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Home Guides Claying


When contamination gets hold of your vehicles paintwork, washing alone will not remove them. Cleaners may also not be able to remove larger particles. In which case there are two options: machine polishing or a clay bar. A clay bar does not remove any paint material, it is purely a surface preparation bar that smoothes the paint and removes all contamination.


How Does Clay Work?

Detailing clay is a "selective polish" with a built in applicator, it's job is to 'polish away' dirt and surface contamination from your paint, chrome, glass and plastic without polishing the surface itself. Detailing clay works by floating over the surface on a layer of clay lubricant, when the clay meets surface contamination it detaches it leaving your paint smooth.

There are different grades of clay:

Professional grade clay is designed to remove paint overspray, this clay is very firm and contains abrasives equivalent to a heavy rubbing compound.

Detailing grade clays are designed to be used as a twice/three times a year paint maintenance tool prior to waxing.

Ultra fine clay is so fine it is safe to be used monthly to keep your paint smooth and clean.

Assessing Your Paint

How will you know when you need to use a clay bar? After you have washed and dried your vehicle, run your hand over the paintwork. If it feels rough, this is contamination. Removing these contaminants (dirt, grit, tar, bugs, brake dust etc.) will improve the look and feel of your vehicles paint finish.

How To Use Clay

Using clay is very simple, only if you follow the instructions. Used incorrectly will increase the risk of adding more marks and scuffs into your paintwork. Before you start claying your vehicle, you must wash and dry your vehicle to remove any loose dirt.
When using clay always use plenty of spray lubricant, the clay bar is sticky and cannot be used dry. Trying to use dry clay will make a mess of your paintwork. Working on a small area at a time to avoid missing any contamination. Once that area is free of contamination, buff the area to remove clay residue.


After claying just one or two panels, your clay will appear dirty, this is the clay doing it's job. When the clay becomes dirty remould the clay into a ball and flatten to reveal a clean surface.

When you have finished claying your vehicle, re-wash it to remove the lubricant film. Now you have an excellent base to use a pre-wax cleaner to finish cleaning the surface before you wax/seal your freshly cleaned paint.

Some of the high quality claying products used by KDS.

  • Sonus Detailing Clay
  • Sonus Glyde Detailing Lubricant
  • Meguiars Quik Clay Kit
  • All of the above products are available to purchase through KDS.