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How to Properly Use and Care for Chamois Leather Cloth

How to Properly Use and Care for Chamois Leather Cloth

Used since decades to wash and dry cars and trucks, the Chamois Leather Cloth is durable, extremely soft, and most effective in removing dirt that gets stuck on the body of your vehicles. This HomeQuicks article gives useful tips on the proper use and care of this natural sheepskin leather.
HomeQuicks Staff
Did You Know?
Natural Chamois Leather was first introduced as a cleaning cloth in the early 1700s by French 'footmen' who were responsible for keeping carriages clean.

Also known as 'shammy', the original chamois leather cloth was made out of the skin of chamois a large-sized mountain goatlike Alpine antelope that was found in the European mountains. Later, this breed got extinct but the need to produce chamois increased, and hence, sheepskin was used which yielded better results than the goatskin used for chamois leather cloth.
New Zealand is the principal producer of sheepskin for chamois, whereas, the tanning process of chamois occurs in various countries. The technical definition in the U.S. pertaining to chamois as per Federal Specification KK-C-300C and the industrial standards adopted by the US Federal Standard CS99-1970 which is further redefined by the Advisory opinion #1, Section 5, Federal Trade Commission Act is :
''The necessity for splitting sheepskin is to remove the impervious grain layer so as to make the underside more receptive to tanning. Since the two layers do not stretch uniformly and will eventually rip and crumble. In any event, irrespective of the relative merits of the many processes which may be employed to produce the leather, the fact remains that the grain layer must be separated from the sheepskin flesher in order that an acceptable chamois will result.''
The accepted international definition is that it must be prepared from sheepskin and tanned with fish oil.
Information about Chamois Leather Cloth
How to Choose the Best?
The best chamois leather cloth is medium weight as it absorbs more water, it is durable and easy to use.

How is It Obtained?
The best quality sheepskin undergoes a process of tanning and buffing to produce extremely soft, drying cloth. The sheepskin is split to remove the top layer, each skin produces up to 2 - 4 split layers which is also known as the 'flesh split'. The most important part in this process is tanning the obtained split layer with fish oil. The fish oil turns the leather into an absorbent material that leaves a shine while drying, and also aids in preserving it.

How to Detect a Fake?
A genuine chamois leather cloth will have creamy beige color sometimes maybe a shade lighter in different areas, emits a fishy odor, is soft to touch, and stretches in your hand. Whereas, a fake chamois will have a greenish tint, is rough to touch, stiff, and won't stretch in your hand.

It is best used as a drying towel for automobiles due to its soft texture and absorbent nature. It eliminates dirt from the body of the automobile while cleaning without leaving scratches or damaging the surface paint. It is also used to clean the interior of the automobile, effectively, by removing built up grime, dust, smudges, fingerprints from the dashboard, console, instruments, windows, steering column and wheel, and plastic, chrome, aluminum, wood, glass, and other reflective surfaces. Additional uses comprise―cleaning electronics, household products, polish jewelry, shoes, and as a fuel filter for automobiles. This leather cloth does not leave any residue to discolor or oxidize; hence, it's a cost-effective drying towel.

Maintenance Tips
While using it for the first time, wash it in lukewarm water with a mild detergent to remove excess tanning oils. Avoid using harsh chemicals as it will shred the leather cloth soon. After using it for drying out the automobile, re-wet the wrung out leather cloth and hold apart the two adjacent corners to hang out and dry. It tends to turn stiff after drying so just rub the cloth on itself to restore its softness, then fold it and store it in a dry place away from chemicals and sunlight. Always remember avoid folding or storing it in an airtight container while it's wet.

Chamois leather cloth faces tough competition from a variety of new cleaning products in the market which are basically synthetic in nature, but none of these can be compared to the quality, durability, low-maintenance, and cost-effectiveness that this natural leather cloth offers.