Chamois Care and Maintenance

Chamois Care and Maintenance

Properly caring for and maintaining a chamois will significantly extend the life of the chamois and ensure that it continues to perform as intended.  Chamois care and maintenance instructions are also provided on the packages of all of our chamois products.

Preparing a Chamois for Use

Preparing a Chamois for use in a Bucket of Soapy Water
Preparing a Chamois for use in a Bucket of Soapy Water

Before using a chamois for the first time the residual tanning oils must be removed to ensure that it will perform as intended.  The excess fats and oils that protect the chamois cloth during transport and storage, will also streak the finish if not removed. To remove the excess oils, wash the chamois in lukewarm water with a mild soap, preferably one intended for use on cars.  DO NOT USE A DEGREASING SOAP (like Dawn or Simple Green), HARSH CHEMICALS (such as bleach or ammonia) or LAUNDRY DETERGENT, as these will strip the tanning oils out of the chamois, leaving the leather unprotected and causing it to rot and fall apart.  A chamois that has been washed or cleaned with any of the above will become brittle, dry and shed pieces of itself all over the finish.  After thoroughly washing the new chamois with a car wash soap, rinse the chamois with clean water and wring out completely.  Wash, rinse, wring, replace the rinse water and repeat until the rinse water no longer has a yellow tint. Use right away, or hang up to dry in the shade.  Do not hang out to dry in direct sunlight or put away wet, or put in a plastic bag wet.

How to Use a Chamois

Although a dry chamois can feel stiff and somewhat course, rewetting a chamois will restore the softness and absorbency.  Before each use, a chamois should be rinsed with clean water and completely wrung out.  After the vehicle has been thoroughly washed (using a natural sea sponge), the wrung out chamois should be held by two corners (on the same side) and pulled across the surface to be dried.  The water on the surface will be absorbed and any dirt missed in the washing process pulled into the fibers of the cloth and safely away from the surface where it cannot mar the finish.  The chamois should then be rinsed in clean water to release any dirt and thoroughly wrung out. This process should be repeated until the entire vehicle is dry.

Cleaning and Storing a Chamois

After each use a chamois should be thoroughly washed with clean soapy water, rinsed and wrung out repeatedly until clean.  A chamois should never be washed with any type of soap not specifically intended for washing a vehicle (use only car wash soap).  Leaving a bit of soap in a chamois will not damage the leather. To dry a chamois, hang it up away from direct sunlight.  Never machine wash or tumble dry, store wet in an air-tight bag or put a chamois away wet.

If the dirt is not completely washed and rinsed from the vehicle, stains on the chamois are likely to occur.  However, as long as the cloth has been thoroughly washed and rinsed, the stains are on the hide itself and are not abrasive; so the chamois can continue to be used.

Improperly cleaned chamois

A chamois that has been improperly maintained (cleaned with harsh chemicals, degreasing soap, Washed in the washing machine, tumbled dry, or dried in the sun) will have one or all of the following characteristics:

  • Leaves streaks on the finish
  • Easily splits, cracks or develops holes
  • Will not soften when re-wetted
  • Leaves “lint” or particles on the finish

With proper care and maintenance, a genuine natural leather chamois is soft, durable and will last for years with normal use.

See All Acme Genuine Leather Chamois Products