Preparing a chamois for its first use is an important part of properly caring for your chamois. Before actually using it for the first time, the following steps should be followed to help insure the genuine leather chamois performs as intended.
Wash the chamois in lukewarm water with a mild soap (preferably car wash soap). DO NOT USE harsh chemicals (such as bleach) or degreasers (like Dawn or Simple Green), laundry detergents or any other soaps not intended for use on a vehicles finish. A genuine leather chamois’ is made from sheep skin and tanned with fish oil to preserve the leather, and make them soft and absorbent. Washing a chamois with a harsh soap, chemical or degreasing soap will strip the natural oils from the cloth causing the unprotected leather to rot and fall apart. A chamois that has been washed in bleach or a degreaser will quickly become dry, brittle and begin to shed, leaving particles and pieces of itself all over the surface being dried. Fold the chamois over several times and twist until all of the water is squeezed out.
Rinse the cloth in clean rinse water. Both the soapy water and the rinse water will have a yellow tint the first few times these steps are repeated. This is residual tanning oils being removed from the cloth. An excess of these oils can help preserve a chamois if its stored for long periods or in a hot dry climate, but it is essential to remove these before using. The fats and oils will streak on a surface if they are not prepped before use, which can be very noticeable on a black, dark colored vehicle. Fold the chamois over several times and twist until all of the water is squeezed out.
Repeat Steps 1 and 2, with clean water, until the rinse water is no longer tinted yellow and is completely clear. Hang up to dry (not in direct sunlight) or use right away.