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  #1  
Old 08-30-2005
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Thumbs up How to use Clay Bar



How to use a clay bar is an often asked question, and it is quite simple if you follow the directions and keep the lubricant handy -- clay with one hand and spray with the other. Clay removes surface contaminants without wearing the paint. Clay will not remove acid rain damage or other surface imperfections -- something you'll still need a polish to do.



It generally doesn't take a lot of effort unless you have serious fallout and other contaminants on the surface. As you progress with removal, the clay glides easier, but check the surface with your hand periodically and visually at different angles.

It's really quite amazing.

Forrest has written a nice dissertation...

Clay's easy to use, and can make a dramatic difference in the paint on any vehicle suffering from surface contamination.

For starters, wash and dry to remove any surface dirt. Working out of direct sunlight, remove the clay from its wrapper. Knead until it's flat and fits in your palm. Lubricate a small (2' x 2' or so) area with the included instant detailer/clay lubricant and rub the clay back and forth with light pressure. There's no need for pressure or circular motions. Clay works because it's so sticky -- the contaminants will adhere to it, pulling-up and out of the paint. If you're working in a quiet environment, you'll be able to hear the clay pulling the contaminants from the paint surface, and gradually the sound will go away as they are all removed. When you're done with the area, dry with a towel and check the surface by running your fingertips lightly over the just clayed area. It should be perfectly smooth, with no bumps or rough spots felt. Once smooth, move on to the next area; if you still feel bumps repeat the process. Knead the clay on a regular basis -- I do it at the end of each body panel.

Once you get the routine down, it should take 20-30 minutes to do an entire vehicle. Clay will remove embedded contaminants like overspray, industrial fallout, rail dust, tree sap, etc. It won't remove oxidation, nor will it do anything for swirls.

Clay is safe to use assuming the instructions are followed and you never:

1) drop the clay on the ground and try to reuse it (dirt, etc., will stick to it and scratch the paint) or
2) use an improper lubricant. Water isn't slippery enough -- it'll cause the clay to drag, leaving streaks on the paint.

I trust my 10 year year old to use clay -- it's that simple.

BTW, you'll want to wax after claying, as claying removes any paint protection product on the vehicle -- that's why we include a sample size of our Carnauba Cleaner Wax, but you can follow with the wax product of your choice.

If you've got a clay bar usage tip or experience you'd like to share, please post it below.

-- admin@waxforum
  #2  
Old 08-30-2005
kbshadow kbshadow is offline
 
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

Quote:
If you've got a clay bar usage tip or experience you'd like to share, please post it below.

-- admin@waxforum


I think this is a great thread, great thread.

I thought this was important enough to add for the members that are new to detailing..

When I did my first detail a few years ago I bought some clay.

I did not know the different brands and Kragan or Auto Zone sold me a non Mothers brand.

I used it and it was like gum, stained my new car paint, I called them and two different times they said just clay it again and it should come off, I did and each time it was worse, I called a third time really pi$$ed and the tech said half his calls are about the staining problem with their clay, he said if he were me he would take it back get my money back and buy Mother Clay kit.

I did and after some work Mothers took the stain out and I did the whole car, turned out great. Actually thats what started me using Mothers products.

Just wanted forum members to know that all clay is not the same, there may be several good ones out there but I know for a fact there is one bad one.

I also know for a fact that Mothers Clay is one of the good ones and it is all I will use.

Hope this keeps someone from having the problem I had with a non Mothers Clay.

kbshadow
stockton Ca
  #3  
Old 08-31-2005
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

Kbshadow brings up a good point. There are some brands of clay bars that do more harm than good - difficult to use, streak the finish, too aggressive, etc. Your more reputable car finish companies, like Mother's, have clay bars that when used correctly provide great results to your average detailer. However, some of your generic brand clay bars are the ones to look out for. These are usually lesser known companies who are trying to break into this market.
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  #4  
Old 08-31-2005
MOMSPH MOMSPH is offline
 
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

Its the most popular claybar Brand in our country. Simply The Best. Best in price and easy to use.
  #5  
Old 09-01-2005
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Alfisti Alfisti is offline
 
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

Another happy Mothers Clay user.
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  #6  
Old 09-06-2005
daystrom daystrom is offline
 
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

At what point is the clay bar considered trash? Everyone says to kneed the clay to expose a clean part but when do you toss it and buy a new one? How can you tell?

Todd
  #7  
Old 09-06-2005
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Forrest T. Forrest T. is offline
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

There's no right/wrong answer, but here are some of the factors I take into account:

1) color - when it starts looking brown instead of gold, it's time to go
2) adhesiveness - when it no longer sticks to my dry hand, it's time to go
3) when I can clay an area twice, and still feel contaminants, it's time to go.

I hope this helps.
  #8  
Old 09-06-2005
daystrom daystrom is offline
 
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

What about contaminants in the clay bar. Don't they scratch up the paint?

Todd
  #9  
Old 09-06-2005
kbshadow kbshadow is offline
 
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Forrest T.
There's no right/wrong answer, but here are some of the factors I take into account:

1) color - when it starts looking brown instead of gold, it's time to go
2) adhesiveness - when it no longer sticks to my dry hand, it's time to go
3) when I can clay an area twice, and still feel contaminants, it's time to go.
Forrest

In my case there is a forth factor.

4) when you keep dropping in on a dirty floor, its time to go.

kbshadow
Stockton Ca
  #10  
Old 09-06-2005
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Forrest T. Forrest T. is offline
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

It's possible they can. That's why kneading the clay is recommended at the end of each body panel. But, the contaminants will cause the above conditions - that's how I judge when to replace my clay.

As they embed in the clay, the clay will change colors, lose its stickiness, and will not work as fast. They are all signs the bar is loaded up and should be replaced.
  #11  
Old 11-16-2005
automatically clean automatically clean is offline
 
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfisti
Another happy Mothers Clay user.
I couldn't agree more, I've used it on vehicles with overspray, and others just to breathe some new life into some tired paint. wash, dry, polish, clay bar(to remove any defects left in the paint) then seal it with great wax or glaze. looks increadible.....
  #12  
Old 01-02-2006
Legendman Legendman is offline
 
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

Before one uses the Clay Bar, are there any other prior first steps, other than washing the car?

For example, would using a paint cleaner first, followed by the clay bar be appropriate/desirable, or should we always start with the clay bar on a freshly washed car?

Assuming the protocol is to start with the clay, what are the products/steps to follow in order to get one's car finish to maximum gloss and depth? (Include Top Coat in this equation, please). Note: my car is new and dark metallic in color.
  #13  
Old 01-02-2006
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

Under normal circumstances, just wash it good first to remove any loose debis, then clay, and then follow with your favorite finish -- be that a multi-step or one-step.

It sounds like you want to use Reflections Car Wax followed with Reflections Top Coat, and that would be a good choice.
  #14  
Old 01-02-2006
Detail Guy Detail Guy is offline
 
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legendman
Before one uses the Clay Bar, are there any other prior first steps, other than washing the car?

For example, would using a paint cleaner first, followed by the clay bar be appropriate/desirable, or should we always start with the clay bar on a freshly washed car?

Assuming the protocol is to start with the clay, what are the products/steps to follow in order to get one's car finish to maximum gloss and depth? (Include Top Coat in this equation, please). Note: my car is new and dark metallic in color.
I would emphasize that you want to wash your vehicle REALLY well! Make sure there is NO dirt on the vehicle. Using a clay bar over a signifcant spot of dirt can cause spider-webbing of the finish.

Anyhow, if you are going for the "max" finish, here's what I would recommend...

Wash & dry.

Clay the vehicle to remove the surface contaminates.

Use a chemical paint cleaner to clean the paint (below surface).

Use a good swirl remover to remove any swirls/spider web marks. (If you have any marks)

Add a good glaze here if you wish (if using a natural wax as your LSP)

Top it with you favorite wax or sealant.

Let it sit a few hours (overnight is better), give it a quick QD'ing, and add another coat of your wax or sealant!
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  #15  
Old 02-05-2006
DETROIT-DETAILER DETROIT-DETAILER is offline
 
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

OK, 1ST YOU WASH AND DRY THE CAR THEN YOU CLAY THE CAR THEN YOU POLISH THE CAR THEN YOU GLAZE THE CAR THEN YOU PUT YOUR CHOICE OF WAX OR SEALER.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Legendman
Before one uses the Clay Bar, are there any other prior first steps, other than washing the car?

For example, would using a paint cleaner first, followed by the clay bar be appropriate/desirable, or should we always start with the clay bar on a freshly washed car?

Assuming the protocol is to start with the clay, what are the products/steps to follow in order to get one's car finish to maximum gloss and depth? (Include Top Coat in this equation, please). Note: my car is new and dark metallic in color.
  #16  
Old 02-05-2006
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Forrest T. Forrest T. is offline
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

Wash
Clay
Polish - by hand (Pre-Wax Cleaner) or machine (PowerPolish)
Glaze - Sealer and Glaze
Then, your protective wax application. You mentioned Top Coat, but it cold be PowerWax or Natural Formula Wax, or Top Coat. All serve the same basic function.
  #17  
Old 02-06-2006
Legendman Legendman is offline
 
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

Polish - by hand or machine (PowerPolish)

Is "Power Polish" the Mother's polish product I have been reading about throughout this thread?

I ask because Polish isn't really part of the Mother's traditional 3 part system of cleaner, sealer/glaze, and Nautural Carnauba wax (or Power Wax) that I see on store shelves.

As noted in the above post, I trust that Power Polish can also be effectively applied by hand. Correct?

Is Power Polish the only stand-alone polish product that Mother's currently makes?
  #18  
Old 02-06-2006
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Forrest T. Forrest T. is offline
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

PowerPolish (part number 08616) is step 1 of our Power series - it's formulated for use by machine (random, dual action, or rotary) for defect removal. It's a very forgiving product, and its performance is pad dependent (use a more aggressive pad for defect removal, a less aggressive/polishing pad for just polishing the finish).

Yes, it can be used by hand, but it's really made to use with a machine. Its performance will be less than if used with a machine.

At the present time, PowerPolish s the only consumer standalone polish we offer.
  #19  
Old 02-06-2006
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

I added clarification to Forrest's post.

Polish by hand: Pre-Wax Cleaner
Polish by machine: PowerPolish

PowerPolish is specifically formulated for machine use.
  #20  
Old 02-06-2006
Legendman Legendman is offline
 
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Default Re: How to use Clay Bar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Forrest T.
At the present time, PowerPolish is the only consumer standalone polish we offer.

At present, I am still a hands-on guy.

Any plans to offer a hand applied polish?

Would using another quality brand hand applied polish, followed by your sealer/glaze, be a good way to go?
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