- $39 for restoration for two headlights ($85 value)
Chamois: Leaving Cars Shiny and Dry
Chamois cloth isn’t your typical towel. Read on to learn why auto detailers love its drying power.
On first glance, chamois might not seem like a great material for drying. It doesn’t have the plush fibers of a cotton towel, the dense sponginess of a microfiber cloth, or the fast action of a strong gust of wind. It just looks like an irregular piece of leather—which is exactly what it is. Chamois cloths are made of lambskin or sheepskin that’s been tanned (a way of chemically preserving leather) with cod-liver oil to make it ultra soft and durable, as well as resistant to mold and mildew. While it may look smooth, the leather is very porous and consequently very absorbent.
Chamois's drying capabilities are twofold. When damp, its flat surface molds to the hood or sides of a vehicle or a bald person’s head. This creates a tight seal that squeegees off excess water as the auto detailer slowly pulls the cloth along the car’s body. The water that doesn’t get pushed off the surface is readily absorbed: according to New Zealand’s largest chamois producer, a chamois cloth can take in up to five times its weight in water. Meanwhile, the pores also trap particles of dirt, dust, and grime to prevent them from scratching the car’s surface.