The Right Way
We emphasise a lot on our 21-Stage Wash and Decontamination, how swirl marks are caused and washing your car the right way to reduce the chances of instilling swirl marks, minor scratches and general wear and tear. Another major cause for imperfections is the way you dry your car.
Sadly, majority of the car owners use methods that are simply too aggressive for the paintwork of the car. Typical synthetic chamois or even leather chamois are main culprit, dragging with lots of friction making the surface 'squeaky' clean is actually not a good thing.
We are going to cover several methods you can use to dry your car properly without causing any chance of getting swirl marks and minor scratches on your car. Before that, we'll quickly cover some incorrect techniques.
Synthetic/Leather Chamois "Shammy"
Contrary to popular belief, chamois (leather or synthetic) causes more harm than good. Yes, it does try your car extremely well, absorbing water and leaving no streak marks on your car and windows and it can be squeezed out and reuse it again for the entire car without the need of using multiple cloths.
However, the main issue about chamois, doesn't matter if its leather or synthetic, is they are very grabby. They grab onto your paintwork and glide across with a strong friction. The chamois itself in addition to any possible dust or dirt particles or anything you missed during the washing stages may also be dragged along the surface causing scratches and marring.
If your detailer uses chamois to dry your car, be sure to ask them these 3 Questions we listed to make sure they are doing the right thing by you and your car. Also request them use clean microfibre towels as a drying aid instead.
Letting it dry naturally
A lot of car owners tend to let their car dry naturally. That is good to a certain extent because they are avoiding any chances of instilling any imperfections on to the paintwork caused by friction.
However, the one major disadvantage to allowing the water to naturally dry is the risk of leaving water spots on your vehicle. Particularly on the flat panels like the roof, boot and especially the bonnet as the engine heat can accelerate that process.
The only situation where allowing the car to dry naturally without any issues is using filtered water. Typically a 0ppm - 2ppm filter will remove all iron, calcium and other minerals commonly found in our tap water. This means that when the water evaporates, it leaves no minerals behind to form watermarks.
The only other alternative is to have a high quality paint protection product (Wax/Sealant/Coating) that provides good hydrophobicity and drive a loop on a high speed road so the water runs off the surface.
Microfibre Drying Towels and Air Blow Technique
Replace your synthetic or leather chamois with a microfibre one. Either a proper microfibre drying towel or a waffle weave towel will produce fantastic results. They are able to be used dry, soak up immense amounts of water. Furthermore, they has much less friction as they glide over the surface, this means less chances of scratches and swirl marks.
Tip - Make sure to have 2-3 towels for personal use. Dropping the towel on the ground or excessively wet towels are less effective.
Another component that most forget is all the water hiding in side mirrors, door handles of in the jambs of doors. After a few minutes or after opening the doors, water pours out and leaves water marks on the car. To avoid this, simply firmly open and close the doors and boot a few times to shake out the water. A much more effective solution is to use a blower or an air compressors to blow the excess water away.
Drying Aids & Spray Waxes
Another additional factor when helping drying your vehicle is to introduce a dedicated drying aid or more commonly found a spray wax. While drying a panel, simply spraying a small amount onto your towel of the surface will make the cloth more slick and glide over the surface easier. Furthermore, the spray wax will actually help absorb more water meaning faster drying and better results.
We have found using this method to decreases the likelihood of swirls and also allows the car to be dried in 20-30% quicker.