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Detailing with Clay
What is claying used for?

Clay bar products are used to removing paint over spray or surface contaminants resulting from pollution, such as acid rain spots, as well as tar, tree sap, bird droppings, etc. Because the abrasive particles in clay are so fine, it is not considered an abrasive product, and clay is therefore effective and safe when used on painted surfaces, as well as on glass and chrome (but not plastic). Claying is an adjunct to – not a replacement for – polishing. Note also that claying will remove car wax.

How do I use clay?

Before using clay, you must ensure that both the car and the clay bar are clean. Even small contaminants can cause surface scratching. You should also be claying your car in the shade with a “cool to the touch” surface (just as with all washing, polishing and waxing.)

After inspecting the bar and removing any particles, mold the bar into a shape that will fit comfortably in your hand.

First, wet the clay bar. You can use a special clay wetting agent such as Wax Enhancer, but clean soapy water also works fine. Mist a small area of the vehicle that you want to work on – say a 2’ x 2’ area. You may want to practice first on an inconspicuous spot. Glide the clay over the surface repeatedly until it glides smoothly. Now wipe the surface with a clean dry microfiber or terry towel and continue to the next area. Clay cannot be used dry, and so frequent light misting will be necessary. As your clay becomes dirty (but not gritty), simply remold it to use a different surface. Claying is not difficult, but you should take your time.

Post-claying steps

When done with the claying process, pick out any obvious particles from the clay before storing it away. Then wet the bar lightly and store it in a clean container. When you are ready to use it again, knead the bar to expose clean material. A clay bar is good until it becomes completely soiled (typically 10 or so cars). If a bar falls on the ground or otherwise becomes too contaminated with dirt and grit, it should be thrown out. If you are careful not to mix up bars, store your contaminated clay in a clearly marked container as it can still be safely used on glass windows and some types of unfinished wheels.

After you are done claying your car, give it a good wash to remove the lubricant film or soap residue. Polish if necessary, then following your normal pre-wax/waxing steps.
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