This great question was submitted by one of the Detailed Image Ask A Pro readers:
How long does a Sheepskin Mitt last and what is the best way to take care of it?
Well the answer to those questions are actually directly related. How long they last is dependent upon how well you take care of them. I’ve got one (of the several) in my arsenal that has seen frequent use for over a year now, and still looks and feels new.
Remember that just like your microfiber towels, the sheepskin wash mitt comes in direct contact with your delicate paint. So if you wish to maintain a swirl-free finish on your paint, you need to make sure that both your wash mitts and your microfiber stay clean and are well maintained.
Assuming that you’re using Grit Guards during your wash routine, the wash mitt should be relatively free from heavy debris when you’re done. Even so, it’s always good to thoroughly rinse out the wash mitt afterwards. You can either put the hose inside the wash mitt to flush debris from the inside out, or you can soak it in a bucket of clean water so that any debris will dislodge itself from the fibers. After this step you can wring out the excess water, and then rapidly swing it back and forth to force as much water out of it as possible. At this point you can either hang it (preferred method) or drape it over the edge of one of your clean buckets to dry.
Some people may stop here, but I always take it one step further. After completely rinsing/flushing out the wash mitt, I’ll then completely hand wash them in the sink just to make sure there’s no damaging debris hiding in the fibers anywhere. A few minutes of caution can prevent many hours of polishing! Just fill up the sink with warm water and add a little bit of your wash solution. I like to use Chemical Guys Citrus Wash for this. Rub the soap into the fibers of the wash mitt and visually inspect it for anything that’s not supposed to be there. Now allow the wash mitt(s) to soak in the sink for 10-15 minutes and occasionally agitate them a little to help remove any fine debris that might be hiding. When you pull them from the sink, don’t be surprised to see a little collection of dirt (swirl-inducers) at the bottom! Thoroughly rinse, wring, and take outside to swing the majority of water out of them. Now take them back in to air dry. Once they’re dry, I’ll do yet one more visual inspection. If I see any kind of tar that might be stuck to some of the fibers, I’ll clip them out with scissors.
A big mistake I see people make is to simply wring them out when they’re done washing the car, and then throw the wet wash mitt back into the bucket. If you don’t properly wash them and allow them to air dry, you’re asking for mold and mildew, and premature aging of your wash mitt. When storing your dry mitts, be sure they’re in a clean environment…don’t just throw them on a workbench where they can pick up dirt, debris, and other abrasive materials.
I hope this helps!