Car Care & Tips – Using a Clay Bar to Remove Paint Contamination

By Auto News Log • August 9th, 2010

How to use clay bars

Clay bars should always be used on freshly washed, clean surfaces. Dirt on the surface could cause scratches.

Work on areas of about three square feet. Lightly mist the surface with the lubricant. Glide the clay bar across the lubricated area until finish is smooth and contaminants are removed. Wipe the surface with a clean dry towel and continue in sections until the entire vehicle is complete.

As the bar becomes soiled, simply pull, stretch and refold to expose a new, clean side. When the bar becomes totally soiled (dark colored) discard it. A 2 oz. bar should clean at least 5 to 7 cars. Do not use a bar dropped on the ground.

After claying, the surface should be as smooth as glass. Remove any remaining smudges with a clean dry towel. Microfiber towels are perfect for removing clay residues. Mist the surface with the lubricant if necessary to make the final wipe down easy.

Tech Note: Clay bars will not remove scratches, swirls, dull, oxidized paint or restore surface gloss. This is accomplished by polishing the surface after claying. Polishing alone will not remove paint contamination.

Polishing and Finishing:

After claying the surface, you have two options. If the vehicle’s paint is in like-new condition (good paint gloss and no swirls), you can finish by applying your favorite wax or paint sealant. If the finish shows any swirls or lacks luster, polish with a swirl remover or finishing polish and then apply a final coat of wax or paint sealant.

Frequency of use:

Clay will not remove paint or the clear coat finish. It can be used as often as necessary to keep the surface free of contamination and smooth.

Always apply a protective coat of wax or paint sealant after claying the surface.


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