D&D Auto Detailing, LLC
Specializing in fine auto detailing and long term 
protective coatings for paint, leather, fabric, plastic, and glass

D&D Auto Detailing



Auto Detailing Clay

Posted on October 5, 2011 at 9:30 PM

What is Auto Detailing Clay?

Auto detailing clay is a synthetic piece of clay that is designed to remove a wide range of contaminants from your cars paint. Some of these contaminants include rust, brake dust, industrial fallout, rail dust, overspray, sap, tar, bugs, etc. Allowing these contaminants to remain stuck to your paint can cause rust spots as well as oxidation. In addition, they can prevent the sealant from bonding to the paint. Unfortunately, regular washing will not remove these embedded contaminants.

Does My Paint Need to be Clayed?

It is very easy to tell if your car needs to be clayed. With light colors such as white and silver you can easily spot tiny yellowish spots, tar, road grime, etc. Besides a visual inspection, you can also tell if the paint needs to be clayed by feel. The most popular method used is called the Plastic Bag Test. You simply wash and dry your car as you normally would, then slide a small plastic sandwich bag over your hand, and gently glide your hand over the paint. Does the paint feel bumpy, rough, or gritty? If the answer is yes, then your paint needs to be clayed. On properly protected paint, the surface will feel slick and very smooth.

How Often Should My Paint be Clayed?

Technically, there is no set amount of time when claying should be done. Every car and situation is different. It really depends on if the car is garaged or not and how well you take care of the car. As a general rule, your car should be clayed every six months.

Should New Cars be Clayed?

Absolutely, yes. Your new car sat outdoors on the shipping dock, was transported by boat, train, and truck, then sat on the dealerships lot some more. This whole time the paint has been exposed to the elements picking up contaminants.

Special Notes About Clay

  • In order for your wax or sealant to properly bond to the paint, the paint needs to be clean and smooth.  One of the best ways to create this optimal bonding surface is by properly claying your car. The cleaner the paint, the longer your wax or sealant will last!

  • Some clays are more aggressive than others, and as a result, some clays can be abrasive. It is important to use the proper product and technique to avoid any unnecessary damage to your paint.

  • If you are planning on getting your paint polished, it must be clayed first. If the paint is not clayed before polishing, any contaminants on the surface of the paint will be grinded into the finish causing scratches and swirl marks.

  • Clay will remove the contaminants on the surface of the paint; however, it may not remove the contaminants which are deeper in the "pores" of the paint. In that case, a chemical neutralizer may be needed.

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