Auto Detailing Clay

Nothing cleans like detailing clay!

You haven’t felt smooth paint until you’ve clayed! Detailing clay is the best way to remove a lot of common paint contaminants safely and quickly. Clay leaves your vehicle feeling glassy smooth, free of environmental and manmade pollutants that can mar the finish.


Detailing clay is an elastic clay resin, usually synthetic, used to grab contaminants that protrude from the paint surface. Clay is nonabrasive when used with a clay lubricant, and it’s suitable for paint, glass, and metal.


Detailing clay was developed in the 1990s to address the unique detailing challenges of clear coat paint finishes. Clear coats are relatively soft and contaminants can pierce the outermost layer. If left there, these contaminants oxidize and become tiny specks of rust. Plus, embedded contamination prevents you from achieving a glassy smooth, shiny finish.


What is the clay removing? - Detailing Clay - Detailing Clay


Rail Dust - Rail dust consists of tiny metal shavings produced when the train’s wheels grind against the track. If you don’t live near train tracks, you’re still not out of the woods. A lot of new vehicles are delivered to the dealerships via train.


Industrial Fallout – Factories produce pollution – that’s no secret – but you might not realize what it does to your vehicle. Fallout can include metal particles too small to be seen with the naked eye, but they have a cumulative effect on your vehicle.


Brake Dust – Brake dust is inescapable. Wherever you drive, your vehicle is collecting brake dust from other drivers and even from your own brakes. Brake dust contains red hot metal shavings from the rotor. When brake dust hits your vehicle, it’s only a matter of time before it sinks into the clear coat and oxidizes.


Tree Sap – Tree sap is almost impossible to remove by any other means. As with all things organic, it has the potential to etch the paint.


Overspray – Paint overspray can occur at the auto plant, if you’ve gotten any part of your vehicle repainted, or if you’ve been painting near your vehicle. Detailing clay quickly and easily removes overspray. Clay is a great alternative to abrasive polishes (the old way of removing overspray).


The Plastic Bag Test - Clay Bag TestIf you’ve never clayed your vehicle, never even thought about it, take this simple test. All you need is a plastic sandwich bag. Put the bag over your hand and rub your fingertips lightly over your vehicle’s paint. The bag just increases your tactile sense – it allows you to feel what you might otherwise overlook. If the paint feels bumpy or gritty, you need to clay.

Even if you have never noticed the bumps, they’re still causing damage to your vehicle’s paint. As the tiny metal shavings oxidize, the oxidation will spread underneath the clear coat. The paint won’t just be gritty – it will be covered in rust spots!


Help Is On The Way!

Detailing clay is available in different grades. The standard medium grade clay is the most common, for example DP Universal Detailing Clay. Its safe on paint, glass and chrome but it should be used just twice a year since it completely removes wax. A newer product is fine grade detailing clay, only offered by a handful of manufacturers. An example is Pinnacle Ultra Fine Detailing Clay. Fine detailing clay can be used more often because it does not remove most waxes and sealants.


Clay comes in 2 to 8 oz. bars. Two ounces is enough to do three or four vehicles. On average, a vehicle will need to be clayed twice a year. At this rate, one 2 oz. clay bar will last you 18 months to 2 years if used on the same vehicle. If you buy clay in an 8 oz. bar, cut it into quarters and keep the unused portions moistened with lubricant in the storage case.


Wash and dry your vehicle.


2 - Clay LubeSpray a small area with clay lubricant, no bigger than 2 square feet.


3 - Clay LubeGently rub the clay bar back and forth across the wet area. It will grab at first.This means that it is pulling contaminants out of the paint. When it glides freely, the paint is clean.



Wipe the area with a microfiber towel and use the clay lubricant to remove any clay residue. Rub your fingers across the paint now; it should be as smooth as glass. If it’s not, repeat the process. Reshape the clay bar as needed to expose a clean surface. Keep the clay well-lubricated.


Continue these steps until you’ve clayed the entire vehicle. Clay does a fantastic job on glass and chrome, too.

Store the clay bar in its original case if possible, or in an airtight plastic bag. Spray it with lubricant to keep it moist. Do not allow the clay to freeze and do not store it in temperatures above 200° F.
Always apply a wax or sealant after using detailing clay. Clay leaves the paint completely clean. A quality carnauba wax or polymer sealant will protect the paint by discouraging contaminants from sticking.

    Note: Detailing clay does not replace polishing. If your paint is mildly oxidized, clean the paint with clay and then use a polish to remove the oxidized paint. If the oxidation is severe, polish first because the oxidized paint may flake off as you clay and ruin the clay bar. Claying only needs to be done about twice a year to maintain shiny, smooth paint.