Chamois vs. Microfibre: Why They're Different

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Chamois vs. Microfibre: Why They're Different

The art of high-end car detailing includes close attention to the characteristics of each type of product and tool. Towels used for drying and polishing the car surface may be made of chamois or microfibre, and each of these materials has its own unique qualities. Below is a summary of these materials and an explanation of their unique niche in car detailing.



Natural Chamois

Originally, chamois was made only from the skin of mountain sheep. Now the chamois leather products which are available for cleaning and polishing are made from flesh which is split from any sheepskin or lambskin and then tanned only with oils. Genuine chamois leather is lint-free, absorbent and has almost no abrasiveness, making it a classic choice for the delicate task of drying and polishing automobile paint. The nap on the chamois leather has the capacity to pull up any remaining dirt and grit on the surface of the car after it has been washed and rinsed. Chamois' unique characteristics make it useful for many projects in the home or garden.

How to Use Natural Chamois

Chamois towels are very soft when first purchased, and they must be cared for properly in order to maintain that texture. Before using the chamois for the first time, it's advisable to wash it in slightly warm water with a very mild hand soap. This removes any extraneous material that may have accumulated during the tanning process. Be sure not to use any type of detergent with a natural chamois. After use, the chamois should be carefully rinsed out and hung to dry. Before future uses, it should be rubbed against itself in the hands to restore its full softness, and then wrung out in fresh water to fully re-open its absorbency.



Made from synthetic fibres that are less than 20 percent of the thickness of a human hair, microfibre cleaning cloths are very popular for car detailing. They are naturally less expensive than chamois, since they are manufactured rather than sourced from animals, and they have some similar virtues. Microfibre materials have numerous industrial applications, and can be produced to meet a wide variety of specifications.

Characteristics of Microfibre Cleaning Cloths

Like natural chamois, microfibre towels are highly absorbent and have no lint. The very finest cleaning microfibre cleaning cloths undergo a splitting process, leaving numerous filament ends free for maximum absorbency. This splitting process produces a surface with spaces between the fibres, causing dirt particles to be sequestered at the same time water is absorbed. To test a microfibre cloth and see if it has been split, a person can run the cloth over the surface of their hand. Split microfibre will tend to hold onto tiny irregularities in the skin's surface, whereas ordinary microfibre (used in fashion applications) will simply slide smoothly over the skin.

Care of Microfibre Cleaning Cloths

One reason for the growing popularity of microfibre cloths for cleaning and polishing automobiles is that they are easy to care for. Microfibre cloths can simply be discarded after waxing or polishing, because they are inexpensive. The towels used for drying the car can be easily cleaned in the washing machine, using cold water settings and a microfibre detergent.

Car owners who take true pleasure in maintaining their vehicle in its optimum condition will probably develop a strong loyalty to either natural chamois or microfibre cleaning towels. Either choice will be a valuable element in the car-lover's tool kit.

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