How to Dry A Car After Washing In 5 Different Ways (No.4 Is Historical)

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You did it right by searching for the best guide on how to dry a car after washing.

Many automobilists don’t bother about drying their cars properly and instantly after washing.

I bet you are not like them.

Otherwise, you wouldn’t have landed on this page.

While it is an easy and less time-consuming task, you will end up scratching your vehicle if you don’t do it right.

I’ve come up with this article to guide you with all the best possible ways of drying your car without leaving any swirl marks.

Before I start showing the drying methods, allow me to mention some of the popular car washing methods first.

Different Car Washing Methods

Maybe you use to wash your car following one of the processes mentioned below:

Pressure Washing

how to pressure wash a car safely

Pressure washing is one of the most popular car washing methods. I have written an article on the steps of pressure washing a car.

Because it allows you to wash away any dirt or grime rigorously in a quick time without damaging car paint if you use the right nozzle.

Anyway, if you’re thinking of a pressure washer for car read this article.

Foam Cannon or Onboard Detergent Tank

foam cannon for car washing

You can use a car washing detergent from either the onboard detergent tank or a foam cannon while washing your car with a pressure washer.

Good car wash soap & Foam cannon makes the car surface foamier producing more suds than regular car washing detergent and gives the best result. You can check out the foam cannon adjustment procedure in my article.

Car Wash Mitts and Regular Garden Hose

While the pressure washing performs best but it is not the only way of washing a car.

You can wash your car with a microfiber wash mitts, sponge and regular garden hose to apply water.

Does your car need to dry after washing? 

In a word – yes.

Can you let your car air dry?


Your car needs drying right after you wash it.

I know, it will be air dried if you just keep it under the sun after washing. But at the end of the day, it might make your car look even uglier than it did before washing.


Let me explain.

Look, if you don’t dry the car manually and let the air do the drying, you may end up seeing some ugly looking water spots. That is not something you are expecting after washing it thoroughly, right?

Particularly if your car is black or any other dark-colored then these water spots will be more visible than what you would have expected.

Not only the watermarks but also you don’t want to see the residues left behind. On top of that, some compounds that leave behind can cause degradation to your car paint over time.

So, not drying your car after washing is not sensible. It is the utmost vital task instead.

Now let’s learn how to dry a car after washing.

You can follow several ways to dry a car efficiently. It depends mostly on your choice and availability of the drying tools.

Different Ways and Tools to Dry a Car After Washing

Here you go. Let’s check the different processes and tools of drying your car.

  1. Car Dryer / Blower
  2. Microfiber drying towels.
  3. Waffle weave towels.
  4. Chamois.
  5. Water blade.

Car Dryer / Blower

car drying with blower

Using a car dryer is the safest way to dry a car after washing. Because here you are not touching the surface of the vehicle at all. That means you don’t have to worry about any sort of scratch or swirl marks whatsoever.

While you can go for any dryer, I recommend you to buy a car dryer (particularly made for car drying) because the material that is used to make the tip of this type of dryer is kind of rubbery and bend easily.

This is vital to avoid any scratch if you touch the surface accidentally while drying the vehicle.

These blowers/dryers use pressurized air for the drying that helps to knock off all the water in a quick time.

The only drawback of a dryer or blower is it sounds a tad loud during the operation.

Microfiber Drying Towels

Using the microfiber drying towels is probably the most basic and easiest way to dry your car.

A good drying towel should have a silk line because it will help to protect your car from scratches.

First of all, fold the drying towel to half and gently drag it on the surface of your car.

If you don’t want to drag, no problem. Just place the towel onto the surface and start pressing the towel gently. It will soak the water and any sort of residue the surface might have.

As any microfiber drying towel is super soft and typically they have silk line, it won’t scratch the vehicle.

Using a towel takes longer than other methods to dry a car. Being said that, this is one of the safest ways.

It’s not a bad idea by any means to keep multiple towels while drying your car. Because it will allow using a new dry one when the one that you are using gets too wet.

To knock off the water from wheels and tires, you should use this type of towels.

Waffle Weave Towels

Waffle weave towel is another popular way of drying a car and it takes less time than using a microfiber drying towel.

This towel is as soft as the microfiber towel but absorbs a lot more water. About 500% more to be exact.

The main benefit of this kind of towels that attracts me most is, I can dry the whole car or SUV without ringing out the towel. Because as I said, it absorbs a lot of water at a time.

A quality waffle weave drying towel has pockets to put your hands in and cover a large area for drying with ease.

The working procedure is the same as you did with a microfiber drying towel.

You can drag the towel on the surface and the towel will pick up all the water. Another way is to just place the towel on the surface and press it. It will soak all the water.


So, if you are looking for a towel for a big vehicle and want to dry it a lot faster than the traditional microfiber drying towel, then go for a waffle weave towel.


Chamois is one of the oldest methods of drying anything including cars, SUVs, and any other vehicles.

You can buy both leather chamois or synthetic leather chamois. The synthetic leather chamois absorbs more water than the leather ones.

As it absorbs a lot of water in a quick time, you can expect a fast-drying using chamois.

You must have to wet the chamois before using it as the dry one will scratch the vehicle because it doesn’t have enough lubrication.

So, before you use it, wet it in the bucket then ring out as much water as you can.

Then just drag it onto the surface and it will pick up all the water in no time.

Using chamois is not my preferred way of drying a car, because if I forget to make it wet before I use it, it will scratch the vehicle.

Once you are done drying the car with chamois, don’t forget to rinse it with warm water without using any soap and let it dry.

Water Blade / Squeegee

So, let’s talk about some tools that are not a towel. A water blade is one of them.

You have to buy the water blades that are specifically designed for paint and automotive use.

Because a water blade for drying car is made from synthetic gel-type material which is flexible and ensures drying out the car without scratching or leaving any swirl marks.

You will see a T-shape at the bottom of the blade that lets you swipe the blade in any direction.

To use this tool, just swipe the blade gently from one end to another onto the surface and it will take out any water without causing any trouble whatsoever.

Don’t put any pressure. Simply swipe the blade and it will work. Make sure your car is free of debris while you are using a water blade as the debris will scratch the vehicle.

How do I dry out the inside of my car?

If the interior of your car gets wet for any reason drying it immediately is something you can’t afford to ignore.

Dry the vehicle carpet as soon as possible. You can use fans to dry the carpets. Leave the windows open. Turn on the heat inside.

You can use any wet/dry vacuum particularly made for cars to dry the car seats.

Drying Car with Paper Towel – A Bad Idea

Can you dry your car with a paper towel?

The answer is – no, not at all.

While a paper towel is ok for a glass window, it is not a good choice to dry your painted card. Because it is made from wood substance and can scratch the painted surface easily.

Picture this.

You are dragging a paper towel and it is leaving scratches behind.

I know it hurts.

A paper towel acts as a sanding paper on the painted surface.

I believe you are now convinced and won’t use this type of towel to damage your car paint. Period.

Can I Dry a Car with a Leaf Blower?

Yes, of course, you can.

Though I mentioned earlier that a blower or dryer that is particularly made for car drying is the best option, you can use a leaf blower too. Just don’t touch the tip of the blower with the surface of your car.

Make sure your leaf blower is clean and free of any debris inside. Otherwise, it will hit the surface and scratch the car in no time.

Leaf blowers also use pressurized air to knock off the water. This type of blower or any car dryer is a handy solution to deal with windshield wipers, gas caps, etc.

You can use both electric and gas-powered leaf blowers. However, the gas-powered ones are more powerful than the electric ones.

Best Way to Dry Car Without Scratching

If you want your car to be 100% safe from any scratching or swirl marks then you have to dry the car without having to touch it.

Yes, all the methods that I discussed in this article including the waffle weave towels or microfiber drying towels offer you scratch-free drying.

But tools like car dryer or blower is something where you can depend on 100% as you are not going to touch the surface here.

A leaf blower is also a good choice for scratch-free drying.

So, air drying a car is the best way to dry a car avoiding any sort of scratching whatsoever.

Final Thoughts

I’m sure you are quite known to the different car drying methods now.

In this article, I showed how to dry a car after washing with every possible method. I also mentioned all the do’s and don’ts to avoid any sort of scratching.

If you follow the instructions properly, rest assured you are not going to see any water spots or swirl marks.

Which one is my favorite way to dry my car? – Using a car dryer.

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