What is the Best Wash Mitt for Avoiding Paint Scratches?

What is the Best Wash Mitt for Avoiding Paint Scratches?

When I tell people that washing and drying their car is one of the most dangerous and risky things you can do when it comes to your cars paintwork, they often look at me like I am crazy ( Although that may be true in some cases, not this one). People think that they are doing the best they possibly can to look after their pride and joy on a Sunday morning, out in the driveway with their bucket and sponge, but more often than not they are degrading the overall finish of the vehicle.

The fact of the matter is that Poor washing techniques and using the wrong tools for the job can cause unsightly swirls in the paint or degrade the finish over time requiring compounding ( Machine Polishing ) to correct the problem. I have spoken about this in length in some of my other posts, but any time you are physically coming in contact with the car’s paintwork you are at risk of causing some sort of swirling or damage.

If you are not familiar with how a swirled car looks, here are some pretty good examples. This is what you want to avoid!

Best Car wash mitt

best car wash mitt


Undoubtedly, the best and most effective way for avoiding these types of swirls is to minimize the amount of contact you have with the car’s paint, this can be achieved by implementing a good pre-wash step ( such as Snow Foaming ) into your car cleaning routine. However, not everyone has access to a power washer and a Snow foam lance at their disposal. Aside from that, some people enjoy the action of washing down their car by hand ( I know because I am one of them ), so it is important to know the very best way to do this safely, without harming the paint.

Why Typical Car Sponges are Crap ( And Dangerous for Your Paint! )

I’m sure we are all familiar with how a typical car sponge looks. This is what most people would imagine when they think of a sponge for washing a car. This was the standard tool for many years for most. Millions of people wash their car using a sponge still to this day, but I can guarantee you there are better ways!

best car wash mitt

Well, the standard yellow rectangular sponge you see above does hold just as much if not more water than mitts, they don’t have any ‘give’ in them as they tend to have a flat face.

As you run the sponge over the paintwork of the car these grit and dirt particles become trapped between the face of the sponge and the cars paint – these particles have nowhere to go due to the sponge having no give.

When you wipe the sponge across the paintwork, you wipe the sharp grit particles straight across the paint leaving a thin hairline scratch. These little scratches are very visible in bright light because they catch the light, and this is what gives you the dreaded swirl marks that deprive your paint of deep gloss and rich colour and in turn ruin your car’s look.

This may be a shock to anyone reading this who still uses this type of sponge, But it’s like rubbing your car with sandpaper!

It is time to take the next step and start using wash mitt instead of a crappy sponge.

What is a Car Wash Mitt?

Car wash mitts have been developed to get around the problem of sponges trapping grit particles in the flat face. If you run your fingers through a wash mitt, you can see that it is a deep pile and not flat-faced like the typical sponge. When the wash mitt is placed onto dirt particles on the surface of the car, the grit particles are absorbed into the mitt – safely away from paintwork so that there is less chance of scratching the paint.

Many wash mitts also have a non-slip elastic cuff for a great fit meaning it is less likely to be dropped, unlike a sponge. Another benefit of Car Wash Mitts is that They can be easily washed and the bright colours make inspection quite easy to find any nasty contaminants hidden within.

They are just an all-round better tool for getting your car washed safely. So, what is the Best Car Wash Mitt available?


Best Car Wash Mitt


What Are The Different Types Car Wash Mitt?

1) Chenille Microfiber Mitts

The chenille microfiber wash mitt is pretty well known to most people in the detailing community. It normally has long strands of microfiber ( Microfiber is always good when it comes to car cleaning safety ) that is made up of much smaller strands tangled together. This particular type of wash mitt is relatively easy to keep clean and is pretty long-lasting. I am using one of these at the moment and it has lasted ages without degrading – and I wash my car a lot!

The dirt easily escapes the wash mitt since there are fewer fibres around the entire wash mitt when compared to a wool mitt. The chenille wash mitt is great at removing dirt that is stuck to the paint since they are normally more aggressive with dirt removal compared to their fluffy wash mitts.

One thing that I will say about the chenille wash mitts is that they hold less soap compared to the wool mitts. Below are some examples of good quality Chenille Microfiber Mitts available to buy online.

Mothers 968801 Premium Chenille Car Wash Mitt


best car wash mitt

Chemical Guys  Chenille Microfiber Premium Scratch-Free Wash MittBest Car Wash Mitt

Relentless Drive Ultimate Car Wash Mitt

Best Car Wash Mitt

2) Wool / Sheepskin Car Wash Mitts

Wool mitts are one of the best types of wash mitts you can buy. They are very absorbent so they hold a lot of soapy water. This helps immensely with lubricating the paint during washing ( This is another important factor when trying to minimize micro-scratches and swirls in your cars paintwork.

The longer fibres also help trap the dirt and bring it away from the surface – which is exactly what you want to happen. Wool wash mitts are super soft and very plush which is the main benefit to using them. These are great for doing your maintenance washing on a car that you want to minimize scratching on.

A couple of points that I want to note about wool or sheepskin wash mitts is that they tend to not last as long as chenille or synthetic wash mitts ( Because these are REAL wool ). They also are a bit harder to keep clean.

Some may argue that shorter life span may be worth the extra benefits though. . Below are some examples of good quality Wool Wash miTts available to buy online

Mothers Genuine Lambswool Wash Mitt

Best car wash mitt


Carpro Wool Wash Mitt

best car wash mitt

EZ Wash Mitt Single Sided Lambswool


best car wash mitt


3)Synthetic Wool Wash Mitts

Since wool wash mitts are so highly regarded, many manufacturers have been trying to lengthen the lifespan and make them even better. This is how the synthetic wool wash mitt came to life.

The good thing about synthetic wash mitts is that they give you all the fluff of the real wool wash mitt with the longevity of a chenille wash mitt. These type of car wash mitt pretty much give all the same benefits as the wool wash mitt. They suffer slightly in absorbency and cleaning power but trade for longevity. A Synthetic wash mitt can potentially last you are the very long length of time!

Synthetic wash mitts can come in varying shapes, sizes, fibre lengths, materials, etc. The most important thing in finding a good quality wash mitt is picking one that’s soft while having long enough fibres to safely trap dirt, which will result in fewer scratches in your cars paintwork.

Below are some examples of good quality Synthetic Wash mitts available to buy 

Chemical Guys ACC144 Bear Claw Scratch Free Premium Wash Mittbest car wash mitt

Detailer’s Choice 2-316 Heavy Duty Wash Mitt

best car wash mitt

SM Arnold 85-310 Extra Large Spun Gold Wash Mitt

best car wash mitt

What is the Best Car Wash Mitt for Avoiding Scratches?

You honestly can’t go wrong with any type of wash mitt that I have listed above, ANY of them will be miles better than the typical car wash sponge, and much safer on your paintwork. Authentic wool wash mitts will always be a safe bet if you aren’t sure which one to go for, but they can be a little more expensive than Microfiber mitts or synthetic mitts, and probably won’t last as long.

To be honest, The wash mitt itself is less important than using the proper 2 Bucket Wash Procedure, which I will outline in more detail in another post. As well as making sure you wash the car safely, a proper car drying technique will also need to be used to avoid scratches and swirls

I would be interested to hear your personal opinions and car wash mitt favourites in the comments below, so feel free to have your say.

If you want to read about some of the car shampoos I recommend – you can check them out HERE

Happy Detailing!


About the Author – Darren O Hara

Darren is the founder of the DriveDetailed blog and is a keen detailing enthusiast living in the rainy south of Ireland. When he is not cleaning his car he is always researching ways he can improve his techniques and enjoys testing out out new products.

Darren currently drives an Audi TTRS and is a big fan of performance cars.

You can follow Darren on Instagram @darrenoharacork

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