How to Use a Clay Bar to Clean Your Car

How to Use a Clay Bar to Clean Your Car

If you’ve ever seen a car come out of the detailing shop, shining and squeaky clean, you might wonder how they manage to get your vehicle that much cleaner and shinier than you can at home. 

One of the reasons for this is that detailing shops have access to products that you don’t, such as Cleaner’s Clay. The good news is that you can buy and use Cleaner’s Clay yourself at home and, in this article, we’ll show you how.

What Is Cleaner’s Clay

Using Cleaner’s Clay, or clay-barring, is part of the decontamination step that detailing shops use to pull out the most stubborn stains on your paintwork. The clay bar is non-abrasive and is a great tool for cleaning stains that have bonded to your paintwork, like bird poo, brake dust, bug splats, overspray, and tree sap.

How Do You Use a Clay Bar?

The first step to using a clay bar is to give your car a good wash with a traditional car shampoo. This will remove any standard dirt and leave only the stubborn stains for the bar to work on. 

Don’t apply any wax yet; that should be your final step, and the clay bar won’t work as well if the car has already been waxed. 

The clay bar comes with a tub of lubricant. Spread the lubricant over the stains you want to remove and then gently glide the bar over the top. Inspect the bar every now and then, and, if the surface is getting too dirty, simply knead it in on itself like bread dough until you have a cleaner surface.

Clay bars come in one of three varieties, fine, medium, and heavy-duty. Think of them like grades of sandpaper. The heavier the grade, the more likely it is to both remove a stain and potentially damage your paintwork.

You can also get specific clay bars for use on your windows, mirrors, and other glass sections on your vehicle. 

Once the stains have been removed, simply wash away the lubricant and then apply your chosen car wax to really bring up the shine.

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Written by:
Rich Heinrich
Master Instructor, Emeritus

Instructor and Office Administrator

Frankie works and karaoke's in Las Vegas but his out-of-doors-heart is still out East. Born in Boston, Frankie loves the snow and mountains. As an avid snowboarder, Frankie has never seen a snow day he didn't LOVE! A graduate from…Read More