If you're new to detailing clay, you might be thinking, "What can detailing clay possibly have to do with car care?" We've heard it all before. The short answer is that detailing clay removes from the paint what washing cannot. For the long answer, read on!
Detailing clay is an engineered resin compound used to remove contaminants from the surface of your car's paint, glass, fiberglass and metal. It can be natural or synthetic, though most manufacturers utilize synthetic clays.
Detailing clay is similar to the stuff you played with as a kid, but the kind used for detailing is usually much more elastic, especially in the case of Wolfgang Elastic Poly Clay. The elasticity gives the clay excellent durability as it is rolled, flattened, smushed and stretched over and over again.
Plus detailing clay is designed to stand up to the kind of contaminants that your childhood clay never had to face, i.e. industrial fallout, rail dust and brake dust. These contaminants pierce paint finishes, glass and metal and remain stuck on your vehicle through rain, car washes, and even polishing. The only way to remove these pollutants is - you guessed it - detailing clay.
How Does Auto Detailing Clay Work?
Detailing clay glides along the surface of your paint and grabs anything that protrudes from the surface. The particle sticks to the clay and is therefore removed from your vehicle. The surface being clayed should always be wet with clay lubricant to prevent loose debris from scratching the vehicle.
Used properly, clay is completely safe and nonabrasive. It's a much better option than polishing to remove these contaminants because clay doesn't remove any paint.
All clay requires the use of a clay lubricant to prevent scratches as you gently rub the clay on the vehicle. Wolfgang Clay Lubricant will provide a slick, protective barrier between the clay and the paint surface.
What Does Clay Remove?
Your vehicle is under constant assault from airborne pollutants. Brake dust, industrial fallout, acid rain deposits and rail dust all can adhere to your vehicle. These contaminants often contain metal particulates, which accounts for the ease with which they penetrate the clear coat to attack the paint below. These contaminants then oxidize, and they allow rust to spread beneath the clear coat. Tiny orange spots today, total paint system failure tomorrow! Detailing clay removes these contaminants in order to keep the paint healthy and vibrant.
Detailing Clay also removes stubborn sap, tar, and bug splatter. Detailing clay works wonder on glass as well. Try some the next time you're washing your windows. You'll be amazed at the results!
Do You Need To Clay?
Chances are, the answer is yes. The surface of your vehicle faces assaults from the environment every time it's out in the weather. Each road trip brings new insults from roadway debris, exhaust films, and airborne pollution. They will splash, mar, and embed themselves in that beautiful paint job you've labored over. Vehicles can accumulate these contaminants any time, any place – even at the dealership.
There's a simple test that will indicate whether or not you need to clay. Wash and dry your vehicle, put a plastic sandwich bag over your hand and lightly rub your fingertips over the paint. If it feels gritty or rough, your paint is contaminated.
Waxes and paint sealants will adhere better to clean paint and the shine will be more uniform and vibrant. Sounds like a win-win situation!
To Use Clay:
The Wolfgang Polishin' Pal Clay Kit, contain clay and its corresponding lubricant.
Follow these steps:
Wash and dry your vehicle.
Spray a small area with clay lubricant, no bigger than 2 square feet.
Gently rub the clay bar back and forth across the wet area. It will grab at first. This means that it is pulling contaminants out of the paint. When it glides freely, the paint is clean.
Wipe the area with a microfiber towel and use the clay lubricant to remove any clay residue. Rub your fingers across the paint now; it should be as smooth as glass. If it's not, repeat the process. Reshape the clay bar as needed to expose a clean surface. Keep the clay well-lubricated.
Continue these steps until you've clayed the entire vehicle. Clay does a marvelous job on glass and chrome, too.
Store the clay bar in its original case if possible, or in an airtight plastic bag. Spray it with lubricant to keep it moist. Do not allow the clay to freeze and do not store it in temperatures above 200 degrees F.
Note: Clay does not remove oxidized paint or fill in blemishes. If your paint is mildly oxidized, clean the paint with clay and then use a polish to remove the oxidized paint. If the oxidation is severe, polish first because the oxidized paint may flake off as you clay and ruin the clay bar.