How to Clay Bar a Car – Giving your Car the Clay Bar Treatment

Many people who have not used a clay bar (or had their car detailed with clay) may consider the results from clay to have magical qualities. Clay, specifically made for automotive applications, is used to remove contaminates from the paint surface of your vehicle and provides a very smooth finish. Some are reluctant to try clay on their vehicle, however it is a very easy process and this article will explain how to clay bar your car.

What you need to clay bar a car

In order to clay the car you will need both Clay and a Clay Bar Lubricant. Most clay is available as a kit that includes everything needed to clay the vehicle. If you choose to purchase a clay bar by itself, you will also need a lubricant.  Many of the lubricants are quick detailing spray products.

Here are some of the options available for clay bars


Mothers California Gold Clay Bar System Meguiar’s Smooth Surface Clay Kit Chemical Guys Clay Bar & Synthetic Lubricant Kit

Clay Bars Only:

Griot’s Garage Paint Cleaning Clay Chemical Guys Light Clay Bar, Yellow

How to Clay Bar a Car

  1. Wash and completely dry the vehicle because water will effect the performance of the clay lubricant
  2. Working in small sections (I recommend 12”x12” maybe 18”x18” tops) spray the lubricant on the panel in which you intend to clay.
  3. Rub the clay in the lubricated area gently in small overlapping circles.  Do not use excessive force as the clay will absorb the contaminates on the paint just by rubbing.  Continue working until you remove all of the contaminates.
  4. Remove the excess lubricant by wiping the section with a detailing towel.
  5. Continue this process around the entire vehicle.

Some quick tips about clay bars:

  1. The clay will dry out if left out in the air after you are done with your vehicle. Spray it with the clay bar lubricant and put it in a Zip Loc bag with no air trapped inside.
  2. Once contaminants have built up on the clay’s surface, kneed the clay to reshape it and expose a new, clean, piece of clay.
  3. Try to avoid dropping your clay on the ground!  I have had this happen before and picked it up, washed it and re-used it.  However, the last thing you want is to rub a small rock or something across your paint and scratch it. Better safe than sorry, if you drop the clay it may be best to buy a new one!
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