Professional Carwashing & Detailing

All about clay, part 1

May 29, 2013

For those that have seen clay in action, the origins of body clay are sometimes as mystical as how it works.

Some say it came from Asia for the removal of airborne particles from paint surfaces, while others swear it came from creative painters in the US for the removal of over-spray.

Clay works by literally grabbing the object and removing it from the paint surface.

Even today, after countless clay jobs, detailers are still sometimes amazed at its simplicity. No matter its origins, body clay is something that every detailer should be familiar with.

Before you begin

Before you get started on claying, make sure you have a few items handy:

1. The clay bar of choice: Depending on the manufacturer, you may choose from light, moderate or highly aggressive clays.

2. A lubricating agent: While some will suggest water, studies show that this increases the chance of micro surface scratches developing.

A good suggestion is to use either soapy water or a liquid spray detailer product.

3. Several drying cloths: Micro fibers or shammy's are a common recommendation.

4. A lighted magnifying glass: This will allow you to inspect the paint finish both before and after claying and is also a great sales tool when shared with customers.

Part 2 will appear in next week's Detailing eNews and it will deal with what you have to do before you begin.

Renny Doyle is the founder of Attention to Details, Ltd., which specializes in detailing cars, aircrafts, boats, RV's and custom bikes. Doyle can be reached at