10 Best

Car Drying Towels

of September 2023

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Your Guide to Purchasing a Car Drying Towel

Yehudah Posnick

You might think that nowadays people don’t have time for washing their car by hand. After all, their time is worth more to them than the $20 or so that they’ll spend on an automatic wash. But, there are still advantages to washing and drying your car yourself. Firstly, you’ll probably want to clean the interior of your car yourself. Also, if you do the exterior manually, you can make sure that the cleaning is more thorough, and that dirt isn’t trapped by accident when you wax or polish your car. And there is car detailing, where you want to clean your car to the point that it looks like new. So, a good car drying towel is a must.

There are a few options of materials for a car drying towel. Using the wrong type of cloth can cause swirl marks or small scratches on your car’s surface. We’ll see that the best car-drying towels are specially designed to not scratch your car’s paint or chrome finish. Both the fabric and even the edges are specially made to not cause any scratches. And you can get car drying towels in a size big enough that they can dry your car in just a few wipes!


What kinds of car drying towels are there?

There are three main types of car drying towels: microfiber, PVA, and chamois.

  • Microfiber towels are made from synthetic fibers and are extremely absorbent.

  • PVA is also very absorbent, being able to soak up 20 times its weight of water. There are cleaning cloths that employ both microfiber material with PVA, such as the Vileda Professional PVA Microfiber Cloth.

Vileda Professional PVA Microfiber Cloth

  • Chamois towels were traditionally made from the leather of the chamois, a species of European antelope, but you’ll see hides from domesticated goats and sheep used instead. Chamois is used in cleaning and buffing cars since it doesn’t scratch. However, it’s less absorbent than microfiber towels.

Why should I prefer washing my car by hand to going to a car wash?

Washing your car by hand is the best way to clean it because you can control the amount of pressure and soap that you use. You can also make sure that you rinse all of the soap off of your car.

Types of Car Drying Towels

Looking at the Best Reviews Guide list of the best car drying towels, we see that they’re usually composed of two main types of materials: PVA, or microfiber.

  • PVA mini-towels: These are made from polyvinyl alcohol, which is a highly absorbent material, almost as well as a sponge, being able to 20 times its weight in water! It also will not scratch surfaces or leave streaks or spots. Since it’s not really a fabric, it also won’t leave behind lint. It’s good at picking up grit and other particulate residues, but it won’t scratch as you wipe. An example is the Mighty Cleaner Premium Mini-Chamois Cloth.

Mighty Cleaner Premium Mini-Chamois Cloth

  • Waffle weave: You’ll see car drying towels with a terry-cloth, “waffle” weave appearance. An example is the Chemical Guys Waffle Weave Gray Matter Microfiber Drying Towel. It’s composed of 70% polyester/30% polyamide (on the other hand, cheaper towels use an 80% polyester/20% polyamide blend). Being entirely from synthetic materials, it won’t leave any lint. Also, it’s made of soft material, so it won’t scratch. The edges are silk, instead of nylon like you’ll find on other car drying towels. That also ensures no scratches when polishing, buffing, or drying.

Chemical Guys Waffle Weave Gray Matter Microfiber Drying Towel

  • Plush microfiber: This is best for drying an entire vehicle quickly. They have the texture of a bath towel. An example is the Shscly Microfiber Drying Towels.

Shscly Microfiber Drying Towels

  • Dual weave: There are two-sided towels for drying your car. They have a plush, high-pile side to soak up water, spray, and waterless wash solutions, with a short-pile side for buffing away dried wax/sealant/polish, without scratching the surface. One such drying towel is the Chemical Guys Professional Grade Premium Microfiber Towel.

Chemical Guys Professional Grade Premium Microfiber Towel

What reviewers say

Here is some of the impressions of customers regarding their choice of car drying towel:

  • Advantage of absorbency: People who used the Relentless Drive Large Car Drying Towel say that the towel is absorbent enough to soak up all of the water in one pass over your car! You’ll be able to appreciate the car’s beauty, without any water spots or streaks!

  • Can be stored away even when wet: Car drying towels that are made from synthetic materials like PVA have an advantage, in that you can store them away even when they’re wet. This is because the material doesn’t promote bacterial growth. In fact, the CleanTools The Absorber Synthetic Premium Drying Chamois Cloth comes in a plastic case, and is intended to be stored in that plastic case while still moist! (You actually should use the towel while it’s moist, to reduce any chance of abrasion.)

CleanTools The Absorber Synthetic Premium Drying Chamois Cloth

Important Features

Here are some tips and features of car drying towels that may help you make a decision when shopping:

  • Soft edges to the towel: The best towels use soft silk edges, as opposed to hard nylon edges. Soft edges will reduce the risk of scratching the car’s paint.

  • Not only for cars: People use these drying towels for all different parts of their cars. But, you can take advantage of the features of these towels when cleaning around your home as well. You can use them for cleaning windows without leaving any streaks or scratches. They’re also great for the kitchen counter. Some people even use the CleanTools Absorber for drying their hair when getting out of the shower! It can also be used to dry off your dog after a bath. Any dog hair will just shake right out!

  • Additional accessories: The AutoErasers Microfiber Towel comes along with 8 dual-side cleaning sponges. The orange side is intended for sensitive surfaces, such as painted surfaces and clear plastics. The white side of the sponge is for cleaning glass and the car’s interior. The towel and sponge have you covered for all cleaning and detailing work!

AutoErasers Microfiber Towel with eraser sponge

Final Verdict

We went through some of the more popular car drying towels on the market, noting the different types of materials and their properties. What they have in common is that they’re made from soft, absorbent materials. Once you start using them for your car, you’ll want more for the other cleaning jobs in your home!

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