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What is a Chamois?

Chamois defined

A beautiful car needs its paintwork and glass treated with kid gloves. And all you car detailers out there will know that the premium leather cloth for drying and polishing the bodywork is a chamois leather cloth.

Pure genuine chamois leather is leather made from the skin of the chamois goat, which is native to the European alps (you may have guessed this from the French spelling of the word “chamois”, which is pronounced “shammy” or “sham-wah”). And in case you’re worried about some rare endangered creature being hunted to extinction so you can have a perfectly shiny car, don’t worry. The chamios is found throughout mountain areas of Europe, including Turkey, and was introduced to New Zealand, where it took to the Southern Alps very successfully – almost to the point of being a pest.

Chamois cloth is prized for its softness and stretchiness (elasticity), as well as its ability to absorb water. Its sponginess makes it easy to wipe off fingerprints on any polished metallic surfaces, giving a high, flawless gloss. These properties make chamois leather ideal for washing and polishing your beloved machine. This softness is retained even after wetting and drying, unlike other leathers, which turn brittle and harsh after drying.

Other leathers are often called “chamois cloth.” These are other leathers – or even synthetic materials – that are used for car grooming. Goat skin and sheepskin are often used for this purpose and are sometimes sold by the unscrupulous as genuine chamois leather. Genuine chamois is not cheap – the chamois is not domesticated and it is a wily beast that lives in rugged terrain that even the best 4x4s would have trouble with – but for pure quality, it is unsurpassable.
We hope that helps answer the question ‘What is What is a Chamois?’!

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