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How To Use A Clay Bar


Staff member
Nov 3, 2011
New Hampshire
V-Series Cadillac(s)?
Not Yet!
Editor’s Note:
To me ‘Claying’ is one of the most important steps in the car care process. The Clay will do a deep cleaning of the paint with its ability to safely remove Overspray, Rail Dust, Light Tree Sap Residue, Bug Splatter Industrial Fallout and General Road Grime.

The Clay Bar, known to professional detailers as a surface preparation bar, removes all those contaminants listed above so that there is nothing on the paint except for wax. It is not a wax and it leaves no residue behind. It is safe on all paint types and does no damage to the paint.

Before beginning make sure you have the following:

(Clay Bar and Lube) A Clay Bar System [see guide below]
(Towel) 100% Cotton Hand Size Towel
(Wrapper) Cellophane Cigarette Wrapper

In a well-lit, cool and dry area:

Step 1: Check for Surface Contaminants.
Technique: With two fingers inside the Wrapper gently glide it across the Surface. This will magnify any amount of Surface Contamination.
Tech Tip: Do not press down hard as you may free up some of the Surface Contaminants and scratch the Surface.

Step 2: Break off a 2 oz. portion of the Clay Bar.
Technique: Break off a 2oz piece of the Clay and roll it into a ball (store the remainder of the Clay in the container).
Tech Tip: If the Clay Bar is ever dropped onto the floor discard IMMEDIATELY.

Step 3: Saturate the Surface with the Lube.
Technique: Mist the Lube onto the Surface.

Step 4: Rub the Clay Bar onto the Surface.
Technique: Firmly press the ball of the Clay Bar onto the Surface to mold it to the contour of the Surface. Rub the Clay Bar on the Surface in a side-to-side motion with the Contour of the Panel.
Tech Tip: If the Surface begins to show any signs of drying wet again with the Lube.

Step 5: Wipe the Surface with the Towel.
Technique: Do not press hard onto the Surface with the Towel as you may induce some light surface scratches.
Tech Tip As you move from panel to panel 'fold' the clay to a new section.

Step 6: Inspect the Surface.
Technique: With the Wrapper inspect the Surface as in Step 1
Tech Tip: If the Surface still has some roughness to it repeat Steps 2 through 5.

Source: DetailingDude
The Blue Clay Bar:
I recently tested 3M's and ClayMagic's clay bar and have the same one that is imported from Japan (even has the same exact patent numbers on them, LOL). However, there is a tremdous price variation between the two with 3M's being around $5.00 less. I have found the 3M one for around $18. My Rating: Very Good.

The Yellow Clay Bar:
I recently tested Mother's and Zaino's clay bar and they appear to have the same exact one (although there is no patent number, LOL). Mother's clay bar is available for is available for around $18 as well but I was given my Zaino clay bar so I am not sure of the price. My Rating: Very Good

The White Clay Bar:
I tested Meguiar's clay bar a years ago and was not at all impressed. Meguiar's clay bar retails for $10. My Rating: Good

The Grey Clay Bar:
I recently tested Lusso's clay bar and the quality appears to be right in line with the 3M, ClayMagic, Mother's and Zaino. Lusso's clay bar retails for $14. My Rating: Very Good

The Red Clay Bar:
I have not recently tested AutoMagic's red clay bar. It contains a mild abrasive. I would recommend that this bar only be used in a professional bodyshop atmosphere. I will not give this product a rating.

Source: DetailingDude
I would like to try it.. but it sounds difficult... I'll have to watch some sort of youtube video before trying it myself...
I've never been comfortable with using a clay bar myself, but I know people swear by it.
The 'trick' to claying a vehicle, is making sure you keep the area you're claying WET!! It is no more difficult than waxing a car. Do it is sections and just keep the area wet as you go along. Once you have done a section, take a clean microfiber cloth and wipe the are dry. You will be amazed at how slick it feels and how the paint seems to shine much deeper! There are several brands out there and I've only tried a few. I'm partial to Griot's Garage products and use their clay with their Speed Shine product. I've also gotten to the point, I'm so comfortable doing it, I use my random orbital and their clay pad to do my cars. It cuts down on some of the time.

I clay my two V's at least twice a year and sometimes three. Once you have clayed your car, put a couple of coats of quality wax on and it will be an easy cleanup on the car when washing bugs off!

I would like to try it.. but it sounds difficult... I'll have to watch some sort of youtube video before trying it myself...

I've never been comfortable with using a clay bar myself, but I know people swear by it.
I've been on youtube for maybe 3-4 hours watching youtube video's on how to clay bar, polish, and wax... I am pretty comfortable now to where I am ready to do it when my v ships to me :)
I use a clay bar on the wheels also. All my wheels are painted and the brake dust gets into them pretty good. The clay bar gets the wheels clean and smooth also.

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