How to Properly Dry Your Car After Washing [5 Expert Tips]

When you’ve gone to the trouble of washing your car to get it nice and clean, don’t make the rooky mistake of letting it drip dry, you need to properly dry it.

If you don’t dry it properly, spots and streaks will appear on the paintwork and ruining your hard work.

Plus, if you want to apply a layer of wax afterwards, then the car should definitely be dry beforehand.

Top tips for drying your car after washing

Below are some top tips for the quickest and most effective drying process:

  1. Keep out of sun light when washing

When washing your vehicle, it’s best to do this out of direct sun light, this will minimize the heat on the vehicle and prevent it from drip drying before you have had the chance to manually dry it.

If you’re washing your car during the summer months, then it’s best to try doing it early in the morning before the sun gets too warm.

Again, this will help reduce any swirl marks or spots from drip drying.

  • Use the correct materials:

Don’t use a standard bathroom towel or anything else, you need to use the proper materials and save them for this purpose. The best options are microfibre drying towels or a chamois:

Microfibre Drying Towel

The best method for drying your vehicle after washing is to use a microfibre drying towel. These are made of finely woven threads that are highly absorbent but will not damage your vehicle.

It’s important to use a towel that has been designed especially for this purpose.

Microfibre towels are detailers best friend, they are great for many other purposes too including waxing, polishing and cleaning the interior.


A leather chamois is the old school way of drying a vehicle, before microfibre was invented.

Originally, these would be made from the skin of the Chamois mountain goat, but many manufacturers will make synthetic chamois cloths now.

As well as being highly absorbent, they are soft too which is gentle on your vehicle.

A chamois is slightly harder to use than a microfibre towel, you need to keep it slightly damp which seems counter-intuitive when trying to dry your car but helps the chamois glide across the surface.

  • Use the top-down method

Just like when washing your car, it’s best to dry it from top to bottom. Starting with the roof and windows and ending with the bumpers and wheels.

This is because water will continue to drip down the vehicle until it is completely dry, you don’t want drips from wet areas all across the areas you’ve dried as this will undoubtedly cause streaking.

  • Use asqueegee to remove excess water

A squeegee or rubber blade can be used to remove excess water as you dry the vehicle.

The squeegee can e dragged across the surface to wipe off the liquid and save the drying towel from getting too wet. This is good if you only have one drying towel.

You need to be extra careful using squeegees or rubber blades, if some dirt gets caught under the tool, it can cause serious damage to your vehicle’s paintwork as you drag it across.

To effectively use the squeegee, dry the vehicle one section at a time, using the squeegee first and then a drying towel to make it extra dry.

  • Use a car blow drier for hard-to-reach areas

If you have the luxury of accessing a car blow dryer, this can be excellent for drying those hard-to-reach areas. This is a technique that professional detailers will often use.

You should use the blow dryer alongside a microfibre cloth or chamois to get the best results.

A can of pressurized air can do the same thing, however it’s not great for the environment to keep buying these each time so many people will have an electric blow dry for cars. This costs more initially but will have the benefit in the long term.

You shouldn’t use other equipment such as a leaf blower as this can damage your vehicle with all the small pieces of dirt that may be in the machine from previous use.

How to wash your drying towels

As I mentioned earlier, you should only use your microfibre drying towels for drying your vehicle.

You will still need to wash them after each use, this should be done in a separate wash from your regular laundry otherwise they may pick up bits of lint. You should use cold or lukewarm water and avoid hot water.

Make sure your detergent doesn’t have many additives or scents and try to use just a tiny amount. A liquid detergent is preferable over powder as the powder may get stuck in the fine threads of the drying towel.

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