Clay is putty-like substance that is used to remove contaminants from a surface. Clay removes particles that can’t be removed by washing or are difficult to remove with chemical cleaning.
Clay allows a user to remove particles that are either stuck to the surface or are trapped in microscopic gaps of the surface. Clay itself will actually become dirty over time and needs to be used with care. After claying, the surface should feel smooth, leaving a deeply cleaned surface. Further cleaning can be needed to achieve a perfectly clean surface.
How its used
In general its recommended to use clay in combination with clay-lube. This is a specially formulated liquid that helps the clay to glide over the paintwork, minimizing the risk of creating marring or any paint damage. The clay-lube is sprayed on the surface and the user rubs the clay over the wet surface. In many cases it is enough to wipe a certain area once, but it can be needed to wipe an area more times to clean properly.
After an area is done, the clay-lube can be rinsed off or wiped off.
The invention of clay
The original inventor of the polymer detailing clay is Mister Tadao Kodate, a japanese scientist who was looking for a safe way to remove contaminants from bodywork without using harsh chemicals or polishing compounds. The original clay bar was introduced in America in the early 1990’s by Auto Wax Company. When Dennis Dehn – a Auto Wax Consultant – was hired by Auto Wax Company to demonstrate the AWC products in Japan. When showing the products in a detailing competition he used a compound to get the paintwork smooth and clean. When he look beside him, he saw the other competitor using some type of putty with a spray liquid, rubbing the paint.
The first company to patent the detailing clay was Auto Wax Company (later called: Auto Magic), who holds the patent for detailing clay until 2014. 9 out of 10 clay bars sold where manufactured by Auto Magic under the brandname Clay Magic.
Clay comes in a few different grades. A hard/rough grade removes more contaminants, but has more chance of marring. A soft/gentle clay removes less contaminants but decreases the risk of marring. Using a clay that is to rough will results in a surface that is affected more then needed, a clay that is to gentle will not give the desired effect. It takes experience to judge what clay is needed.
Clay removes dirt by grabbing the contaminants and dragging it from the surface. This means that you have to turn over the clay often. Even with care and good quality clay-lube, it is very difficult to have no negative effect on the surface at all. The marks usually created by claying is called marring. Marring are very shallow marks in the surface of the paintwork that are very easy to remove. Most pre-wax cleaners, finishing polishes and some all-in-one (AIO) products can removing marring with great ease.
Claying doesn’t only come in putty-like form, some manufacturers have found ways to manufacture washmitts with a surface that acts the same as clay. This reduces the chance of dropping the clay, making it unusable.
Besides putty-like clay and claymitts, there are also claysponges. These are small sponges coated with a surface that is very similar to the coating on the claymitts. These can be coated on both sides or just one side. Some claysponges are even coated with 2 different grades of clay.
- When you have a matte wrap on your car, or just matte paintwork, you need to take care what protective product you are using. Protecting a matte finish is just as important as on a normal surface, but you need to be careful what you use....
- There are multiple ways of drying your car. The most common one is drying with Microfiber towels. However, you can also use a device that blows air for blow-drying off the water. This can especially be handy when you have to deal with small spaces, crevices or trims that can hide water....
- It is often asked on detailing fora and social media: "what is the best polish". Off course there is a difference between certain products and brands, but it is important to know what you are asking. In this guide I will try to explain what the problem is with this question unless it is asked more in-depth....
- Sensha is one of only a few detailing product manufacturers from Australia. The company is located in Sydney but has its origin in Japan since 1997, and offers a wide range of products for carwashes, valeting and detailing....
- A steamer is a device that uses the steam from heated water (under pressure) to pump through a hose. When it leaves the hose, it can be used to clean certain surfaces with. The advantage of using steam is the relative high temperature that can help to loosen up dirt and certain chemicals....
- Removing snow from your vehicle might be necessary before you can safely drive off. Leaving lots of snow on your vehicle can be illegal and result in a fine and/or unsafe situations. Removing the snow safely and properly makes it safer for you and your surrounding, and will prevent surface imperfections that need to be polished out....