A chamois should be washed with clean, soapy water after each use. It should be wrung out repeatedly and allowed to dry thoroughly. Because a chamois is made of leather, it must be treated with care to ensure its longevity, and harsh detergents and chemicals should not be used during the cleaning process.
When cleaning a chamois, avoid using any dish soaps, laundry detergents, bathroom cleaners, degreasing agents or any liquid that contains alcohol. AutotopiaCarCare.com recommends cleaning the chamois with mild soap before the first use and whenever the chamois becomes soiled and needs washing. It is also important to let the chamois dry naturally in a shaded area. The purpose of cleaning the chamois before use is to remove excess oils that are typically used during the leather-tanning process. TopoftheLine.com offers a cleaner formulated specifically for chamois cleaning and warns against using a chamois that is not 100 percent clean. Proper drying is also essential to keeping mold and mildew from developing, which can damage the painted surface of a car when wiping off water. A chamois that is not clean does not soften properly when wet and leaves particles or lint on the surfaces of vehicles after wiping.