Regardless of whether you prefer to tenderly hand-wash your car or simply run through the nearest car wash, properly drying your vehicle is essential.
Old-fashioned air drying suffices for most things; however, air-drying your car is a quick way to get blotches and drip marks. If you went through the effort of cleaning your car, you want it to look… well, clean! Here are some things to keep in mind.
Microfiber cloths and towels: If you love that, smooth, buffed, and polished clean, you think is only achievable by a professional detailer, then microfiber is your new best friend!
Microfiber towels and cloths are extremely gentle and absorbent. That means, they whisk moisture away as you dry, instead of smearing it around and causing swirl marks. If you’re using a microfiber cloth or towel to dry your car, begin at the top and move down to prevent dripping on areas you’ve already dried.
Every time you use a cloth, rinse it and shake it out. It just takes one rock or a bit of dirt hiding under your cloth to cause scratches on your car’s paint. The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to keep multiple cloths on hand as you dry your car so you never have to guess if the cloth you’re using is clean enough.
Chamois cloths: Real chamois cloths are made of goat or sheep leather and behave similarly to squeegees. However, they are extremely non-abrasive and absorbent. When using a chamois cloth, work from the top of your vehicle to the bottom by throwing the chamois over a wet section of your car’s surface and pulling it toward you. To avoid streaks, fold the cloth into a square and wipe. Never use a completely dry chamois cloth to dry your car, always ensure it is slightly damp.
Car dryers (or forced-air drying): Car washes use forced air to dry your car. Although this isn’t the best method to dry your car (because it will probably still result in streaks) the high pressure prevents water spots. If you want to recreate a similar method at home, try drying your car with an air compressor, a can of pressurized air, or a leaf blower. Do not use hair dryers because they become extremely hot and can damage your paint job.