How To Properly Dry A Car After Washing So You Don’t Damage Your Car Paint

Learning how to wash a car and knowing the best way to dry a car will help you provide quality protection for your paintwork.

You see, washing and drying your car on a regular basis is the one car maintenance activity that offers the most benefit to the aesthetics of your vehicle.

You don’t need to be a professional detailer to do a fantastic and effective cleaning job.

All you need is to know the basic principles of the dos and don’ts; meaning, determining the best way to wash a car without scratching it.

With the help of the best car wash supplies, there’s almost nothing you can’t do.

After washing, it’s equally important that you know how to dry a car properly.

So, in this article, we’ll explore:

Detailing guide:



Discover the 4 Best Way to Dry a Car After Washing!


Using the wrong type of fabric to dry a car can damage your car’s finish if you’re not careful.

Finding the right type of cloth is a must if you want the best results.

So, after you done washing your car, let the water drip off for a few minutes.

Then, select any of these 4 options to dry it thoroughly.

1. Chamois

For a long time now, the chamois towel has been used for various cleaning tasks because of its soft and quick dry properties.

The fact that the original chamois is also a naturally renewable resource made it a popular choice as a towel.

It is soft, absorbent, and completely non-abrasive. You can also use a synthetic chamois, although it isn’t nearly as durable as the real Chamois made using goat or sheep leather.

However, due to the emergence of microfiber towels which are less expensive, fewer and fewer people are using chamois.

If you interested to know the difference between a Chamois and microfiber towel, head over to this article – Chamois vs. Microfiber Towel.

So, how do you dry a car with a Chamois?

You always want to start from the top of the vehicle and work your way to the bottom.

Spread the Chamois towel flat over the surface and gently pull it toward you across the water.

If you want to avoid streaking, fold your chamois into a square, and wipe.

One important tip though. Never use a complete dry Chamois towel to dry your car. Make the towel slightly damp first then only start using it.

A damp Chamois is more efficient at soaking up waters.


2. Waffle Weave Microfiber Towels

A towel used for drying must be highly absorbent.

The waffle weave variety is known for that feature and makes it an excellent choice for drying all kind of automobiles.

There are many types of fiber blend for the microfiber cloth, like 80/20 or 70/30 microfiber towels.

However, most microfibers have a blend of 80% polyester and 20% polyamide.

If you interested to learn more about this type of drying towel, head over to this article – Waffle Weave Microfiber Towels.

So, how do you dry a car with a microfiber towel?

In fact, it’s identical to how you use a Chamois to dry a car.

Just dampen the towel lightly before you start.

Start with the roof, go over flat surfaces, and then move on to cracks and crevices.

Or, watch this video to learn the best way to dry a car with a microfiber towel:



3. Huck and Sponge Towels

One of these lesser-known towel types is the huck cloth. This is the kind of towel use in the surgical room.

They are absorbent and great for wiping and drying windows.

As for sponge towels, it’s made of cellulose, cotton, and mirabilite. When mixed together, these three components make for a very absorbent material.

Since it can pick up a lot of water, you can effectively wash your vehicle easier and faster.

Plus, it will make for gentler wiping since there wouldn’t be a lot of friction involved.

If you interested to learn more about huck and sponger towels, head to these articles – Huck Towels and Sponge Cloth.

So, how do you dry a car with a huck and sponge towels?

The huck and sponge cloth not exactly the best option to use for drying a car.

These cloths are more suitable for car interior detailing and cleaning windows.

But if you are out of choice, they can be a next best substitute for Chamois and microfiber towel.

The way to dry a car with huck and sponge towel is the same as the above two options.


4. Leaf Blower to Dry a Car

If you never manage to dry it perfectly with any of the previous methods, the final option is to use pressurized air.

The easiest solution is to get a pressurized air machine to help your air dry your car. Leaf blowers are a good machine choice for doing this task.

The leaf blower will dry the bodywork quickly, and help you deal with areas such as running boards, gas caps, and windshield wipers.

You might have one in your garage already. But if not, here are a few good recommendations you might want to check it out:

Toro 51585 Power Sweep Electric Leaf Blower

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The Toro 51585 is amazingly lightweight at 4.6 pounds. Your arms would not quickly get fatigued.

It’s so easy to use, and its 2-speed air control offers excellent versatility.

This hand-held blower is definitely great for cleaning leaves and debris around your house and even on your driveways.

But the best part is that it can effectively dry your wet car as well. After all, it can produce airspeed up to 160 mph.

Plus, it has a generous warranty for 2 years.


Worx Turbine Variable Speed Control Corded Blower

WORX WG520 12 Amp TURBINE 600 Electric Leaf Blower
  • [TURBINE FAN TECH] Worx engineers figured out...
  • [2 SPEEDS FOR DIFFERENT JOBS] Go slow for...
  • [600 CFM] We named the Turbine 600 after the...

This Worx leaf blower is also lightweight and easy on the arms at 6.4 pounds. It has a power cord retainer that allows you to dry your car without any problems.

Its Turbine fan technology makes it fantastic at producing high-capacity air volume. It can even go twice as fast as professional blowers!

It also performs above the rest since it comes with a dynamic airflow design.

The Hyper-Stream nozzle makes it easier for you to dry certain areas of your car. Plus, it also has a variable speed control that can help you do more tasks.

It comes with a great 3-year warranty as well.


Greenworks Pro 80V 125 Mph – 500 CFM Cordless Blower

Greenworks Pro 80V (125 MPH / 500 CFM) Cordless Axial Leaf Blower, 2.0Ah Battery and Charger...
  • Up to 70 minutes of continuous runtime on low...
  • Up to 125 MPH of air speed and 500 CFM of air...
  • Ideal for yards up to 1 acre
  • Advanced brushless motor technology delivers...

If you’re looking for a great cordless blower, look no further than the Greenworks Pro. It can run for up to 70 minutes if its 2Ah Battery is fully charged.

It can thoroughly dry your car at 125mph. It won’t even burst your eardrums since it works at only 60 decibels. Your neighbors won’t complain every time you use it!

It has an amazing brushless motor that allows you to use it for longer than other blowers.

Besides these three models, do check out the Greenworks Single Speed Electric Blower and the Black+Decker Corded Blower.

These two models also have many satisfied buyers as well as received high product ratings.

Greenworks 24012 Single Speed Electric Blower

Greenworks 7 Amp 160 MPH/150 CFM Single Speed Electric Blower, 24012
  • 160 MPH wind speeds for helping remove debris...
  • Lightweight design for better handling and...
  • Virtually no vibration when compared to gas...
  • Convenient cord lock to prevent accidental...


Black+Decker 7-Amp Corded Blower

BLACK+DECKER Electric Leaf Blower, 7-Amp (LB700)
  • 7 Amp motor provides a powerful and efficient...
  • Moves up to 180Mph to 180CFM for fast and...
  • Built in cord retention prevents frustrating...
  • Lightweight at only 4.4 pounds


How to Dry a Car Properly

After washing, the next question to ask is: how to dry a car?

Well, there are different ways to do these.

Most people would prefer to do it by hand with a soft, lint-free towel. This is to prevent any scratch and swirl from marring your paint.

Others prefer machine drying because it’s one of the fastest ways to dry a car. It’s also effortless to do as well.

Here are a few quick tips you might want to know when drying your car:

  • Slightly dampen your drying towel to reduce friction on the vehicle.
  • Drive a little after a car wash to dry hard-to-reach crevices.
  • Avoid cotton towels as they can scratch your paint’s finish.

But that’s all for the exterior of your vehicle. Other techniques and products might be needed to perform the best way to dry a car interior.

Watch this video to learn how to properly wash and dry your car and watch the complete process in action.



Best Car Drying Towel

There are so many kinds of towels to choose from. But not all of them are safe to use on your car’s paint.

Some, like the regular terrycloth, are too rough and might even scratch your paint.

Some towels produce too much lint and leave them all over your finish as well.

Getting the best car wash towels is essential! A car drying towel will ultimately decide whether or not you’ll ruin your paint when you start applying products.

Most detailers like a real leather chamois. It does make for easy wringing, but if misused, it can ruin your car finish. So, be careful!

As for beginners and casual detailers, a microfiber waffle weave is a good and safe choice.

Discover the best brands to buy if you’re looking for car drying towels here at The Best Drying Towels for Car Detailing.


How to Wash a Car?


When you clean your car, you will need to remove dirt, grime, and other surface contaminants as gently as possible to prevent from scratching your finish.

That’s why you need to know how to wash a car properly.

Rinsing with soapy water is a good idea, especially if your car is moderate to heavily dirty.

The suds in the soap can loosen and cover the dirt particles so that you can easily and gently wipe them away.

There are many ways to wash your car.

Some people prefer the traditional route which features lots of water, car soap, and hours of wiping and rinsing.

Others prefer the newer, more innovative choice which is the waterless wash, also known as the rinseless car wash or dry car wash.

Whatever you choose, it’s best to know the proper car wash steps for each.

Understanding how all your products work and what you’re doing each step will ensure that you clean your car thoroughly and as safely as possible.

If you want to read a more in-depth guide to the proper car washing process, head on over to How to Wash a Car.


Tips for Washing a Car

1. Never wash a hot car

A hot surface causes the wash and rinses water to evaporate too quickly, increasing the likelihood of water spotting.

Also, never wash a car under the hot sun too.

The most conducive environment is inside a garage. However, finding shades under a tree works too.

2. Wash the tires and wheels first

If you wash the body first, the water and soap will dry and spot your car before you can finish washing the tires and wheels.

Also, never use the same bucket of water on your car’s paint as you used on your tires and wheels.

The bucket of water likely contains a lot of contaminant, sand and whatnot which will likely scratch your car paint.

Also, never wash the wheels if it’s still hot. Cold water that runs into the brake pad may cause severe damage to the brakes.

And, use one of the best wheel cleaners to easily get the job done like this one:

Sonax (230241) Wheel Cleaner Plus - 16.9 fl. oz.
  • WATCH IT WORK: The color changing formula...

3. Utilizing a two bucket system and Grid Guard

The first bucket holds the car shampoo mixture, and the second bucket is filled with clean water for rinsing.

The clean water bucket is used to rinse your wash sponge or mitt before continue washing.

The Grid Guard is to trap all the dirt at the bottom of the bucket.

This 2 bucket system has two practical benefits.

First, it keeps dirt and grit out of your soapy water where it could cause scratches to your car paint.

Second, it makes the suds in your soapy water last longer, because your car wash shampoo doesn’t mix with any dirt.

Here are some of the best Grid Guard you can try.

4. Use the right car wash soap

Most of the car wash shampoo nowadays provide an all-in-one solution – wash and wax.

These shampoos are made to be gentle on plastic, rubber and paint. So, it’s safe to use on all type of vehicles.

A good car wash soap should provide enough lubrication to prevent scratching as well as conditioners to maintain a shine.

If you want to find out what are the best car wash shampoo and products to use, head over to this article – Best Car Wash Products for more information.

5. Use only the best quality wash mitt

Your wash mitt must be able to hold a lot of soapy water.

The more it can soak up the soapy water, the more soapy water it can transfer onto your car surface. This is key for lubrication.

The lubrication created by soapy water is what prevents dirt from scratching the paint.

If you want to know which brand has one of the best wash mitt, head over to this article – Microfiber Madness for more info.


Dry Car Wash


One innovative method recently developed in the automobile industry is a dry car wash or waterless car wash.

It’s a sad fact that we live in a time where we have to restrict our usage of many resources because we’re simply lacking. One of these resources is water.

Some areas are already placed with heavy water restrictions, and it seems a waste to use buckets full for car washing.

So, experts created a way for people to wash their car even without water.

By using a spray nozzle feature on the product bottle, you can use rinseless car washes on the surface of your car to clean it.

It lessens water contamination and overall use. It is also an excellent alternative for people who live in the city.

Learn more about this excellent product and where to buy it by reading the No Rinse Car Wash article.

Also, check out the Optimum No Rinse and Meguiars Waterless Car Wash since they are great examples of a rinseless wash product.


Best Car Wash Soap

To better get rid of impurities and other contaminants on your vehicle’s surface, you will need the best car soaps and shampoos in your routine.

Remember to get soaps and shampoos formulated specially for automobile use.

These products are sure to be gentle and effective on your car’s paint.

Your regular dish wash soap is not suitable for car washing as these detergents contained fine abrasive that can scratch your car’s paint.

So, what soap to use to wash cars?

Soap is something that is chosen mostly depending on your personal preference. You can choose between different scents.

As long as its specifically for cars, you’re good to go.

Check out the car soaps everyone’s buying over at the Best Car Wash Products article.


What Can I Use to Wash My Car?

Now that you know more about the actual car washing, how often should you wash your car?

Most experts recommend washing your car every two weeks or so throughout the year as a general rule. If you live in an area with a lot of salt — either from a nearby ocean or from salt trucks on the winter roads — you probably should wash it more, as salt can corrode the metal and cause rust. – How Stuff Works

Seeing that you will have to wash your car twice a month or more, you should be ready!

Cleaning your vehicle is hard work. It’s even harder if you don’t have the right tools on hand.

You will need supplies like car wash shampoo, buckets, soft towels, and a hose.

Of course, these are just the basic materials you need. You can also get additional products like a grit guard, washing mitts, a pressure washer, and etcetera.

While car washing is definitely time-consuming, you’ll feel very satisfied when you see it shine brightly after everything.

If you want to know what are the car washing materials use by the auto enthusiasts to get a fantastic result, read this Best Car Wash Products article.


Can I Use Shampoo to Wash My Car?

As long as you’re using shampoos that are non-abrasive, you’re safe.

Liquid and laundry detergents contain fine abrasives that can do more harm than good on your paint.

However, hair shampoo does not have abrasives, so they’re technically okay.

But since they aren’t made for car use, you might not get the best results. It’s safe to recommend as a last resort if you ran out of car shampoo.

So, there you have it. You have learned the best way to dry a car, how to wash a car, the best product to use to wash and dry a vehicle and much more.

Do you find this article helpful for you? Let us know if we miss out anything by commenting it below.

  • Updated May 13, 2019
James Evans

As a passionate outdoorsman and an automobile enthusiast, James spent most of his time in his garage tinkering with cars and bikes. During his free time, he loves to hike and blog about the things that he has done to keep his ride in tip-top condition.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 1 comments
Mark William - September 29, 2019

The Interesting thing is many of us don’t know the use of leaf blower to dry something. Don’t feel scared to think that leaf blower will damage the car or inefficient. This article will let you know why and how to find the best leaf blower in this purpose.


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