Detailing Clay: Everything You Need To Know

What is automotive detailing clay? 

Auto Detailing Clay is an engineered resin compound used to remove contaminants from the surface of your car. Clay is a much better option than polishing to remove these contaminants as it doesn’t remove any paint. Use clay  before applying your choice of wax or paint sealant to enable a better bond or proper adhesion to the paint.

How do I know if clay is right for me? 
There's a simple way to test this. After thoroughly washing your car feel the surface of the paint. Any bumps or rough spots you feel are contaminants stuck to the finish of your car. The stuck-on contaminants can include everything from bugs, brake pad dust, road tar, and much more. Besides the obvious aesthetic downfalls, these contaminants can also be extremely detrimental to the health of your paint. 

Tip: Using a piece of cellophane to cover your fingertips, apply some water or clay lubricant and run your covered fingertips over the paint. The cellophane helps magnify your sense of touch and is also a good way to observe the before and after effects of claying.

How do I use it?
  1. Before using any clay please wash your vehicle thoroughly removing as much of the dirt, grime, and other contaminants from the surface as possible. It is highly recommended that you hand-wash your vehicle as automatic washes leave behind plenty of soap residue and other contaminants. Your vehicle does not have to be completely dried. 
  2. Using your hands, squeeze and roll the clay until it’s pliable disc. The warmth of your hands should help soften the clay. Once pliable, roll it into a ball and flatten.*Does not apply to clay sponge
  3. Graciously apply lubrication spray (for best results) or water to the surface you wish to clay, as well as the clay itself if you wish. Never clay a dry car. As this is a sure way to scratch your paint or finish.
  4. Using a back and forth snaking motion, using light to medium pressure, gently rub the clay onto your paint. Avoid working in circular motions to avoid marring.
  5. When your clay bar gets dirty, refold and flatten. Knead and reform the bar often as fresh parts should be used on your car’s paint as much as possible.*Does not apply to clay sponge
  6. After a few passes, check the area for any bumps. You should be able to feel a distinct difference between clayed and un-clayed areas.
  7. Continue claying each area until smooth and all surface contamination bumps are gone. Similar to waxing, it's best to work in small areas, section-by-section
  8. Finally, wipe any lubricant or clay residue off with a soft microfiber towel. Rinse off your clay with water and test your surface for smoothness.
  9. If you'd like to polish the car’s finish, do this after claying but before waxing or sealing.
  10. (Optional, but recommended) Apply a coat of wax or sealant. Claying can often reveal holes in your paint that were have previously filled with contaminants, waxing or sealing protects your paint from corrosion. 

Useful Tips & Notes:

  • Avoid claying under direct sunlight in order to prevent your lubricant from evaporating too quickly
  • Check the clay frequently for hard particles or contaminants and remove them as necessary
  • Apply clay lubricant or water generously, ensuring not to let the surface your are claying dry-out
  • You can clay most areas of your vehicle including plastic, glass, and chrome surfaces
  • We recommend that you clay a car that's kept outside around 4 times a year, or 1-2 times a year if it's mostly kept in a garage or covered parking
  • If the clay bar is dropped on the ground, THROW IT OUT. Don't risk damaging your paint as the clay would have trapped contaminants from the ground.

We wish you all a happy claying!