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3069 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  aaron2118
How To Clay your car

I was never sure how exactly to use clay on my car. So I asked Mr. Zaino and he responded in great detail.

I'll paste his response for those of you who also have wondered how to do it:

A clayed paint surface is much easier to apply polish to and remove
polish from. Also, if some of the contaminants that claying removes were
left on the paint they could significantly shorten the life of the

As simple and easy as clay is to use, it only makes sense that it should
be included in the maintainance of your pride and joy's paint finish.

First of all, before claying, you need to wash the vehicle thoroughly.
This removes any grease, oil and road film as well as dirt and grit to
eliminate unnecessary scratches. I recommend using Dawn dish soap for
the initial pre-clay scrub wash because it is very effective in
removing grease, wax, and oil film form the paint without harming the
paint it's self. I have used others but I feel that Dawn is the most

About an ounce of Dawn to a small (2.5 gal.) bucket of water should do
the trick. Most clay products contain no abrasives and should leave no
scratches as long as there is no dirt or dust between the clay and the
paint. It is really important to do a good, thorough wash before
starting with your clay scrub.

I should also add that you should never use clay on a paint surface
that is hot to the touch. This will cause the clay material to drag on
the paint surface and leave clay material transfer. You can get the
transfer off but it can be a pain and it is totally unnecessary.

The next step is to decide on which lube you will use with the clay.
All clay manufacturers sell a product that they recommend as the lube
with their clay but I have found that some of them leave what appears to
be either an oily film or a soapy residue.

I use Zaino products and use Zaino's Z7 car wash mixed with water. I
mix about one cap full of Z7 car wash to 16 ounces of water in a spray
bottle. Zaino Z6 also works well as a lube for clay
but it is more expensive than Z7 and I prefer saving it for wipedowns
between coats. I only use Z6 as a lube if I am claying a small section
to remove localized surface contaminants that do not afect the entire

I have used dish soap and other car washes mixed with water as a lube
before but I like the Z7 better as far as lubricity and it does not
leave a greasy/oily or soapy film. If you use Zaino polish and use
something besides the Z7/H2O as a lube I recommend a second Dawn wash
after the clay scrub to remove any possible film if you want optimal

To begin the clay scrub, form the clay bar into a flat, half palm sized
shape. Spray a section of the clean, cool paint surface with the lube
of your choice (I prefer approx. 3' X 3' or so) and simply lay the clay
flat on the paint surface and while applying light pressure to the clay
gently slide it back and forth across the section that you lubed.

Scrub the section until you feel it getting slick and the clay glides
across the paint more easily. While scrubbing with the clay make sure to
keep the area lubed with the spray to avoid dragging and clay material
transfer. When the paint feels slick stop scrubbing and wipe the area
dry with a 100% cotton towel. The area you clayed should feel slick when
you run your fingers across it.

Before going to the next section you should fold and knead the clay to
expose a fresh, clean side of the clay and form it into a flat, half
palm sized shape again. Then just spray the next section and repeat
until the entire painted surface of the vehicle is as smooth as a baby's
butt. Overlap the sections to insure that you clay every inch of paint.
Also, make sure to refold and knead the clay between each section or
panel so that you are rubbing the paint surface with a clean portion of
the clay bar. When the clay bar looks dark or dirty even after folding
and kneading discard it and get a new one. A single 80 gram bar should
do a car 5 to 7 times before needing to be discarded as long as you
don't drop it or get dirt into it from other sources, such as missing a
spot when washing before the clay scrub.

**Important**- If you drop the clay bar onto the ground, THROW IT AWAY.
It can pick up grit and leave some NASTY scratches. The odds of you
picking all the dirt and grit out of the clay are slim and a new clay
bar is far cheaper than a paint repair if you get scratches that can't
be polished out.

After the entire vehicle has been clay scrubbed you should wash and dry
it, then apply a good paint protectant ASAP. As well as removing bonded
surface contaminants, the claying process removes any and all wax from
the paint, leaving it exposed to the sun(UV), acid rain, and other
elements. I recommend Zaino Bros Show Car Polish if you want the best
looking, longest lasting shine and protection. Zaino polishes are also
the easiest to use that I have found.
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I just did this on Friday. It's amazing to see the crap that comes off on the clay, even after you just finished washing. You think it's clean after a wash... and then you see how brown the clay is after a few seconds on your hood.

I've noticed that in most cases, the hood, roof, trunk lid, and rear bumper are the only places that really need to be clayed. The vertical surfaces on the sides of the car stay pretty clean.

I also found that it's easier to mold/fold the clay if it's warm. What I do is fill a bucket up with warm to hot water, and throw the bar in. Let it sit for a second while you spray the first section of the car with the lube. You can use the clay right out of the water with no need to shake it off or anything, then toss it back in the bucket while you're wiping off the lube. When you're done wiping, spray a new section of the car, remove the clay from the water, fold to a clean portion, and continue on.
Learn something new everyday - I had never heard of using clay on a car..... maybe I missed it in the writeup, what kind of clay and where does one acquire it?
Mothers, Meguiars and Zaino make kits. You should be able to find Mother and Mequiars at Autozone, Pepboys, Advanced Auto and similiar stores.
You can directly order products from Meguiars website.

You can only buy Zaino products from Well sort of, they only accepts orders through the mail at this time but you can go to their site and pick out what you want and print out an order form.
my friend suggested me to clay my car last summer and so we did. It works great and i highly recommend it.
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