57 Common Questions About Clay Bars Answered

Claying a car is a step that many people neglect. Nevertheless, it is highly effective and the results are astounding. Given that many people do not clay their cars, there are many questions around that need to be answered. This article will answer a lot of them, so keep on reading!

Table Of Contents

Can You Clay Bar Plastic?

In general, claying plastic parts that are not painted should be avoided, as the process can leave residue on the plastic parts that is hard to remove. Claying painted plastic parts with a smooth surface is not a problem and can be performed without negative effects.

Generally speaking, claying a car is possible on the complete exterior. When it comes to plastic parts, most people should avoid claying these, as thesoft clay is very likely to leave some residue behind. This is especially true for unpainted plastic parts.

These parts can also be cleaned more effectively with brushes or other equipment.

Painted plastic parts can be clayed without worries, as the smooth surface will prevent the clay bar from leaving residue behind.

Can Claying Remove Holograms?

Car clay does not remove holograms. It is manufactured to remove embedded contaminants on the paint, but it cannot change the paint itself. It does not remove scratches or holograms, which are just very tiny and small scratches that appear in the paint after improper polishing.

Many people think that clay bars can remove scratches and holograms, which is sadly not the car. Clay bars are not abrasive and can only take off dirt and debris off the car paint. Clay bars cannot be used to level car paint and remove scratches.

If you want to learn how clay bars really work, make sure to read my guide about it here.

Does Clay Bar Remove Glue

In general, clay bars remove dried glue. Nevertheless, it is best to try a less aggressive method first, like bug & tar remover or an IPA and water mix. These products will also remove glue without the need to touch the car, preventing any scratches that might occur.

In general it is best to start with the least aggressive method possible to remove contaminants. This is why another option should be used first before claying dried glue.

Options like bug&tar remover or an IPA and water solution do not require to touch the car, which is less aggressive and prevents scratches.

If these options do not work, claying is a good alternative and can be done. It is important to use enough clay lubricant to prevent paint damage when claying the car.

Can You Clay Bar Fiberglass

Claying fiberglass is easy and safe. Fiberglass can be treated like car paint, so claying is not a problem. It is important to wash the fiberglass before claying it and to use enough clay lubricant in order to prevent scratches and other damage.

Does Clay Bar Remove Etching

Claying does not remove etching. Etching from acid rain or other acid sources damages the upper layer of clear coat, which needs to be removed by polishing the paint. Using a clay bar will not remove etching, as it is not embedded in the clear coat.

Clay bars can only remove contaminants that are on the paint or in the paint. These are so called embedded contaminants and you can easily feel them with your hand when you touch the paint. If the paint feels rough, there are embedded contaminants on the paint and claying will remove them.

Etching from acid rain or bird droppings cannot be removed by claying the car. The acid damages the upper layer of the clear coat irreversibly. In order to remove the etching, it is necessary to remove parts of the clear coat. This can only be done by polishing the area.

Does Clay Bar Remove Rail Dust

Car clay is the perfect solution for removing embedded rail dust from car paint. Before claying the car, it is important to wash it properly by hand. It is also crucial to use enough clay lubricant when claying the car. This prevents scratches and also makes the clay more effective.

Rail dust can easily be removed by clayying, if the rail dust is embedded into the paint. If it is still on top of the paint, there is no need to clay the car. Washing the car properly with a pressure washer and the two-bucket method is enough to get the rail dust off the car.

Actually, it is not even necessary to have a pressure washer if you want to wash your car. Want to learn how? Check my article about it here.

Does Clay Bar Remove Cement

Generally, bigger chunks of cement cannot be removed by claying the car. Nevertheless, clay can be used to remove grains of cement from car paint without problems. Cement is very rough, so it is extremely important to use a lot of clay lubricant remove the cement without scratching the paint.

Bigger chunks of cement, that dry on the car paint, cannot be removed by claying the car. Dry cement grains on the other hand can be removed easily by claying the car.

Given the rough structure of cement, it is extremely important to clay the car with a lot of lubricant and without pressure. Otherwise the cement grains will act like sand paper and scratch the delicate clear coat.

Does Clay Bar Damage Car Paint

In general, clay bars do not damage car paint. Using clay bars incorrectly can lead to serious damages like scratches and marring. . It is important to use a lot of lubrication and no pressure to avoid these problems. It is also important to use a high-quality brand name clay bar.

Many people avoid claying their cars, because it supposedly damages the car. This is a very big myth in the car detailing industry, because clay itself does not damage the paint.

What can absolutely damage the paint are two things. Firstly, wrong and improper usage of the clay can lead to scratches and marring. Secondly, using cheap no-name clay can also lead to paint damages.

In order to avoid scratches and damages on the car paint, it is important to use a high-quality clay bar with the right consistency. Moreover, just remember that clay lubrication is really important. The more lubrication you have the better.

Does Clay Bar Make Car Shine

Clay makes a car look shinier by removing embedded contaminants from the paint that make the paint look dull. It is important to understand that clay does not change the structure of the paint like polishing does, so the results will not be astounding but still noticeable.

Claying is not abrasive and does not level paint to make it look better. Only polishing can do this. Nevertheless, clay removes embedded contaminants that can prevent proper light reflection off the paint, making it look dull.

Does A Clay Bar Remove Wax

In general, claying a car removes all bonded materials like contaminants and car wax. A clay bar removes everything that protrudes from the paint’s surface, which includes car wax. It is recommend to apply a fresh coating of car wax or any other paint protection after claying the car.

Make sure to check out my extensive article about how clay bars work and if they remove car wax here.

As already mentioned, you should apply a fresh coat of car wax or any other paint protection on the car after claying. But which one is the right one for you, given that there are so many different products on the market? Check my article about car wax and its alternatives here to find out which product is right for you!

Does Clay Bar Remove Bugs And Tar

Claying a car is a great way to remove bugs and tar from the paint. Bugs and tar are superficial and embedded contaminants that a clay bar can remove easily and safely. Spray the area with a clay lubricant and move the clay bar over the area with little pressure to remove the contaminants.

Generally speaking, claying removes any kind of superficial or embedded contamint. Tar and bugs are perfect examples for the type of dirt and debris that cannot be removed easily by washing the car, but is easily removable by using a clay bar.

As always, lubrication is the key when using a clay bar on bugs and tar. Make sure to use a lot of lubrication before moving the clay bar over the dirty area with little pressure. After a few passes, the bugs and tar should be removed and the paint should feel silky smooth.

Can You Clay Bar Faded Paint?

Claying faded paint is safe and easy. Claying the faded paint will remove impurities, dirt, debris, and embedded contaminants from the paint which cause the dull appearance. Claying a car does not have the same effect as polishing the car, but it will still improve the overall look of the car.

Claying does not remove thin layers of clear coat, like polishing does. Nevertheless, it removes all kinds of contaminants on the car and brings back the shine this way.

Claying faded paint is a great way to restore some shine if polishing is not an option.

Can You Clay Bar Matte Paint?

In generaly, claying matte paint is not very effective and should be avoided. Matte paint has a textured surface structure in order to diffuse light and prevent the paint from shining. The textured surface of the paint also prevents the clay bar from gliding properly, decreasing its effectiveness.

Claying matt paint would not necessarily damage the paint, but it would damage the clay bar and leave a lot of residue on the car that would need to be cleaned off.

Matte paint has a much different surface structure to glossy or shiny paint. While shiny paint is very smooth and level in order to perfectly reflect light and look shiny, matte paint has a structured surface. This prevents perfect light reflection, making the paint appear matte.

This structured surface prevents the clay bar from gliding over the paint effortlessly, which makes the clay bar inefficient. Moreover, claying matte paint can leave marring and destory the look of the matte paint.

Can You Clay Bar A Windshield?

In general, claying a windshield is possible and makes sure that the windshield is clean from any kind of debris. In order to clay a windshield, spray the windshield with clay lubricant and glide the clay bar over the windshield in a cross-hatch pattern.

Claying a windshield will remove all embedded contaminants easily and effectively, super-cleaning the windshield.

Claying a windshield is the perfect preparation for applying car wax on a windshield afterwards. There are many reasons why this is helpful, which is why I wrote a complete article about it. Make sure to check it out!

If there is no clay bar available, but you want to super-clean your car’s windshield, you can also use some fine #0000 steel wool to do so. You do not have to worry about scratching your windshield as this is a completely safe method of cleaning a windshield. Make sure to read my article about this method here.

Can You Clay Bar Headlights?

In general, claying headlights is a very effective method to remove all kinds of dirt from the headlights. It works great to remove insects or other stuck on debris. Claying headlights will not damage the plastic, but the clay bar can be damaged if not enough lubricant is used.

Claying headlights does also not remove cloudiness. It is not as powerful as completely restoring headlights by sanding down the plastic and coating the headlights with clear coat.

Claying will only remove stuck on dirt like dead bugs from the headlights, but it will not remove any plastic at all.

Can You Clay Bar Glass?

In general, claying car glass is safe and an easy way to remove stuck on dirt like insects. It is crucial to use a lot of clay lubricant in order for the clay bar to work effectively. Before claying it is also recommended to wash the glass properly.

Claying car glass is very easy and there is nearly no risk of damage. Even if you forget to use a clay lubricant, you will not damage the glass. You will notice that the clay bar does not move over the glass easily and that the dirt will not be removed, but there won’t be any damage to the glass.

Can You Clay Bar With Water?

Generally, claying a car with water instead of a clay lubricant should be avoided. Doing so will lead to marring and damages on the paint. It is better to use a clay lubricant or a mixture of car shampoo and water, as water does not offer enough lubrication for the clay bar to glide over the paint.

Water does not offer the same level of lubrication that a dedicated clay lubricant or a soapy water mixture does. Claying a car with water as the only lubrication will lead to serious scratches and marring in the paint that needs to be removed by polishing the paint.

If a dedicated clay lubricant is not available, you can mix water and car shampoo and use the mixture as a lubricant. As a rule of thumb it is better to use too much than too little car shampoo, as the car shampoo will make the clay bar glide over the paint.

The more car shampoo is used in the soapy water mixture, the better the lubrication and the lower the risk of damaging the paint.

Can You Clay Bar PPF?

In general, a paint protection film or clear bra can be clayed just like normal paint if it contains embedded contaminants. It is important to use a lot of lubricant in order to avoid damaging the clear bra. This can be either the dedicated clay lubricant or a mixture of car shampoo and water.

Many people argue about claying clears bras or paint protection films. Some people even claim that claying the PPF is a waste of time and do not see why it should be performed at all.

Nevertheless, a PPF can also contain embedded contaminants that should be removed once in a while. The best way, next to washing a car properly, is to use a clay bar on the clear bra.

Claying a clear bra works the same as claying a car without a paint protection film. Apply clay lubricant to the PPF and to the clay bar and then gently rub the clear bra with the clay bar in order to remove embedded contaminants.

Can You Clay Bar Chrome?

Claying chrome is possible and shows really great results. It removes stuck-on contaminants and prepares the chrome for polishing. Alternatively, steel wool can be used to clean chrome and to prepare it for polishing.

Can You Clay Bar A Vinyl Wrap?

Generally, claying a vinyl wrap is possible but very risky. Claying a vinyl wrap can cause scratches and marring just like with regular paint. The only difference is, that these scratches cannot be removed by polishing. Matte vinyl wrap should not be clayed because of the rough surface structure.

Many people wonder if stuck on dirt can be removed from vinyl wrap with a clay bar. The simple truth is, that a clay bar will remove the dirt, but it might damage the vinyl wrap.

So far, this is not different from claying regular car paint. If done improperly, claying car paint can also leave slight scratches and marring. The big difference is that these damages can be removed by polishing the clear coat. This is not the case with vinyl wrap.

If you scratch the vinyl wrap while claying it, these scratches can only be removed by rewrapping the damaged area, which can be very expensive.

If you find stuck on dirt like bird droppings on your car, it is best to use a quick detailer on it to loosen the dirt. Make sure to use a lot of detailer in order to really soak the dirt in it. Then get a microfiber towel and wipe off the dirt without applying pressure on the car.

Does Clay Bar Remove Haze

Claying a car will not remove haze completely, but it can nevertheless make a noticeable difference. Hazing will occur after some time when wax, grime, and grease built up. Claying the car will remove a lot of the haze, but to bring a car back to its original shine it is best to polish the paint.

Claying a car is a great way to remove a significant amount of haze from car paint. But if you plan to restore the paint to the best possible state, it is necessary to polish it with a polishing compound and a polishing machine.

This will take off any oxidation and level the paint perfectly so that it is shiny and looking fresh again.

Does Clay Bar Remove Iron

Generally, claying will remove most of the iron fallout on a car. Nevertheless, depending on the severity of the contamination, the clay bar will not remove all iron completely. It is advisable to use an iron remover before the mechanical decontamination with a clay bar, for the best results.

Another downside of a purely mechanical decontamination with a clay bar is that it increases the risk of scratching and marring the paint.

The embedded contaminants inside the clay bar can scratch the paint even if enough lubrication is applied. In order to be as safe as possible, it is best to decontaminate the car chemically as thoroughly as possible before the mechanical decontamination with a clay bar.

What Does A Clay Bar Remove

A clay bar treatment will remove any loose and embedded contaminants from paint, fibreglass, glass, and any other smooth surface on the car. These contaminants include bird droppings, wax, tar, iron, industrial fallout, resin, and more. It is crucial to use enough lubrication to avoid scratches.

Clay bars are used by car detailing professionals to remove embedded contaminants, that cannot be removed by washing the car with a regular hand wash. These kind of contaminants can be:

  • Bird droppings
  • Wax
  • Tar
  • Industrial Fallout
  • Iron
  • Resin

If you have embedded contaminants on your car and the paint feel rough, I can only recommend to use a clay bar in order to remove these contaminants. Make sure to use a lot of lubrication in order to avoid paint scratches and marring.

Does Clay Bar Remove Rust

A clay bar is perfect to remove small iron particles on the car’s paint that form little rust spots or flash rust. To be even more effective, an iron remover can be used in combination with the clay bar to remove the rust. If you have a big rust spot it is best to visit a body shop.

You need to see that there are basically two different kinds of rust. Superficial flash rust and rust that has already really attacked your car’s body panels.

What I noticed is that especially people with white cars tend to notice a few brown spots on their cars after a while, that seem to stay on the car even after thorough washes. This is flash rust and it is most likely some sort of metallic and embedded contaminant that is starting to oxidize and form rust.

As long as this rust is still superficial, using an iron remover in combination with a clay bar will remove the flash rust easily and safely by removing the contaminants

If you find that the rust is not superficial anymore, it is best to see a professional body shop in order to remove the rust as soon as possible.

Does Clay Bar Leave Swirl Marks

If a clay bar leaves swirl marks on the paint there are three main reasons. Either not enough lubrication is used, a lot of pressure is applied on the clay bar during the treatment, or a low-quality clay bar is used. Clay bars alone do not scratch the paint but improper usage will.

I have said it over and over and tell it everybody I see claying a car: You have to use enough lubrication, otherwise you will leave marring on the car. And to be honest, this is a really bad feeling. You plan to do something good and remove embedded contaminants from your car, but in the end you have scratched your car all over and need to polish it.

But there are two other, major mistakes you can make that will lead to swirl marks when claying a car.

First off all, do not apply pressure on the clay bar when using it. Let the product work its magic and just slide the clay bar across the surface with little to no pressure. If you apply a lot of pressure, the clay lubricant cannot work properly and you tough the bare paint with the clay bar. Given that clay bars are slightly abrasive, you will leave scratches and swirl marks this way.

Secondly, there are different clay bars available, and not all of them are high-quality and safe to use. From my experience, it is best to buy a high-quality clay bar from a well-known brand in the car detailing space. These clay bars are surely more expensive than a cheaper clay bar from an unknown retailer somewhere online.

But this way you can be sure that you will not scratch the paint if the right technique is used. And this is surely worth a few more bucks.

Does Color Of Clay Bar Matter

Generally, the color of a clay bar does not matter, but the aggressiveness of the clay bar is important. There are three grades of clay bars ranging from heavy to fine. The same grade of clay bar can come in various sizes and colors, so the color is not a unique identifier and does not matter.

I know that it can be hard to choose the right clay bar, especially since it can have visible effects if the wrong clay bar is used or if the clay bar is used incorrectly.

Nevertheless, if you take a look at the color of a clay bar, there does not seem to be a uniform level of aggressiveness linked to color. Not all blue clay bars are fine grade while all grey ones are heavy grade. This is just not the case.

Make sure to check the grading of the clay bar and ignore the color. This way you will be good to go.

How To Tell If You Need To Clay Bar Your Car

There are different circumstances that make claying a car necessary. A car should be clayed if the paintwork feels very rough and like sandpaper. This is because of embedded contaminants that should be removed. A car also needs to be clayed before polishing or before applying a paint sealant.

Claying a car should never be done if not necessary, as clay is slightly abrasive and there is always a slight risk of damaging the paint.

But if your paint feels rough, you want to polish your car, or you want to apply a paint sealant, I can only recommend that you clay your car!

First of all, if your car’s paint feels rough, this is because of embedded contaminants that cannot be removed by washing the car. Over time, embedded contaminants can lead to significant damages like etching or rust, so it is a good idea to remove them regularly.

If you want to polish your car or you plan to apply a paint sealant, I also highly recommend to perform a mechanical decontamination with a clay bar beforehand. When polishing or applying a paint sealant, it is crucial for the paint to be as clean as possible to achieve the best results.

Does Clay Bar Remove Overspray

Generally, claying can remove overspray, but it is not a very effective method and requires a lot of pressure, as clay is just slightly abrasive. Other methods to remove overspray include wet sanding, special solvents, and plastic razors. Using a polishing machine is not recommended.

Overspray is something that you will most likely never have to deal with in your life except if you like to repaint your car often. Otherwise it is highly unlikely that you will have to remove overspray.

If there is overspray on your car after a repaint, I highly suggest documenting it and visit the body shop that repainted the car. Do not try to remove it yourself. Let the body shop handle it.

Does Clay Bar Remove Oxidation

In general, claying a car can remove a slight amount of oxidation from the car’s paint, as it is slightly abrasive. If the car is severely oxidized and the paint has lost all shine the only option to restore it is polishing it with a polishing machine. Claying the paint will not be effective enough.

Oxidation is a process that happens over time when the car’s paint is exposed to heat and oxygen over a long time. This causes the paint to dry out from top to bottom. The paint starts to break apart and becomes dull as it loses all its oil content.

To remove the oxidation, the oxidized parts of the paint need to be removed to reveal the glossy paint underneath the oxidized paint.

Claying oxidized paint can remove slight amounts of oxidation, but it will not give a satisfying result in most cases. Especially if the car is severly oxidized, clay is not abrasive enough to remove enough oxidized paint.

If you find your car to be oxidized, I can only recommend to get it polished at a professional detailing shop as soon as possible. If you have experience with polishing cars, you can of course polish your car yourself.

After the car looks shiny again, make sure to protect the paint with a car wax, spray sealant, or a ceramic coating in order to prevent it from oxidizing again.

Does Clay Bar Protect Paint

Claying a car is not paint protection like applying car wax or a ceramic coating. Nevertheless, claying a car protects the paint by removing embedded contaminants and preventing rust spots. It is moreover a great and necessary paint treatment before a paint sealant is applied.

Claying a car is not what many people think when they hear “paint protection”. Nevertheless, I think claying a car is also a form of protecting paint, as it removes embedded contaminants from the paint.

These contaminants can have severe effects on a car over time, if not removed properly. In the worst case, rust spots can form. This rust can spread if not removed quickly and can damage the whole vehicle.

Moreover, claying a car is a necessary step before applying a conventional paint protection product like car wax or a ceramic coating.

Can You Clay Bar A Windshield

Claying a windshield is safe, fast, and easy. It should be performed after the glass is cleaned properly with a microfiber towel and glass cleaner. Claying the windshield afterward will remove any leftover contaminants from the glass, making it extremely clean and smooth.

Another big advantage of claying a windshield is that the glass will be extremely smooth afterward and will repel water easily. This means, that rain will not be bothering you at all when driving, as it rolls off the glass easily.

Moreover, after claying the windshield a sealant like car wax or RainX can be applied to the glass, making it highly hydrophobic and water-repellant.

Can You Clay Bar A Boat

In general, claying a boot is a great way to remove any kind of stuck on debris and water spots after a long winterbreak. Given that the gelcoat of a boat is much harder than car paint, scratches are unlikely to appear. Using a rotary buffer is a less tedious option to remove contaminants.

A clean and shiny gelcoat is not only something beautiful to look at, it is also beneficial for driving the boat, as the water resistance is greatly reduced.

Using automotive clay bar to remove bonded contaminants, water spots, and other debris is a easy and safe solution. Nevertheless, it is also very tedious as there is a lot of surface area to clay.

An easier option for every boat owner is to use a polishing machine and a polishing compound to remove the left over debris after washing the boat. This will also remove any water spots or marks that have etched into the gelcoat.

Given that gelcoat is much harder and more resistant than car paint, using a polishing machine is unlikely to burn the gelcoat and leave haziness.

Can You Clay Bar Alloy Wheels

Generally, claying alloy wheels removes stuck on dirt like brake dust. It is crucial to use enough lubricant when claying alloy wheels. Afterwards, it is recommended to polish the alloy wheels in order to remove potential marring that might have occured during the claying stage.

As with car paint, claying alloy wheels is totally possible and an easy way to remove embedded contaminants. This can also be done safely if enough clay lubricant is used.

After claying the alloy wheels might look a bit dull, as micro scratches and marring can occur during the claying stage, even if enough clay lubricant is used. It is best practice to use a metal polishing compound to remove the hazy look and the marring.

It is not necessary to use a polishing machine for this step. You just need a clean microfiber towel and the polishing compound.

Can I Clay Bar A Wet Car

As a best practice, it is recommended to clay a clean and dry car instead of a wet car, as the water on the car can prevent the clay lubricant from working correctly which increases the risk for scratches. Claying a dry car also prevents water spots from forming during the claying process.

As a general rule, claying a wet or a dry car is mostly a personal preferance. There are just some minor reasons that make claying a dry car the best practice.

First of all, claying a wet car can lead to water spots on the paint, as the left over water on the paint evaporates during the claying process.
Second of all, water on the car dilutes the clay lubricant which can decrease the lubricating properties. Less lubrication equals a higher risk for scratches.

Can You Clay Bar A New Car

In general, claying a brand-new car is good practice, as it removes rail dust and road grime that will get on the car during the travel from the factory to the dealership. It is best to remove these particles as soon as possible to avoid rust spots and other long-term damages to the car.

Moreover, if the car is still brand-new and in a very good condition, claying it will be super easy and fast, as the level of contamination is not high.

All in all, the sooner you clay your new car after buying it, the faster the claying will be and the less likely you are to have long-term paint damage from rail rust and road grime that sticks to the car.

Will Clay Bar Remove Bird Poop

In general, claying a car will remove bird droppings easily and effectively as long as the bird droppings are still superficial. Once the acid in the bird droppings has etched into the paint there will be marks left on the paint after claying. These marks can only be removed by polishing the paint.

Claying will remove any kind of superficial and embedded contaminant on the car’s paint. This is true for break dust, rail dust, industrial fallout, and bird droppings.

The problem with bird droppings is that they contain acids, that can attack the structure of the paint and leave etches. Etches cut into the paint chemically and damage the paint’s structure. This cannot be removed by claying the car, as it is no longer a superficial or embedded contaminat, but a real damage to the paint.

In order to remove etchings from bird droppings, the respective part of the paint needs to be polished in order to remove the damaged paint.

Does Clay Bar Make Car Shine

Claying a car will improve the car’s shine, as it decontaminates the paint’s surface and improves light reflection. Nevertheless, claying a car is not a substitute for polishing a car as car clay is not abrasive and does not level the paint, which is necessary for a perfect shine.

If you want to see what kind of effect claying a car has on the car’s shine, check out this video on youtube.

Can Clay Bar Damage Paint

In general, clay does not damage car paint, but using it incorrectly willleave swirl marks and other paint damages on the car. In order to prevent these damages it is crucial to use enough clay lubricant and to glide the clay over the paint without pressure.

When claying a car, the most important thing is to use enough clay lubricant. Not only does it guarantee that the clay works properly, it also minimizes the risk of scratching the car.

Clear coat is very delicate and touching it without lubrication will result in dragging and small and minor scratches. This is especially true when using car clay as it is a very sticky product that will adhere to the paint if not enough lubricant is used.

If enough lubricant is used, car clay is highly unlikely to leave any damages to the car.

Does Clay Bar Remove Etching

Car clay cannot remove etching from car paint. Etching is a damage to car paint and not a contaminant that can be picked up by car clay. In order to remove etching, the respective part of the car needs to be polished. This remove the damaged paint and etching and will make the paint shine again.

Can You Clay Bar Fresh Paint

Generally, fresh paint can be clayed, but in most cases it is not necessary, as the fresh paint will not have embedded contaminants on it. The exception to this are brand-new cars from a factory. Brand-new cars have rail dust and other particles on them that should be removed by claying.

Against most people’s intuition, brand-new cars are not nearly as clean as one might expect. Actually, brand-new cars are highly likely to have embedded contaminants on them because of the transport from the factory to the dealership.

Surely, most dealerships wash a car before selling it, but it is unlikely to be clayed as well. This is why you should check the paint of your brand-new car thoroughly to assess if it needs a clay treatment before applying a paint protectant.

If your car was freshly painted by a body shop, a clay treatment is unlikely to be necessary, as there is no long transport that can put contaminants onto the paint.

Will Clay Bar Get Rid Of Water Spots

Water spots on a car can be removed by using car clay, as long as the water spot is still superficial and has not etched into the paint. Once this has happened, the paint needs to be polished in order to remove the etching and the damaged paint.

There are basically three stages of water spots. A regular water spot, bonded minerals, and a water etching.

As longs as you have a water spot or bonded minerals on the paint, you can use a clay bar to remove them. This is, because water spots and bonded minerals are still superficial and have not attacked the paint.

As soon as the water spot turns into an etching, the paint is damaged and needs to be polished in order to remove the damaged part. A clay bar is not effective anymore.

Can You Clay Bar Matte Paint

Using a clay bar on matte paint is not recommended and not effective. Matte paint small imperfections that diffuse the light and make the paint appear matte. These imperfections will prevent the clay bar from gliding over the paint and lead to clay bar residue on the paint, if a clay bar is used.

There is a great article about the reasons why you should avoid using a clay bar on matte paint here.

The most noticeable reason is, that matte paint has lots of small imperfections that diffuse light and make the paint appear matte instead of shiny. If a clay bar is used on matte paint, these imperfections will act like a sand paper and grind away the clay bar. This leaves a sticky clay bar residue on the paint that is hard to clean off.

Moreover, a car is most often only clayed when it is about to be polished. Given that matte paint does not need polishing, it is best to avoid claying it as well. There are some great matte finish cleansing products that can be used as an alternative.

Can You Clay Bar Metallic Paint

Metallic paint can and should be clayed from time to time to remove embedded contaminants. Metallic paint shines, because it has metallic particles in a binding layer between the base layer and the clear coat layer. Properly claying metallic paint will not damage these particles or the paint.

Metallic paint has a great shine and looks fantastic. The reason behind this is that metallic paint contains metallic particles in a binding layer between the base layer and the clear coat. These metallic particles reflect the light and give the car a lot of shine.

Check this picture to see what metallic paint looks like on a microscopic level.

Can You Clay Bar Over Decals

In general, claying over decals should be avoided at all costs. Car clay is an abrasive and can leave damages on the decal, even if enough lubrication is used. Moreover, there is no benefit from claying a decal, as decals will not contain embedded contaminants.

As mentioned above, claying a decal is high risk without any reward. You should absolutely stay away from your decals if you plan to clay your car.

Can You Clay Bar Single Stage Paint

In general, single stage paint can be clayed exactly like multi stage car paint. The only major difference is, that dead paint is likely to bond to the clay bar which will lead to discoloration of the clay. Other than that, there is no difference between claying single stage and multi stage paint.

Single stage paint can be clayed exactly the same way as multi stage car paint. The only thing you need to be prepared for is some dead paint on the clay bar. This also happens when claying multi stage paint, it is just not noticeable as clear coat does not have any color pigments.

Make sure to fold the clay bar regularly in order to use fresh clay to treat the paint.

Does A Clay Bar Remove Tar

Clay bars are effective against tar and every other kind of superficial and embedded contaminants. It is necessary to use enough clay lubricant and no pressure when gliding the clay bar across the paint. After a few passes the tar should be removed completely and the paint should feel smooth again.

Clay bar has been developed to remove contaminants from car paint. It is the perfect product when it comes to removing contaminants that cannot be washed away, just like extremely sticky tar. Clay proves extremely effective against these kinds of contaminants and makes it easy to remove them.

Is Clay Bar A Wax

Car clay is a resin compound and not a wax. Car clay is designed to remove superficial and embedded contaminants from the paint while car wax is used to seal and protect the paint. It is best practice to use a clay bar before applying car wax.

Is Clay Bar Paint Correction

Claying a car is one step in paint correction. Paint corrections describes the multi stage process of restoring car paint to near perfect condition. Claying is one step in this whole process along with properly washing the car, polishing it, and protecting the paint.

If you want to know more about paint correction and what is really is, make sure to check this video here:

What Are Clay Bars For

Clay bars are designed for removing any kind of superficial and embedded contaminants from car paint as a way to prepare car paint for sealants or polishing.
These contaminants include bird droppings, industrial fallout, tar, bugs, break dust, rail dust, and many more.

Whenever your paint feels rough to the touch, it is very likely that embedded contaminants are in the paint that should be removed. Otherwise they can cause damages like rust spots over time.

The problem is that embedded contaminants are stuck in the paint and cannot be washed away. This is why car clay was invented. Car clay is a soft resin compound that will grab the embedded contaminants and pull them out of the car paint, removing them effectively and safely.

The downside is that car clay is slightly abrasive and you run the risk of leaving slight scratches on the car when using it improperly. This is why it is best to use clay only if really necessary like before applying a paint sealant or polishing the car.

Are Cheap Clay Bars Any Good

Cheap clay bars are not as soft and malleable which makes them less effective than more expensive clay bars. Moreover, using a cheap clay bar increases the risk of scratches and marring as the abrasiveness of a cheap clay bar is most likely higher than the one of a more expensive clay bar.

Cheap clay bars can be used and are not necessarily ineffective. The big problem with cheap, no-name clay bars are the ingredients that make cheap clay bars less malleable and more abrasive than expensive clay bars.

Abrasiveness is helpful to a certain degree, but the more abrasive a clay bar is, the higher the risk of scratching or marring the paint is. These scratches need to be polished in order to be removed.

In the end it is a better choice to use a more expensive clay bar in order to decrease the risk of scratching the car. This will cost more money upfront, but will prevent scratches and marring that would need to be polished. This would take much more time and cost more money in the end.

What Is Clay Bar Lubricant

Clay lubricant or clay lube is a liquid designed to decrease the risk of scratching the car when claying it and simultaneously increasing the effectiveness of the clay bar. Clay lube reduces the friction between the clay bar and the paint. Without lube, clay will stick to the paint and damage it.

Clay bars are made from a sticky resin compound with low grade of abrasiveness. If used without a clay lube, the clay bar will stick to the paint and drag over it, leaving scratches and marring.

Clay lube prevents this from happening and also makes the clay bar softer, which increases its effectiveness.

What Is Clay Bar Lube Made Of

Generally, clay lube is made out of water and chemicals that prevent the clay bar from gripping the paint but instead allow it to glide over the paint smoothly. A great alternative to commercial clay lubes is a mixture of water and car shampoo.

What Are Clay Bars Made Of

Clay bars are made out of a synthetic resin compound that is formed into a block or bar for distribution. There are also clay mitts and towel available, that are easier to use than clay blocks. Clay works like a razor and shaves off every kind of superficial and bonded contaminants of the paint.

Car clay is not made from natural clay, contrary to what the name suggests. It is actually made from a resin compount that was originally designed to remove paint overspray.

Car clay is mostly formed into blocks or bars which is why most people talk about clay bars when talking about car clay. Nevertheless, manufacturers have managed to produce alternative claying products, that are easier and faster to use. These include clay mitts and clay towels.

Are Clay Bars All The Same

Clay bars are not the same as they can greatly differ in their level of abrasiveness and aggressiveness. There are fine, medium, and heavy-duty clay bars. Clay bars can also differ in the type of resin used during manufacturing. More expensive clay bars are usually softer than cheap ones.

Fine and medium clay bars are less aggressive and less effective than heavy-duty clay bars. The upside is that there is also far less risk of scratching or marring the car’s paint when using these less aggressive clay products.

Another big difference between different car clays is the type of resin compound used during manufacturing. Most brand-name clay bars are more expensive because the higher-quality resin is used. These products are usually softer and more effective at removing contaminants while being gentle to the paint at the same time.

Cheap clay bars are made from a less malleable resin compound which increases the risk of scratching and marring the car’s paint during usage. Moreover, these clay bars are not as effective at removing contaminants as more expensive clay bars given their more rigid structure.

Jan-Lucas Ganssauge
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge