It may seem so simple or so needless, but I assure you that if you have a boat, it will benefit from the small amount of time it takes to dry it off after a good cleaning. Eliminating hard water spots are one major aspect of using a chamois, but getting salt that has been missed during cleaning is another.
While we still use a hand chamois for certain items, the chamois mop is one of the greatest tools in boat cleaning.
One reason is the fact that you don’t have to bend over for low places and you can reach high spots. Being able to whip it around pipes and rails is another plus. Once the mop starts smearing instead of soaking it up, you know it is time to wring it out.
I highly recommend only using one with a wooden handle because it is very forgiving if you bump something. For years we bought mops on a broom handle, as they were a standard in the industry. Once I started making fishing tools out of bamboo that I grow, I was amazed at how a little bit of flex in the pole improved the function of the mop. That little bit of flex allows you to whip the mop around objects and it was much lighter. Even if you don’t have ready access to bamboo, the same method can be used with a wooden broom handle and the resulting mop will work great.
No chamois lasts forever, so a balance of budget and function must be struck. I prefer the synthetic Absorber chamois as it soaks up the most water for the money and last a season if not allowed to dry out. Each time it dries out, it works less. You would think that staying wet in a container would make it mold, but it does not. The Absorber is not specific to marine stores; so don’t pay a “marine” premium. I get them at Wal-Mart as they consistently have the best price on them. You will want to buy two for each mop as it will bulk up the mop and let it hold more water.
Here is how I do it:
First find the pole you wish to use. I cut a piece of “Fishing Pole” bamboo that is about a half inch to three quarter inches around. It is stiff, but still has some flex to it. Again, a wooden broom handle worked for years if that is what you can find. I coated the bamboo handle with clear epoxy to seal it and prevent it from molding. The broom handle was bare wood and worked fine. I make it about 4 to 5-feet long depending on personal preference. Too long and you are hitting things behind. Make it long enough to mop the floor without bending down.
I place the first Absorber chamois over the end of the pole. They are rectangular so center it up as best as you can.
Take some nylon string or Dacron and lay over the end. Be sure to leave a long tag end so that you can put a finish knot in later.
Start laying half hitches over the last two inches of chamois to secure it tightly around the pole end. Pull tight after each half hitch to cinch it down.
Once you have covered about two inches of material, you can use the two tags to tie a knot so that your string does not unravel. You can melt the ends with a flame if you want.
Now place a second chamois over the pole. I let the long side of the rectangle lay the opposite way as the first one.
Repeat the half hitches to secure the second chamois, just as we did for the first. It is important that all aspects are done very tightly so that the chamois does not just pop off the pole.
Next invert the mop so that the chamois hang down with gravity. Lay them out as neatly as you can for the next step.
Around the top of the two inverted chamois, you put more wraps of string to finish off the mop. Half hitches followed by a finishing knot.
Now I take scissors and cut the chamois into three inch strips. I only cut about two-thirds of the way up so that you maintain a good connection to the head of the mop. Too thin and they will rip off the mop head. Because the chamois is a rectangle, you will not get perfect strips, but do you best.
You now have a custom mop to easily dry you boat after each cleaning. Be careful not to get your mop in sand, grease or other contaminants. If you hit salt crystals from a missed spot, then stop and rinse your mop. We fill a bucket with some water and plunge the mop in as a way to rinse the mop. You don’t want to scratch the boat’s finishes as you dry them.
As I said before, you want the Absorber to always stay moist, but not soaking wet. Wring it out before storage and put it in a plastic bag with a cord keeper or Velcro strap to prevent drying. When the chamois wears out, cut it off and put on a new one.