don’t need to prepare it before using like real chamois since it’s ready to go as soon as you pick it up!

It’s also resistant to mold and mildew so you don’t have to worry that much about rotting. With its storage tube, you can even take it with you wherever you go.

The Man Sham Chamois Cloth is not even solely for auto care. You can use it for other stuff, like cleaning your kitchen and bathroom, drying your pets, and even bringing it to the beach!


  • Natural Chamois
NATURAL CHAMOIS XL Mega Size (6.5 sq ft.) by Ever New Automotive Premium New Zealand Sheepskin for...
  • 100% Genuine New Zealand Sheep Skin Leather...
  • Ever New Automotive 100% Satisfaction...
  • New Zealand Chaois Difference! Because of the...
  • Why Sheepskin Leather for Chamois! Sheep skin...

If you want the best leather chamois you can buy on Amazon; the Natural Chamois is it. It’s 100% real sheepskin leather from New Zealand which makes it the highest quality you can want.

New Zealand has been known for a long time for their amazing sheep farming practices and with the support of stable weather conditions, they continue to give only top-notch products so you can be assured of a first-rate tech performance from this towel.

Sheepskin leather is a great alternative to try out since it has a natural fiber structure that can absorb moisture easily. Aside from its naturally hydrophilic qualities, marine oil is then added to the tanned leather to increase its absorption properties even further.

Now, you may be having doubts since it does make use of animal skin but it’s also made from a renewable resource. Some synthetic counterparts aren’t since some are made out of petroleum so genuine leather chamois is still an environment-friendly alternative.

So don’t worry about that and try it out on your vehicles. It doesn’t just work wonders with cars but can also improve the quality and physical appearance of your boats, RVs, motorcycles and many more.


Best Microfiber Car Drying Towels


Aside from their inexpensive price tag and wide availability in stores, there’s a good reason why many automobile detailers like using a microfiber cloth for removing dirt and wax from a car’s paint.

If you’re curious about the microfiber madness happening in the auto world and are thinking of joining the bandwagon, here are a few of the best microfiber car drying towels to check out:

  • Chemical Guys Professional Grade Premium Microfiber Towel
Chemical Guys MIC_506_12 Professional Grade Premium Microfiber Towels, Gold (16 Inch x 16 Inch)...
  • 70 30 ultra premium elite banded microfiber...
  • Best suited for drying wet surfaces or for...
  • Microscopic fibers in supra towels allow them...
  • 360,000 strands in every square inch of...

Nowadays, the industry standard for great car drying towels is made up of microfibers. This is because they are very soft and equally as absorbent.

The Chemical Guys microfiber towel is amazing at removing polishes, waxes, and dirt from your paint’s surface without leaving unwanted scratches and ugly swirl marks.

With this product on hand, you don’t need to worry about washing your car for a long while. It works magnificently with quick detailers and waterless car washes so you can have a clean and shiny vehicle in a matter of minutes.

Now, you may be wondering how it can compete with the high absorption qualities of a chamois cloth?

This little towel is created with about 360,000 microscopic strands of microfiber strengthened in a loop weave that allows them to absorb almost 10 times their weight. So yes, it can compete nicely.

Like chamois, this towel is also lint-free so you don’t need to worry about leaving pesky fibers on your surface.

Plus, it’s machine washable so it’s easy cleanup for you when you’re done washing your car. It also boasts of silk edges which makes it glide smoothly on your surface without leaving a scratch.


  • VibraWipe Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
Premium Microfiber Cleaning Cloth By VibraWipe, 8-Pack, Large Size 14.2"x14.2", Kitchen Dish Towels...
  • Make a Clean Sweep of Household Chores with...
  • 8-Pack set includes 4 attractive colors....
  • Make Cleaning A Breeze. Hold up to 5X their...
  • Save On Paper Towels and Chemical Cleaners....

This product may not be a specific towel for auto detailing, but it does a great job for it as well. This all-around household cleaning tool is a great accessory to have if you want to save up on having to buy different tools for different purposes.

The VibraWipe Microfiber can absorb about 5 times its weight in liquid which makes it a handy material around your kitchen, your bathroom, and even your garage.

It’s soft material and lint-free and streak-free properties make it a safe and excellent alternative for drying and removing auto detailing products from your car.

Plus, it’s machine washable so it’s easy to clean. With all the many uses you can get from this product, and for the price, this is one pack you definitely need to get.


  • Meguiar’s X2020 Supreme Shine
Meguiar's X2020 Supreme Shine Microfiber Towels, Pack of 3,Yellow
  • FAST RESULTS: The easiest and fastest way to...
  • SHOW CAR RESULTS: The ultimate polishing...
  • NO MORE SWIRLS: Incredibly plush microfiber...
  • ABSORBS TWICE AS MUCH: Thick, deep dual-sided...

When you see the name Meguiar’s written on the packaging, you know you’re getting your money’s worth. It’s safe to say that this brand is a cult classic because most of its products give you high-quality tech performance. The X2020 is just the same!

If you want your ride to shine like an award-winning show car, then this product will give you perfect results.

You can use it on all types of finish, be it paint, glass, plastic, or chrome. Its microfibers also help in creating an amazing swirl-free surface with a deep reflective shine.

Plus, it has a dual-sided pile that can absorb about two times more water than traditional terrycloth so you can dry your ride faster with less effort.

And what a price! For less than $5, you already have 3 pieces of these amazing products. Not to mention that it’s quite large as well so you have more reach, lessening your drying time considerably!


Chamois Towel Wringer

  • Calliger Hand Crank Clothes Wringer
Calliger Hand Crank Clothes Wringer 14" Rollers - More Space to Wring Than Any Other Brand | Manual...
  • NEW PATENTED DESIGN makes this wringer the...
  • INCREASED LIFESPAN: Not only is this wringer...

Let’s face it. Even if it’s convenient to use chamois to dry your car, the constant wringing you need to do is quite off-putting. Think about it. You already put in the effort to wash your car so if there’s a way to lessen the work, you’ll definitely want to give it a go.

This hand crank clothes wringer is the perfect solution for your drying material. You can put in your chamois here after every use and just easily crank it dry.

With this innovative technology, you’re keeping your hands and wrists safe from the possible dangers of overexertion like tendonitis or something worse.

Plus, you can also use it for so much more than auto accessories. This wringer is heavy duty enough to dry clothes, even thicker ones like jeans.

If you’re looking to lessen drying time considerably, having this product at your service is a great option to try out.


  • DynaJet Chamois & Towel Wringer
Dynajet Chamois & Towel Wringer
  • Wring out 90% of accumulated water in your...
  • Does towel-drying your vehicle take forever...
  • No matter how absorbent your towels are,...
  • Unless you have a huge stack of towels on...

Likewise, this product is a fantastic product to try out as well as it can wring out as much as 90% of the accumulated water that your towels can hold. This is awesome because no matter what you do, manually wringing out your towel wouldn’t get it as dry as this.

Car washing and detailing will be a breeze if you can cut your drying time considerably with this product by your side. Think about all the extra detail you can do with the time you now have plenty of.

Plus, it works well with sponges and mitts as well so cleaning your auto accessories will be an easier task to do.


How to Use a Chamois to Dry a Car


Now that you know what a chamois is and some of the good products you can buy out there, it’s time to learn how to use a shammy. Shammy is the colloquial term for chamois.

When buying real chamois leather, you will notice that they are usually coated with oil. This is to help retain their absorption properties and to keep them from drying out. The very first thing you need to do before using it as a drying towel is to rinse off the excess oil.

First, you need to wash your cloth in warm, soapy water. Remember to use mild soap for this step to help maintain the oil. Refrain from using dishwashing varieties and even laundry detergents as they can strip off the oil and make your cloth dry and too brittle for use.

Next, you need to turn over the chamois a few times to spread the soap. After doing that, you need to dump it into clean rinsing water to remove the soapiness and excess oil.

It’s important that you rinse it thoroughly and wring the cloth out to ensure that it’s super clean. Once you’re finished doing that, you can now use the soft chamois to do your drying.

  • Usage

So here’s how a chamois works: you spread it out on your wet car and drag it towards yourself to dry the car. While a chamois does absorb some water, it essentially acts as a squeegee and pushes the water off the surface.

When chamois cloth come in contact with water on the surface of the wet car, it creates a sort of suction. So you will feel a bit of dragging when trying to pull the towel toward you. But after a few tries, you will get used to it.

It’s important you wash your car thoroughly before start drying your vehicle with a chamois towel.

Let’s say there are a few particles of dirt left on the surface of your car. So, when you are trying to drag the chamois across your vehicle, you’ll be pulling that dirt all across the surface of your paint, causing fine scratches. So, be careful.

  • Maintenance

If the chamois isn’t being used, make sure to hang it in a place where it can retain its original rectangular shape. Since it can repel water very efficiently, the cloth can harden once completely dry. But not to worry since softening it up is as easy as just wetting it again.

Here’s a more in-depth step by step guide to preparing your shammy.


How to Clean a Synthetic Chamois

Cleaning chamois cloth is very much like how you prepare it for the first time it’s used. So you better familiarize yourself with the steps because you’ll be doing it a lot.

If you feel that the steps above aren’t helping get out the dirty water from your towel even with all the wringing you’re doing, a great way to learn how to clean a synthetic shammy or leather one is to join online forums.

There are so many auto care forums like Autogeek Online on the internet and you’re sure to find one that’s solely for washing chamois cloth. Absorb new stuff from there, make friends with people, and try out their suggestions.


How to Care for Chamois

Although Chamois give great benefits, chamois cloths are useless if they completely dry out and become brittle. So it’s a good idea to maintain them regularly.

You can watch this Youtube video by on how to care and maintain genuine chamois. Here are a few other tips you might find helpful:

  • Leave a little bit of soap substance when cleaning your towel. That tiny amount of soap will not damage it.
  • Never store your towel balled up. Doing so will ruin its shape and might even be the reason it’ll tear faster.
  • Don’t mix fabric softener in the water. Your towel doesn’t need it. A properly cleaned chamois will naturally soften on its own by just wetting it.
  • May 31, 2018
James Evans

As a passionate outdoorsman and an automobile enthusiast, James spent most of his time in his garage tinkering with cars and bikes. During his free time, he loves to hike and blog about the things that he has done to keep his ride in tip-top condition.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
saran - September 7, 2018

Hi, what soap do you recommend to use on the chamois? Is hair shampoo with argon oil ok? Or any other type of hair shampoo or does it have to be the car shampoo, with or without wax?


    James Evans - September 9, 2018

    Hi Saran. It’s recommended to use only car wash soap. Don’t use the normal shampoo as it has a very fine abrasive that might stretch your car’s paint. Also, to use wax or non-wax option is up to your preference. But if you’re detailing enthusiast, then use a non-wax one and you can always apply polish and wax later.


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