Best Clay Bar
Does the BEST really exist

Does the best clay bar really exist? And if it does, how do you really know it is the best there is to be had?

What even makes "the best" or qualifies anything to be the best?

But I get it.

We all want the best if we want anything at all, right?!

mothers clay bar

The Best Clay Bar:
Understanding the clay bar process

I think it is important before you go running off reading clay bar review after another, that you at least understand the clay bar process and how to clay bar your car.

So let's take a brief moment to understand the basics and allow me to "myth bust" some of the bad information that continues to circulate the Internet from people willing to repeat bad and unverified information.

What is Detailing Clay:

The clay bar actually has a few names.

  • The clay bar
  • Detailing clay
  • Decontamination bar
  • Clay mitt

Since it comes in different forms, it is a subject that becomes instantly confusing. In the name of keeping it simple, I will just give a brief description of what is the clay bar:

A synthetic type of moldable/malleable "clay" that is like very firm sculpting clay or Playdoh if you are familiar with what Playdoh is.Now there are different types of "clay bars" in the form of synthetic, rubberized material that is attached to blocks, cloths, and handles.

What is the Clay Bar Process

Whether you really can find the best clay bar or not matters not. Any form of detailing clay is used to decontaminate your car paint specifically, but can also be used to decontaminate any hard surface of your car: paint, glass, chrome, hard plastic, etc.

What is Paint Contamination

clay bar process

Think of the clay bar process this way:

Everywhere in the world there is this thing called air pollution. Air pollution can be made up of endless forms of contaminants. These contaminants settle onto the surface of your car.(as seen in the diagram)

Since not all air born contaminants are created equal, some of these air born contaminants can settle onto your car and etch or bond to the surface of your car paint, glass, chrome, etc.

The different types of decontamination bars, mitts, sponges, cloths, etc., are all used to remove these contaminants that will not come off during the traditional car washing, waxing, or even polishing process.

How Does the Clay Bar Work

Simply put: the clay bar shears away these bonded contaminants as you rub this "object" back and forth across the surface you are trying to decontaminate. (see video at bottom of page for a video tutorial on using a clay bar)

Since the clay bar or any other type of decontaminating "tool" will be tacky, you will be required to use some form of lubricant that allows you to rub your choice as the best clay bar, back and forth across your paint until the bonded and unwanted particles have been sheared off the surface.

How Often Do You Need to Clay Your Car

using a clay bar

It all depends.

The simple answer is that after washing your car and you have dried it off, feel your paint by swiping the palm of your hand across the paint surface. If you can "feel" your paint and hear your paint, you will know you need to be using a clay bar on your car.

"Paint should be seen, not heard"

The unwanted "pollution" that has bonded to your car paint can be seen if you have a light colored car. The "pollution" will appear like tiny little specs of dirt and often will look like rust specs. (much of the pollution attached to your car paint will literally be ferrous in nature. Which is a glorified term for iron/metal)

As you glide your hand across the surface, you will also be able to "hear" your car paint. Which isn't actually your car paint speaking to you. It is the noise made as your hand slides over all these tiny particles that have become a semi-permanent fixture on your cars paint.

Since your car will be exposed to pollution constantly, and since not every area of the world will have the same amounts of air born pollutants, it all depends on how quickly these unwanted forms of pollution attach to your cars paint and how often you are willing to go through the process of decontaminating your cars paint and glass.

Will the Clay Bar Scratch Car Paint


I know; shocking, right?!

But let's take a moment and define what we mean when we say scratching. Because really what is going to happen is not what I would call "traditional" scratching, but abrading.

And this abrading will happen at different rates based on you and your situation.

  • The amount of bonded pollutants (the more you have, the more rubbing will be required, and the more abrading will be done)
  • The type of bonded pollutants (not all pollution is created equal. Some will shear away easier than others)
  • How quickly the pollution collects (you have some control over this based on how frequently you wash your car. The longer you allow dirt to sit on your car, the more you will have an issue with bonded pollutants)

"If using a clay bar will "scratch my paint" Darren, then why would anyone use detailing clay in the first place?"

great question!

The Best Clay Bar
Everything has trade-off's

best clay bar

One of the many terms I have made popular thanks to my YouTube channel. I am constantly informing people that every choice you make, in this case whether to use the best clay bar to decontaminate your car paint (or simply wash, polish, and wax directly over all these bonded contaminants. (because that is what you are doing if you don't remove them) will have trade-off's.

In the case of using detailing clay to clay bar a car, you will have to accept that some amount of abrading will be taking place.

But for if you want silky smooth paint that is contaminant free, you will need to use some type of decontamination "tool" to remove these bonded contaminants.

What About Chemical Products to Decontaminate Paint

Yes. There are in fact chemical products (Iron X as an example) that you spray onto your cars paint and chemically reacts and "neutralizes" the ferrous metal particles.

The problem with these are a few:

  • It means a separate process and product to go perform
  • These chemical products still do not remove all bonded contaminants and are mainly only effective on the ferrous (metal) particle
  • You will still be required to use a clay bar if you want full and complete decontamination of your car (which means we are back to the abrading of your cars paint once you decide which is the best clay bar for you)

"So Darren, what should I do?"

I can't tell you for sure, but I can help you come to a decision.

Most people (myself included) start off with a choice in a quality clay bar and perform the decontamination process using the clay bar first. Once you have clayed your car followed by your choice as the best car wax, then see what you think and move forward from there.

Most people find that the abrading caused by the clay bar process is insignificant enough after a heavy-handed application of wax, that they simply don't feel the need to over-think the moment past that.

Likely  you will come to the same conclusion once you experience how silky smooth your car paint will feel once you have washed, clayed, and waxed your car.

It is a glorious fee! (trust me on this one!)

Best Clay Bar:
What Would Darren Do (WWDD)

Often people simply ask me what I would do. So I am going to tell you what I would do...

  • Wash your car in whatever method you choose (hand wash, take to local car wash, drive very fast through the rain, etc) But get the superficial dirt off your car first.
  • Chose one of the best clay bars from below and follow the directions on any of the clay bar kits (yes. I recommend a clay bar kit so you are equipped to handle to entire project)
  • Follow up with your choice in the best car wax and wax your car
  • Glide your hand across your freshly washed, clayed, and waxed paint. (make sure you do this in a pair of pants or shorts you don't mind "soiling". As you will likely become so excited at the results that you might wet yourself!)
  • Perform this as frequently as you determine you need based on the fell of your cars paint.

Mothers 07240 California Gold Clay Bar System

  • Comes with 2 clay bars
  • Comes with quick detailer to use as a lubricant
  • Comes with a single micro-fiber cloth to remove lubricant as you clay your car

Chemical Guys Cly_113 OG Clay Bar & Luber Synthetic Lubricant Kit, Light/Medium Duty (16 oz) (2 Items)

  • Comes with a single clay bar
  • Comes with "Clay Luber" as the lubricant

MEGUIAR'S Smooth Surface Clay Kit – Safe and Easy Car Claying for Smooth as Glass Finish – G1016

  • Comes with 2 clay bars
  • Comes with spray detailer as the lubricant
  • Comes with single micro-fiber cloth to mop up used lube as you work

The Best Clay Bar:
Video Tutorial

Best Clay Bar Summary

If you have made it this far into this page, give yourself a big high-five!

For you would be among the few. Most people simply don't have the patience to read through an entire detailing tutorial to learn all the many "details" of any given subject.

My goal has been to help you become a more informed car owner so that you can also make a more informed decision. I hope the time and effort I have put into this page has helped.


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