Informational Guide

How To Clay Bar A Car

With 3 different types of clay bars, we show you how to clay bar a car so you can get the job done like a professional.

To detail your car like a pro, you want to use a clay bar. But, do you know how to clay bar a car? In this guide, we will show you how to use a clay bar on your car so you can get the job done like a professional.

The clay bar is a specially manufactured resin compound that can be created from natural or synthetic materials. Because it has some elasticity, it is extremely durable, even when rolled, stretched and flattened.

The clay bar works like putty to remove any contaminants from your auto paint. Most clay bar kits are going to include a detailing spray to add protection when you are finished learning how to clay bar wax a car.

There are different types of clay bars to choose from.

Fine grade clay

This clay type is soft and simple to use. It will only remove a small amount of contamination, so you don’t want to use it for stubborn stains or tree sap. Instead, it is meant for regular detailing use.

Medium grade clay

The medium-grade bar will be more aggressive, but it also weighs more. If you aren't careful, it could create slight hazing or marring to the auto body paint. After learning how to detail a car with a clay bar, you will want to polish the surface.

Heavy grade clay

This is the most aggressive clay bar you can buy, ideal for removing adhered contaminants like over-sprayed paint or deeply embedded substances. You can also use it on plastic, metal and glass, but you will need to polish the car when you are done to remove the haze left behind.

The Benefits of Using a Clay Bar on Your Car

  • Removes above surface bonded contaminants 
    When you learn how to properly clay bar a car, you effectively remove contaminants from the paint that you couldn’t get off with polishing or washing alone. Plus, when you figure out how to use a clay bar for cars, you won’t ruin the automotive paint either.
  • Enable wax or paint sealant to better bond to the paint 
    The clay bar is going to create a better surface for your detailing work. With this clean surface, your wax and paint sealant will bond better to the paint for better protection.
  • Restores a silky, smooth and clean car surface 
    Once you take all of the impurities off of the car paint, it will be primed for a cleaner, smoother appearance. If you are going to take the time to detail your car, you might as well ensure that the products and time are all well spent.
  • Makes car polishing easier, more effective, and safer 
    Think of using the clay bar as creating a better canvas for your work. With your polishing efforts, the clay bar ensures the best results, letting the inner beauty of your car shine forth. 

Do you know how often to clay bar a car? If you follow our steps, learning how to use a clay bar to clean a car, you should continue this process about three to four times a year for the best results.

How To Clay Bar A Car

Choosing The Right Clay Bar For Your Car


Learning how to clay bar a car finish will depend on the aggressiveness you choose. The fine-grade clay bar is going to be used very differently from aggressive clay. Please choose the one that best fits your needs and follow its instructions.


With a lighter-colored clay bar, you might be able to see the dirt better, thereby letting you know when an area is completely clean. However, some of the top manufacturers make clay bars blue, so you might not care too much about the color.


The actual shape and size of the bar don’t matter much as long as it fits well in your hand. As you work, pieces of the bar are going to be ripped off anyway. The average clay bar size is 100g, which seems to be enough for several car cleanings.

How much does it cost to clay bar a car? As you attempt to figure out how much to clay bar and wax a car, it will vary based on whether you do it yourself or have a professional handle the task. So, how much to clay bar a car by yourself? You will only have the cost of the supplies you choose. However, a professional will charge you for a full detail, which could be up to $200 or more.

If you want to do it yourself, you might wonder - how long does it take to clay bar a car? At first, it might take you an hour, but you should eventually get good enough to complete the task in 30 minutes.

How To Use a Clay Bar On Your Car

How To Clay Bar A Car (Beginners Step-By-Step Guide)

We will show you how to clay bar and wax a car. Follow these steps to get started.

  1. 1
    Wash the vehicle to start.
  2. 2
    Break off a small piece of clay and keep it handy.
  3. 3
    Apply a lubricant to a small patch of the car. While water can be used, it isn’t the best option. Without proper lubrication, the clay bar can create marring or leave tough to remove pieces behind.
  4. 4
    Mold the clay bar into a small disc, so it creates a nice grip in your hand.
  5. 5
    Scrub the surface gently with the clay bar. Move back and forth, not in a circular motion.
  6. 6
    Knead the clay bar to create a new surface.
  7. 7
    Dry the surface with a microfiber cloth.
  8. 8
    Move onto the other parts of the car.
  9. 9
    Finish detailing with wax or polishing.

If you need some visual help, watch this video.

Is there a difference if you want to know how to clay bar a black car versus how to clay bar a white car? Yes! Learning how to use a clay bar on a black car might take a little more skill since the paint shows more swirls and imperfections than a white car would

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How do I wax a car after using a clay bar?

After you learn how to use a clay bar to clean your car, it’s time to wax and polish it. Follow the standard steps as you would without a clay bar.

Can I clay bar a new car?

Yes! You want to learn how to clay bar a new car because your vehicle has been sitting on the lot and is likely covered with imperfections.

Do clay bars remove scratches?

There are no abrasives on a clay bar, so it cannot remove scratches from a car. However, it will create a cleaner appearance that is free of contaminants that can cause scratches.

Do you wash the car after a clay bar treatment?

You should always wash your car after finishing the clay bar treatment because there could be leftover lubricant film on the paint. If left on the surface, the lubricant could cause damage.

Does a clay bar damage clear coat?

The clay bar itself will not cause damage to the clear coat. However, the particles being removed from the paint surface might cause damage to the clear coat as it is being removed.

What is the difference between a clay bar and a rubbing compound?

The clay bar removes imperfections and impurities from the paint surface without damaging the clear coat. On the other hand, a rubbing compound is more aggressive and is used mainly for oxidized paint removal. The rubbing compound can remove the paint and clearcoat off of a vehicle.


Now that you know how long to clay bar a car and the steps to follow, it’s time to get started. Restore the beauty of your vehicle no matter how old it is.