I just don't understand the chamois

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I have to confess that all of my life I have had trouble with the chamois. Not only is it hard to spell, but I just can't get it to work properly when drying the car. So last time I washed my car, I just let it air-dry, and of course I got water spots all over it.

So here's my simple question: is it okay just to use plain old towels on the car after a wash, for goodness' sake?

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Paula: A good Chamois is made from Goat skin. It only works if it is damp, a dry one is just like cardboard. The proper use is to soak it, wring out the excess water and then Flop it OPEN, over the car surface drawing the waterdown off the car surface. Wring it out again and continue until the car only has some damp spots on it. Then, fold the chamois and lightly rup it over the surface and the water spots will disappear. Remember, damp, not wet, and wring itout after each pass over the cars surface. Also, as with most other things, a good quality chamois is important. Oh, onw other thing, if it doesn't come in a container, put it in a plastic bag damp and seal the bag, that way it'll be damp when you want to use it again and it won't harden. Hope this helps.
I agree with David, a natural chamois is the best but I found some of the newer man made ones work well also. A natural chamois will wear out after time and I have not always been able to find one at replacement time, they seem to come and go, that is how I found out about the man made ones.
I have a natural chamois and it is at least 7 ot 8 years old. Unlike the other post, I hang mine to dry ater each use. Grant it is very still when I get it out to use. before use, I just lay it on the hood, shoot both sides with water, ring it out and off to work I go. it does the best I have found over the years.

Blue/Blue Prem. w/full accent
In my Garage as of 1/25 #6333 LIC: BLU TB
I was always told not to wring it out, but fold it and press the water out. If you wring it out you break down the fibers. As fas as storage I have found in a bag or letting it dry both ways work well.

Just something to think about.
Dear Paula,

100% cotton is all I use. It is the best product to dry clear coat painted cars.

I have also used the California Water Blade, a high tech silcon-t-rubber squeege. It's also safe for all car finishes and cuts drying time by 2/3.

Good luck.
The California water blade is terrific. Highly recommend it. I don't mess with chamois anymore except to wash with.
Cotton towels are great for drying a car. I am a clean car nut. I haven't been to a car wash in 10 years because I then have to immediately go home and finish what they started. I have used a chamois and they work fine. I can do it with towels in half the time.
I would add that I am pleased at how easy the T Bird is to wash. I have had it 10 days and have washed it twice. I can do it start to finish is under 30 minutes including all the jambs and wiping engine compartment down.
I have one of those California Wiper Blades, use it the wife's car and my pick-up, doubt I will use it on the T Bird. I am sure it is safe etc, but it wouldn't save 5 minutes on this car.
I/we use artificial chamois and good towel for drying all of our cars and my Ranger. Dry with the chamois first, then buff with towels. Been doing it that way on three of the cars for 12 years and they still shine nicely. Avoid swirling motions when drying (or washing/waxing) they make swirl marks in the finish. Use a forward and back/front to rear motion for best results.
As for wringing out a natural chamois, go to your antique store and find an old, clamp on, hand crank wringer, like the one used on old washing machines. They will not damage the fibers in the leather. These wringers are available new if you can find someplace that carries them. Maybe the 'Whole Earth Catalog' if it still exists. It can be clamped to a 2X4 mounted to a post or something.
'02 Blue/White/Full Blue, no VIN yet.
A new chamois will leave streaks because it does have a residue in the skin. A new chamois needs to be washed in a pure soap such as Ivory two or three times. Never use detergant on a chamois. Thereafter the chamois should be washed in Ivory a couple times a year or as needed. I think this will result in you having better luck with the chamois.

Yellow/Yellow Prem. 02 Bird w/full accent
1999 F150 Super Cab 4x4 Off Road
1998 Taurus SE Sport 24V
Use to be a Canon 100% cotton towel person. (washed twice before using on a car).

But now. ONLY use quality 80%/20% microfiber towels. They are the bomb if you have never used them. Not cheap but worth it for my babies.
I used to use natural chamois and converted to man made several years ago when I got my first black car. Got tired of the streaks until broken in.
I never tried washing one first. Thanks, Lon

Bob - 106496
Thank you all so much for your suggestions. Based on what you said, I went out yesterday and bought some cotton towels AND a California water blade. Using your tips, I think I will try all THREE methods and just figure out what works best for me.

(By the way, my chamois is a natural one. It smells kind of like -- oh, a salmon -- when it is drying!)
Paula, the reason it smells like fish is that it's treated with cod oil to make it more supple and help remove water. I've always used natural chamois and found it's easy once you get into the rhythm.

I gave American Beautyher first wash today. It was an exceptionally nice day for a drive along the coast with blue skies and 10-ft. surf. I went through a little ocean spray at one point, so I wanted to be sure to clean it off and any other residue that had accumulated over the first month. I got the following materials together:
[*] two buckets, one for wash and one for rinse
[*] Mother's Gold car wash shampoo - good suds and doesn't damage the clearcoat
[*] new wash mitt
[*] new chamois
Rinse first, then wipe with mitt soaked in shampoo, rinse again, then chamois. Because the water was beading a lot, I had to do two passes - one to clear the excess and one to remove the streaks. This is where the water blade others mentioned would be handy, I guess. Since the finish was so new, it was an easy job (around 45 minutes). Don't forget the trim inside the wheel wells, the sill under the trunk lid or the endless holes in the grill. One other thing, if you are doing it in front of your house, be prepared to stop and chat with at least a few passing drivers.
tr --

Wow, thanks for your explanation of the salmon smell! I am dying laughing because I wasn't even sure it was a "fish" smell that I was experiencing with that chamois, but I'll be darned! I learn something new every day from this group!
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