What Is Detailing Clay and What Does It Do for Your Car?

We know what you want. You don’t want your car to be just clean. You want your car to be detailed clean

There are plenty of ways to clean a car, but if you want your car to look like it’s going to a car show, you’ll need to use the secret detailing weapon the pro’s use.

Detailing clay!

Read on as we share what this material is and how it can transform your efforts.

What Is Detailing Clay and What Does It Do for Your Car?

Automotive detailing clay—also known as a clay bar, is a specially-made resin mixture that is used to remove dust, dirt, and other contaminants from the surface of a vehicle.

Detailing clay looks like natural clay you see at craft stores. Like natural clay, detailing clay has an elastic-like quality to it that can be stretched and molded.

The moldability of a clay bar gives you the options to roll or flatten it, which makes it easier for you to use it on different sections of your car.

Using a clay bar removes contaminants from the surface of your car without having to use chemicals that may harm the surface. Brake dust, metal particles, and tree sap are typically removed with a clay bar.

What Comes in a Clay Bar Kit?

A clay bar kit typically comes with a few key components. These include:

Clay Bars

A kit comes with one or two pieces of detailing clay that is usually 2 to 8 oz. Clay bars can last as long as 18 months to two years if used on the same vehicle.

Microfiber Towels  

What you’ll also find in the kit are microfiber towels. These are the industry standard when it comes to car detailing. The fiber of these unique towels are made from polyester and polyamide.

The tiny fibers in microfiber are 1/100th thinner than human hair, which makes these fibers less likely to scratch the surface of a car.

Detailer Spray

Detailer spray is what you spray on the vehicle to lubricate its surface. This makes it easier to slide the detailing clay from side to side. 

Detailer spray is specially formulated to work with clay bars so you won’t have to worry about it ruining your clay bar.

If you don’t use detailer spray, the clay bar will stick to the vehicle and will make it difficult for it to glide smoothly over the surface.

Is Automotive Detailing Clay Safe to Use?

If used correctly, the answer is “yes.” Detailing clay is nonabrasive to the surface of a car, but you still need to take some precautions. If you drop it on the floor, trash it—you don’t want dirt getting stuck and scratching your paint.

Always use detailer spray, so you get the best lubrication between the paint and clay bar. If the clay bar looks dirty with pollutants, its best to use a new piece.

If you are unsure about using detailing clay, take it to a professional auto detailer.

Is Detailing Clay the Same, or Are There Different Types?

Not all detailing clay is the same. The ones available to the public come in three different grades.

Fine Grade

Fine grade clay bars are perfect for the beginner car detailing enthusiast. They are the softest out of the other two grades and are the easiest to use. Fine grade clay is suitable for surfaces that are lightly contaminated and for cars that are washed regularly.

Medium Grade

Medium grade is a more aggressive clay. It is thicker and heavier than fine grade clay. experienced car detailing enthusiasts often use medium grade clay. Medium grade takes more time and attention to use because it can leave marrings that need to be polished later.

Medium grade clay will be more useful for stubborn debris that fine clay won’t be able to take off.

Heavy Grade 

Heavy grade clay will remove overspray and other difficult contaminants to remove. Just a reminder: Using a heavy grade spray can take the clear coat off of the surface, so make sure you only use the heavy grade for deep, difficult pollutants embedded in the surface.

Can You Use a Clay Bar on Other Surfaces of the Car?

You sure can! Any smooth surface on your vehicle with contaminants can benefit from a clay bar treatment. Plastic trim, windows, and wheels can be cleaned with a clay bar.

What Is the process of a Clay Bar Treatment?

There is a process when using detailing clay. Follow these directions for best results:

1. Wash and Dry Your Car

Before using a clay bar, you want to remove as much dirt as possible. Use the two bucket method to wash the car. Once it has been washed, dry your vehicle. 

2. Get Your Kit Ready

Make sure you have your microfiber towel, spray lubricant, and clay bar pieces on a clean table where no other contaminants can accidentally get on your supplies.

If possible, take your car in your garage—that way, dust, pollen or dander won’t get on your vehicle during the process.

3. Start Claying

For best results, you want to start claying the car in small sections, no bigger than 2 square feet.

Start spraying your detailer spray and rub the clay side to side in your 2×2 area.

At first, you may feel the detailing clay grip on the paint surface even with the detailer spray on there. Don’t worry, this is normal. As you go side to side, the grip level will reduce the more you go back and forth. 

Continue this process until all surfaces have been covered.

4. Check Your Work

Get close and check to see if there are any other noticeable pollutants. If you find any dirty spots, start the process again until its gone.

5. Rinse And Dry

After you have covered all surfaces, rinse your car with water—if possible, use distilled water. Rinsing will remove any residue or loose pieces of clay.

After the car has been rinsed, use a clean microfiber towel to dry the vehicle. After that, the clay bar treatment process is finished.

What’s Next After a Clay Bar Treatment?

Using detailing clay is just one step in a complete detailing job. There are other steps you need to take, such as paint correction, polishing, and waxing.

Drive-thru car washes may not only damage your car but leave you feeling like you’ve wasted money once you see all the grit and grime left behind after you drive through it. 

If are in the Tampa area and you want your car taken to the next level of clean, contact us and we will take care of your car detailing needs.

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