The chamois is one of the most versatile materials every vehicle owner needs to have. This soft and super-pliable piece of porous leather that is typically made from lambskin or sheepskin, although the genuine version is from a European mountain goat of the same name, is favored by automobile detailers and car enthusiasts because of its excellent absorption properties and non-abrasive, gentle composition. Being a special kind of leather, you should know how to properly clean chamois to help ensure its optimum performance and lengthen its lifespan.
Guidelines in Cleaning a Chamois
Owing to the rather delicate nature of chamois, it is imperative that you observe certain guidelines related to its general care. While these guidelines are not absolute they can, nevertheless help you ensure longer life for your cleaning and drying companion.
- Chamois should be cleaned after every use using only clean soapy water. However, a critical element is the kind of soap that you need to use. Under no circumstances are you supposed to use just any other kind of soap; only soaps that are meant for automobiles should be used.
- Using ordinary soaps and detergents may inadvertently replace the natural oils present in your chamois. These oils are embedded during the tanning process to help protect the chamois. Removing these natural oils will greatly shorten your chamois’ lifespan while also reducing its overall quality.
- Chemical-free water is essential in cleaning chamois in the same manner as using only soaps that are designed for automobiles. While it is not really absolutely necessary that you go for distilled water, ensuring that the water you’re using to clean your chamois with is clean and free of harmful chemicals is a must.
- Chamois is best cleaned or washed by hand and dried naturally. Don’t ever make the mistake of having it dry cleaned or even tumble-dried.
Do not ever use the following products in cleaning your chamois:
- Bleach, ammonia, or any other harsh chemical typically used for cleaning
- Soaps or detergents, including fabric conditioners, intended for laundry
- Cleaning products used in the bathroom
- Any cleaning product that contains alcohol
- Dishwashing liquid or soap
- Any detergent or cleaning product intended for the dishwasher
How to Clean Chamois the Correct Way
With these guidelines in order, you should be more than ready to clean your chamois. Here are the steps.
- Step 1 – Mix a capful of an appropriate automotive car wash body shampoo or soap to a gallon of clean warm water to make the soapy solution.
- Step 2 – Immerse the chamois into the warm soapy cleaning solution and allow it to absorb as much of the solution through its fibers. Carefully yet methodically knead the chamois with your hands in an effort to dislodge and remove any particle from the leather. Remove the chamois from the soapy solution and wring it thoroughly. You may have to do this repeatedly until all the dirt have been removed.
- Step 3 – In another bucket filled with clean warm water, dunk the chamois and rinse it well. Wring the chamois completely before re-lathering soap or shampoo back on. This should help keep your chamois soft.
- Step 4 – Gently wring out excess water. Stretch your chamois and hang it outside, under the shade, to dry. Do not hang it to dry directly under the sun as this can dry the fibers too quickly. You would want it to dry slowly to retain its natural softness and suppleness. Hanging it to dry under the shade but with good ventilation is a great idea.
- Step 5 – Once your chamois has dried completely try scrunching it up to soften the fabric, making it easier to fold and store. You can rub the surfaces together to soften it before storage.
If you followed these steps correctly, the next time you’ll use your chamois will be super easy. Simply dunk it in warm clean water to both soften it and remove the soap that you lathered in Step 3.
What a Properly-cleaned Chamois Looks Like
How do you know you’ve cleaned your chamois properly? A properly-cleaned chamois should have the following characteristics.
- It will not leave any particles or lint on your car’s finish.
- It softens up a lot easier when re-wetted.
- It doesn’t easily crack, split, or develop holes.
Taking good care of your chamois is all about knowing how to properly clean it. If you adhere to the guidelines we’ve shared with you as well as the steps you need to take to clean it properly, you’ll be guaranteed of chamois that will last many years.