If detailing clay is new to you, you might be thinking, “What is detailing clay and what can detailing clay do for my car?” The short answer is that auto detailing clay removes from the paint what washing
cannot. For the long answer, read on!
Auto Detailing Clay Bar is an engineered resin compound used to remove
contaminants from the surface of your car’s paint, glass, fiberglass and metal.
Detailing clay can be natural or synthetic, though most manufacturers utilize synthetic
Auto detailing clay is similar to the stuff you played with as a kid, but the clay used for
detailing is usually much more elastic, especially in the case of Pinnacle Ultra Poly Auto Detailing Clay Bar. The elasticity gives
the detailing clay excellent durability as it is rolled, flattened, smashed and
stretched over and over again.
Plus detailing clay is designed to stand up to the kind of contaminants that
your childhood clay never had to face, i.e. industrial fallout, rail dust and
brake dust. These contaminants pierce paint finishes, glass and metal and remain
stuck on your vehicle through rain, car washes, and even polishing. The only way
to remove these pollutants is – you guessed it – detailing clay.
How Does Auto Detailing Clay Work?
Detailing clay glides along the surface of your paint and grabs anything
that protrudes from the surface. The particle sticks to the clay and is
therefore removed from your vehicle. The surface being clayed should always
be wet with clay lubricant to prevent loose debris from scratching the
Used properly, detailing clay is
completely safe and nonabrasive.Its a much better option than polishing to
remove these contaminants because clay doesn’t remove any paint.
There are two different grades of clay currently
available to the public. One is a medium grade detailing clay designed to
clean the vehicle once or twice a year. This grade of clay removes wax along
with anything else on the vehicle. We’re talking CLEAN. Examples are Wolfgang
Elastic Poly Clay, , and McKee's 37
Universal Detailing Clay.
Your other option is a fine grade that’s
relatively new to the industry. It’s called Pinnacle Ultra Poly Clay and it’s a favorite of enthusiasts who
prefer to clay as often as needed to keep that slick finish. This detailing clay
removes everything the medium clay removes and it is gentle enough to use
monthly or as needed for spot cleaning. If you’re someone who’s meticulous about
clean, shiny paint (and who isn’t?!) you’ll love Pinnacle Ultra Poly Clay.
All detailing clay requires the use of a clay lubricant to prevent scratches as
you gently rub the clay on the vehicle. Check out our Clay Page.
There you will find all of the different clays and their coordinated clay
What Does Detailing Clay Remove?
Your vehicle is under constant assault from airborne pollutants. Brake dust,
industrial fallout, acid rain deposits and rail dust all can adhere to your
vehicle. These contaminants often contain metal particulates, which accounts for
the ease with which they penetrate the clear coat to attack the paint below.
These contaminants then oxidize, and they allow rust to spread beneath the clear
coat. Tiny orange spots today, total paint system failure tomorrow! Detailing
clay removes these contaminants in order to keep the paint healthy and vibrant.
Detailing Clay also removes stubborn sap, tar, and bug remains. Detailing clay
works wonder on glass as well. Try some the next time you’re washing your
windows. You’ll be amazed at the results!
Do You Need To Clay?
Chances are, the answer is yes. The surface of your
vehicle faces assaults from the environment every time it’s out in the
weather. Each road trip brings new insults from roadway debris, exhaust
films, and airborne pollution. They will splash, mar, and embed themselves
in that beautiful paint job you’ve labored over. Vehicles can accumulate
these contaminants any time, any place – even at the dealership.
The Bag Test: There’s a simple test that will indicate whether or not
you need to clay. Wash and dry your vehicle, put a plastic sandwich bag over
your hand and lightly rub your fingertips over the paint. If it feels gritty
or rough, your paint is contaminated.
The Bag test will tell you if you
need to use detailing clay.
Waxes and paint sealants will adhere better to clean paint and the shine will be
more uniform and vibrant. Sounds like a win-win situation!
To Use Clay:
Clay is available 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 4 oz. bar, like McKee's 37 Universal
Detailing Clay or BLACKFIRE Poly Clay, cut it in half and keep the unused portions
moistened with lubricant in the storage case.
NOTE: To optimize both the quality of your claying
and the clay's useful life, avoid soap and water as a lubricant. They will
prematurely deteriorate today’s clay compounds. Use only clay lubricants. A good
clay kit, like the The Wolfgang Polishin’ Pal Clay Kit, contain
both the detailing clay and it’s corresponding lubricant.
Gently 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 marvelous 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.
Mist a 2 x 2 sq. ft. section of paint with clay lubricant.
Rub the clay bar across the wet paint until it no longer grabs the surface.
Always follow claying with a wax or
sealant. Clay will removing existing wax and may leave tiny
holes where contaminants have been removed. They must be sealed in order
to protect the paint from corrosion.
Note: Detailing clay does not remove
oxidized paint or fill in blemishes. 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. (See
our polish how-to.)
Click on image to see this video
Then use a pre-wax cleaner, like Pinnacle
Paintwork Cleansing Lotion, to fill in minor swirls and scratches
prior to waxing. If your paint is in good condition, proceed to waxing.