What is a clay bar treatment?

What is a clay bar treatment?

As I was claying a vehicle today I thought to myself, “Most people have no idea what a clay bar treatment is”. So, here I am explaining it for you! I’m serious though. We get messages all the time asking for clay bar treatments to get rid of scratches,swirls and other magical type requests. I’m going to address what clay is, what clay doesn’t do and what clay does do. 

Clay is quite literally exactly what it sounds like, it’s clay. When you realize that is what it is you quickly realize the things it cannot do. Imagine if ordinary clay could remove scratches! My job would get SO much easier. Clay cannot remove scratches, paint damage or oxidation unfortunately. In fact, scratches don’t get removed. It is the removal and leveling of the clear coat that causes the scratches to go away. Check out this quick explainer of how we actually remove scratches from a vehicle. 


Now that we know what clay is and what it does not do, let’s talk about what it actually does do. You can see in the picture attached to this article that on the left we have new clay and on the right we have used clay. Your paint is much like your face. It is porous and those pores get clogged…..you know like those nasty black heads! Just like your face, your paint will not clog nearly as bad if you keep up with your regular cleanings and maintenance. 

When your paint is clogged,dull and full of blackheads……I mean contamination…..that means it is time for a clay bar treatment. After a solid wash you use a clay bar to lightly go over all the painted and glass surfaces. This will lift those black heads right out!This is why the clay on the right side of the photo is so dirty. No, clay bars don’t work like that on human faces.The vehicle we clayed had some serious contamination. It is important to note that if you have contaminated paint you will not be able to apply protection to the paint and have it last. The protection will be adhering to the contaminants instead of the paint. You can also cause paint damage by trying to wax a vehicle with contamination in the paint. It is also highly recommended to follow with, at minimum, a light polish after claying a vehicle. The clay treatment will leave behind marring if the surface was heavily contaminated. The only way to address that is through polishing.  

If you have any questions on what type of clay to use and how, please feel free to reach out to us on any of our platforms. We are always happy to give advice no matter where you are located.

Thanks for reading, 
Jonathan Monson

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