Wash & Dry

How to Dry a Car After Washing Properly? – 3 Methods

Written by Howell Crist / Fact checked by Sam Howard

how to dry a car after washing

One of the most common misconceptions about car drying is leaving it to air dry in the sun. Understandably, letting the sun work its way can be convenient, but doing so will eventually give you more damage than you can imagine.

Once evaporation occurs, water spots will form on the car’s surface. The debris and particles combined with it will also harden. As a result, you have a car with annoying marks and scratches.

Hence, it is essential to know the best way how to dry a car after washing it. There are various options presented below:

1. Microfiber Towel Method 


With a microfiber towel, drying your car is very convenient since these pieces are commonly made from polyester/nylon materials and are available at any of your local stores.

The material of the microfiber towel makes it easier to absorb water. Also, compared to the average cloth to dry car, it doesn’t crease, maintaining smooth wiping.

  • Its soft feature makes it gentle and safe for paints and other vehicle surfaces.
  • A damp microfiber towel minimizes scratching by reducing friction.
  • Inexpensive microfiber towels may shed cotton particles.
  • Low-quality microfiber towels may leave marks.

Steps to follow

  • Step 1: First, wet the microfiber towel in water and squeeze out the excess water.
  • Note: Damp microfiber towel is advisable over dry ones because it decreases the friction when wiping the surfaces of your vehicle.
  • Step 2: Then, use the gentle wiping motion for car drying. You can wipe the top part of the car first before moving on to the bottom areas.
  • Step 3: Squeeze the towel during the process when it already absorbs much water.
  • Note: Ensure the towel is free from dirt to avoid the risk of scratches or streaks. Also, never use a towel that has dropped on the ground because it absorbs the particles that’ll scratch your paint.
  • Step 4: Repeat the process until the vehicle is properly dry.

2. Car Blowers/Blow Dryer Method


This tool is mainly used by professional detailers depending on the model. It can either come with a compact battery or an electric one.

Compared with the average leaf blower, this blasts warm air that can blast any water from hard-to-reach surfaces. It also diminishes the risk of scratching the surface because drying is handheld.

  • Eliminates water spots because of its warm air feature.
  • Touches hard-to-reach surfaces without scratching
  • It is way more expensive compared to using microfiber towels.

Steps to follow

Once the car blow dryer is on, apply the up-and-down drying motion. As you don’t need any other tools for this, continue with the process until the car is dry.

Two things to note when using a car blow dryer:

  • Do not blast the air from the ground up; this will cause particles and grime to scratch the vehicle.
  • If you are using a corded car blow dryer, ensure that you are holding the cords correctly or that they are in a place where they won’t scrape the car.

3. Chamois Method


This tool can be a natural leather made from sheepskin, deer, goat, or synthetic rubber. It is also called shammy.

Compared to microfiber towels, this can be more expensive and harder to maintain, but it is commonly described as super-absorbent and can cover larger surfaces when car drying.

  • Unlike microfiber towels, one chamois is enough to dry a vehicle
  • With chamois, larger areas and surfaces will be covered
  • Needs to be appropriately wet before use, so it will take time to soak the chamois
  • It can dry extremely hard; storing it can be a challenge

Steps to Follow

  • Step 1: Dampen the chamois carefully.
  • Note: Ensure that the chamois is properly dampened because fresh chamois is extremely hard.
  • Step 2: Place it on the vehicle’s surface, and you can slowly pull it away, making it easier to cover larger areas.
  • Note: When using chamois, it is recommended to wipe in one motion.
  • Step 3: Once the chamois is extremely wet from drying, squeeze out the water and continue the process until the vehicle is dry.

Helpful Tips/FAQs

We’ve compiled most of the common questions asked in Reddit, check it out:

Can I use a bath towel to dry my car?

The bath towel can dry a vehicle, but it is not the best thing to dry your car; certainly not the right tool to do the job.

It leaves micro-damages on the vehicle’s surface since it is made from harsh materials.

One may not notice it, but bath towels strip off the clear coat of the vehicle, leaving the car with little protection.

How do I dry my car faster?

With microfiber towels, you can save a lot without hurting your pockets but for a faster and more expensive option, a car blow dryer is the key.

As mentioned, a car blow dryer blasts warm air that can efficiently dry the vehicle without directly touching the surface.

Should you dry a car after washing it?

Not drying car after wash is a no-no; always dry the car after detailing or after DIY washing. Doing so will help avoid the accumulation of water spots or streaks.

However, as mentioned above, even without microfiber towel, never opt for natural air drying; leaving it under the sun will form residue and particles that will damage the overall paint over time.


Drying the vehicle is the most common disregarded phase for beginners. Some just usually just let air dry car after wash or use the wrong materials.

One must remember that drying the vehicle properly is also one of the keys to preserving the overall look of your car.

So, now you know how to dry a car after washing it without scratching its surface. As long as you’ve researched the drying methods and utilized the proper tools, your vehicle will be dry in no time.

5/5 - (2 votes)

Our chief editor is Sam Howard. The vast market of car care necessitates extensive research. He entered the market, experienced the service, and reported customer feedback in order to provide the best advice and content to car owners. We have faith in him to turn our website into a reliable resource for all car owners.

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