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Home > Auto Detailing Guide > Detailing Clay Guide

Detailing Clay Guide
Click to enlargeMaking the decision to use clay

In this article we will be discussing the practical applications of detailing clay bar. Today, over 90% of all factory finishes are clear coated, and thus, a need for detailing clay bar has risen. The clear coats, as beautiful as they are, can accumulate embedded contaminants. No amount of washing or polishing will remove these contaminants from your precious paint job, and once they are in, the only proven way to remove them is with detailing clay bars. A combination of the clay bar itself and a matching clay bar lubricant will ensure you that the job will go scratch-free.

What will clay remove?

A perfect driving record won’t save you form the numerous collisions your car makes every day with unavoidable airborne pollutants. These pollutants can be virtually anything, ranging from brake dust to industrial fallout and may contain damaging metal shavings. If these contaminants penetrate the clear coat, it is possible for them to oxidize and spread. Clay bars can prevent future corrosion by removing the harmful particles from your clear coat before they do serious paint damage.

Is it necessary to clay?

Because your vehicle can collect all manner of contaminants from just about anywhere, it is safe to say that a good claying is well due. Of course, different driving and storage conditions can affect the accumulation of these pollutants, but luckily, there is a simple way to test the validity of the problem. To test, begin by washing and drying your vehicle as normal. When you are finished, cover your hand with a plastic sandwich bag and gently rub the paint with your fingers. If the paint feels like sandpaper, then you have a real problem on your hands. The gritty spots you can feel through the plastic are the tell tale signs of contamination, and can be treated with products such as Pinnacle Ultra Poly Clay bar or Detailer's Pro Series Universal Detailing Clay. Using a clay lubricant while applying these products is well advised, as you would not want to scratch the paint while using the clay bar.

How to use clay: You can expect to find clay bars in either 100 gram bars, or the larger 200 gram bars, which you should cut down into halves for future use. To store your unused clay bars, moisten them with lubricant and place them in the provided storage case to prevent them from drying out prematurely. Properly stored clay bars will last about two years when used on a single vehicle. However, 100 grams of clay is enough repair three or four vehicles once. The average vehicle usually requires one or two applications of detailing clay every year.



Here are some instructions for claying your vehicle:

1. First, wash and dry your vehicle as normal.

2. Spray the clay lubricant on an area no larger than two square feet. This will help you to make your job more precise, and will also save you from wasting the clay lubricant by spraying more area than you can get to before it dries.


3. Lightly rub the clay back and forth across the lubricated area, but be prepared for the clay to give resistance. As the resistance gradually lessens, you can be assured that the grit is being removed. When the drag disappears altogether, it’s time to move on to another area. The clay might end up losing its shape after repeated uses. To avoid this, use the Wolfgang Polishing Pal with the specialized clay disc insert. This tool will help keep your pressure even as you clay.

4. Before moving on, you’ll want to remove any clay residue left behind. To do this, wipe away the clay lubricant with a Cobra Microfiber Detailing Cloth. After it is wiped down, glide your fingers across the restored, liquid smoothness. If it doesn’t meet your approval knead the clay to reveal a clean side and repeat the process.

If you are dealing with heavily oxidized paint, using clay first might not be the best idea. Instead, switch to a quality polish such as Klasse All-In-One and then remove the oxidation with your preferred orbital buffer. Following up with the clay soon afterward will bring out the greatest results.

5. Doing the entire car in sections is the most effective way to use your products. Applying the lubricant to your entire vehicle and then rushing across it with the clay will result in a waste of time, product and money. Take your time and work from one area to the next, applying the lubricant as you go.

6. When you are finished with the clay, it is advised that you immediately store it before doing anything else. This will optimize the clay’s lifespan. Remember, to properly store the clay, first spray it with the lubricant and then store it in an airtight container. It should not be stored in extreme temperatures nor should it be stored in a container housing other mixed products.

7. To protect the clean paint, top off the job with a quality wax or sealant such as P21S Concours Carnauba Wax or Wolfgang Deep Gloss Paint Sealant. Following these important steps will safeguard your coat and prevent any future corrosion from occurring.


Qty Wolfgang Polishin’ Pal ComboWolfgang Polishin’ Pal Combo FREE BONUS - WG-PP
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Qty Clay Disc for the Polishin’ Pal - Discs OnlyClay Disc for the Polishin’ Pal - Discs Only - WG-DISC
Now your Polishin’ Pal works with detailing clay! The Polishin’ Pal is a
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Qty Detailer's Pro Series Universal Detailing Clay is a special clay compound that safely and quickly removes contaminants that lie below the clear coat surface. DP Universal Detailing Clay will remove these contaminants and restore a glassy smooth finish to your vehicle.Detailer's Universal Detailing Clay - DP-720
Clay your way to a silky smooth finish with a bright glossy shimmer! Clear coat
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Our price: $24.95, 2/$44.95
Qty Pinnacle’s Ultra Poly Clay is the single finest clay composition available today. Ultra Poly Clay is substantially finer than our original Poly Clay, while maintaining all of its advantages.Pinnacle Ultra Poly Clay - PIN-510


Create a smooth-as-glass finish on paintwork, glass, metal and
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Our price: $19.95
Qty Pinnacle Ultra Poly Clay PLUS Special, detailing clay bar, car detail clay, clay bar kitPinnacle Ultra Poly Clay PLUS Special - PIN-550-K
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Qty 3M Perfect-It III Cleaner Clay, 3M Perfect-It III Cleaner Clay - 38070, 3M Perfect-It III Cleaner Clay - 38070, 3M Perfect-It  Clay - 380703M Perfect-It III Cleaner Clay - 38070 - 3M-38070
Safely remove overspray and debris from paint, glass, and chrome! 3M is known
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Qty Meguiars Professional Detailing Clay C2000, Meguiars Clay C2000, Meguiars Detailing Clay C2000Meguiars Professional Mild Detailing Clay C2000 - C-2000
Removes overspray and much more from your automotive paint! Clay is one of the
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Our price: $29.95
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Qty Meguiars Professional Detailing Clay – Aggressive, Meguiars Professional Detailing Clay – Aggressive C2100, Meguiars Detailing Clay C2100Meguiars Professional Detailing Clay – Aggressive C2100 - C-2100
The safe, chemical-free way to remove stubborn contamination. Meguiars
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Qty Meguiars Smooth Surface Clay Kit, detailing clay kit, meguiars clay bar kit, Meguiars Smooth Surface Clay Kit MG1016, Meguiars Clay Kit MG1016, Meguiars clay barMeguiars Smooth Surface Clay Kit MG1016 - MG-1016
The only way to make your paint as smooth as glass! Car wax is only as good as the
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Qty Mothers California Gold Clay Bar Paint Saving System, detailing clay kit, Mothers clay kit, auto detailng clay bar, clay bar kit, Mothers California Gold Clay Bar Paint Saving System - 2 Clay Bars, Mothers Clay Bar Paint Saving System Mothers California Gold Clay Bar Paint Saving System - 2 Clay Bars - MO-7240N
Twice the detailing clay gives you smooth, clean paint on 6 vehicles! Mothers
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Qty Detailer's Pro Series Universal Detailing Clay is a special clay compound that safely and quickly removes contaminants that lie below the clear coat surface.Detailer's Detailing Clay & Lube Special - DP-7200
Clean paint is essential to a clear, glossy finish. Tiny bumps and grit not only detract from the shine, they
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Retail Value $34.95


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