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What is a Chamois?

crash courses in automotive | Posted: 10/6/2021

Chamois cloths have been used since the early 1700s, but what exactly makes them so special?

chamois is a soft, absorbent, and durable drying cloth that is made from natural leather tanned with fish oils. Typically, this leather is made from the goat that shares its name—the chamois. This goat is native to the mountainous regions of Europe but is also bred and raised in New Zealand.

The Benefits of Using a Chamois

Benefits of Using a Chamois

Well, the real benefit to a chamois is its absorbency along with its gentle, non-abrasive texture. Which makes it perfect for drying and cleaning even the most delicate surfaces, like your vehicle! When damp, this cloth absorbs more than 5x its weight in water and cleans up the grit and grime that was missed during a wash. This is because the loose weave of the goatskin and the frayed ends of the fibers that stick out from the weave create the “nap,” or pile, of the chamois. The advantage of a natural leather chamois over synthetic materials is that it not only traps dirt, grit, and water, but it also releases this abrasive material when rinsed!

Chamois Maintenance

Giant Chamois Skin Drying Towel
Giant Chamois Skin Drying Towel

The important thing to remember with a chamois is its maintenance. Before you use a chamois for the first time, you’ll need to wash it in lukewarm water with a mild soap (preferably a car wash soap). Make sure not to use harsh chemicals like bleach or degreasers like dish soap! Soaps that aren’t intended for use on a vehicle’s finish may damage your chamois. Because the chamois is tanned with fish oils, this initial wash helps to remove excess oil from the material. You might see a yellow tinge to the water, but don’t worry! This is just the excess oil. Rinse the cloth in clean water and then fold the chamois over several times and twist until all the water is squeezed out. You’ll want to repeat these steps until the water is clear—after all, you don’t want all that oil on your car!

You can either use the chamois right away or hang it to dry away from direct sunlight. You will want to gently tug the sides of the chamois so that the cloth goes back to its original shape before draping it over something.

Drying or cleaning isn’t all a chamois is used for! They’ve also been used to filter fuel. You see, a dry chamois, soaked with clean gasoline, will allow fuel to pass through its surface fibers, but not water! Pretty neat, right?

Well, that’s all we have to say about this great cleaning tool. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us here, and make sure to subscribe to our email list so you can keep up to date with our latest offers, flyers, new products, and giveaways here at!

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