Keeping it smooth with our Fine Clay Bar

Quick guide to using our Fine Clay Bar

In the Bowden family we are a little bit fanatical about beautiful smooth paint. With our Fine Clay Bar, you can now clean your paint regularly without concern for reducing clear coat thickness or scratching. It's the first step for perfect, smooth paint.

What are Clay Bars?

Clay bars are for quickly removing things that regular washing cannot, like paint over spray, embedded dirt, tree sap, light tar, bug residue and just about any other contaminants that want to bond to your paint, glass or hard chrome surface. 

Our clay bars and towels are a fast and easy way to help prepare your paint before applying a cleanser, wax or sealant. Made to safely remove stronger embedded contaminants and grime from your paint and glass, that normal washing won’t budge. They create a beautiful smooth surface so the Paint Cleanse & Restore works better and allows our Carnauba Waxes, Fully Slick and After Glow sealants to protect your paint for longer. Use them whenever your paint feels rough, or before you paint cleanse and wax.

All clay towels and bars use a super fine abrasive in them, making it important to use a good lubricant like our Boss Gloss, Nanolicious Wash or Wax Wash with them, so they glide over the surface, rather than touch it and create micro marring.

Previous to the clay bars arrival, you would have machine polished your paint to remove the top layer from the paints surface to take away these bonded contaminants. Those days are now gone, as good quality clay bars won't remove your paint when used correctly - they glide over it with a suitable lubricant in between the clay bar and the paint. This allows the tacky compund to grab and safely shear off the contaminants that protrude from the paint surface, and embed them in the sticky bar, leaving a beautiful smooth finish. Unlike machine polisihing, clay bars are not wearing down your paints surface every time you use them, something we see as very important with modern clear coated paints. 

Clay bars are a synthetic engineered resin compound, that feel a little bit like blue tack. They are not abrasive in the way they work, but they do however contain a very fine component of different abrasive materials in them. On the less aggressive bars, the abrasives won't affect the hard surfaces they are used on, as long as you have a good quality lubricant. 

Our custom made Fine Clay Bar is what we see as best for enthusiasts to use on their cars, using super fine abrasive content in a non drying bar. This formula takes away the risk of using the more common heavier grades of industrial clay bars, that can potentially micro-marr or scratch your paints' surface. It's that fine, it wont remove your carnauba wax coat or paint sealant either. 

It’s important to note that clay bars are not for removing fine scratches, swirls marks, heavier water marks or paint etching. For these issues you will need to look at traditional machine polishing to rectify them correctly.

We strongly reccomend using Clay Bars as the start of many detailing jobs, (even for brand new cars) as they make our Paint Cleanse & Restore preparation product work better and easier and most importantly helps any carnauba wax or paint sealant look better and last longer.

To check if your paint really needs to be clayed is easy; after washing a section of your car, run your fingers over the paint. If it feels rough or gritty in any way, use the Fine Clay Bar to bring it back to a glass like smoothness. 

You'll find the clay bar is a remarkable product and well worth becoming part of your regular car care regimen. Read on to see how easy they are to use.

What you need

Firstly get the following gear together;

  • The Fine Clay Bar 
  • A lubricant - the Boss Gloss detailing spray is perfect. Another alternative, is to use the Auto Body GelNanolicious Wash or Wax Wash, mixed in a bucket.
  • One of our lovely Big Softie microfibre cloths.

Before using our Fine Clay Bar, thoroughly wash and dry your car to remove the paint surface from any loose dirt. If it's a car that does not get water on it, use the technique we have to clean cars with light dust on them, which can be found in the Exterior Guides section of this website. 

Work in an area that is out of the sun and relatively cool to prevent rapid evaporation of the Boss Gloss lubricant if you're using this method.

Step 1

We make our clay bars to be the right size and width, literally right out of the box. No need to break it in half and mould it, as it will fit perfectly into the palm of your hand, all ready to go.

Step 2

Always work on small sections of the car at a time, like 1/4 of the bonnet, a guard or 1/2 a door etc.  

Spray the Boss Gloss detailing spray VERY liberally onto the part you will first be cleaning, and also spray some Boss Gloss directly onto the clay bar, ensuring it's well lubricated.

Step 3

Apply the Fine Clay Bar to the surface and gently rub the clay back and forth with very light pressure. If the paint is dirty, you will actually feel some resistance and even hear it working. Keep moving in a light motion till you no longer feel any resistance, or hear it working on the car. 

If the Boss Gloss begins to dry, you'll need to spray more on the surface. Please note that our Fine Clay Bar cannot be used on a dry surface. If it's dry, you'll make a mess and potentially damage your paint, so always make sure there is lots of lubrication on your paint.

This bar is not made to be agressive, so on heavier contaminated cars you may need to rub over the areas a little bit longer than you would with more agressive clay bars. But, you won't have to come back and machine polish out any fine micro scratches that more agressive clay bars will leave, which saves you time and money in the long run.

Step 4

If your car is very contaminated, the bars surface will fill up fast with what it removes from the painted surface. So check it often.

Always check the clay bar for any harder particles it might pick up as well. If you find one in the clay, pick it out. 

Step 5

Once any light dirt is seen in the bar surface, fold, knead and reform the bar so that a fresh portion of the bar is in contact with your cars' paint. Mould it into a good shape, about the same as how it was when it came out of the box - animal and car shapes are nice, but a shape that fits in your palm is best.

If you drop your bar of clay on the ground, it's all over red rover. Toss it out. Don't take any chances. If it's impregnated with grit it will scratch!

Step 6

After a few passes with the clay, gently run your fingers over the area you have cleaned, to feel if there are any areas you may have missed.

You should feel a distinct difference between the areas you have and have not clayed. You will be delighted to feel its beautiful, smooth surface.

Finally, lightly buff the Boss Gloss residue off with our soft Big Softie microfibre cloth and then move onto the next section, repeating the above method, right around the car till you're all done. 

You can clay your car as often as you'd like, but we reccomend to only do it when it's needed. Once a year is generally enough for most well looked after cars, but if your paint ever feels rough, it's best to give it another run over then. 

 

After a few passes with the clay, rub your hand over the area you have cleaned to feel if there are any areas you may have missed.

You should feel a distinct difference between the areas you have and have not clayed. You will be delighted to feel its beautiful smooth surface.

Finally, lightly buff the clay residue off with our soft Big Softie microfibre cloth. 

- See more at: https://web.archive.org/web/20160308110508/http://bowdensown.com.au/guides/keeping-it-smooth-our-fine-clay-bar#sthash.IZ6puDfu.dpuf

After a few passes with the clay, rub your hand over the area you have cleaned to feel if there are any areas you may have missed.
You should feel a distinct difference between the areas you have and have not clayed. You will be delighted to feel its beautiful smooth surface.
Finally, lightly buff the clay residue off with our soft Big Softie microfibre cloth. After a few passes with the clay, rub your hand over the area you have cleaned to feel if there are any areas you may have missed.

You should feel a distinct difference between the areas you have and have not clayed. You will be delighted to feel its beautiful smooth surface.

Finally, lightly buff the clay residue off with our soft Big Softie microfibre cloth. 

- See more at: https://web.archive.org/web/20160308110508/http://bowdensown.com.au/guides/keeping-it-smooth-our-fine-clay-bar#sthash.IZ6puDfu.dpufAfter a few passes with the clay, rub your hand over the area you have cleaned to feel if there are any areas you may have missed.
You should feel a distinct difference between the areas you have and have not clayed. You will be delighted to feel its beautiful smooth surface.
Finally, lightly buff the clay residue off with our soft Big Softie microfibre cloth.

 

After a few passes with the clay, rub your hand over the area you have cleaned to feel if there are any areas you may have missed.

You should feel a distinct difference between the areas you have and have not clayed. You will be delighted to feel its beautiful smooth surface.

Finally, lightly buff the clay residue off with our soft Big Softie microfibre cloth. 

- See more at: https://web.archive.org/web/20160308110508/http://bowdensown.com.au/guides/keeping-it-smooth-our-fine-clay-bar#sthash.IZ6puDfu.dpuf

Storage

Store your clay bar in the plastic container it came with, in a cool area, never anywhere that it can get too hot. This will keep it safe, clean and ready for the next time you need to use it.

Depending on the cleanliness of the surface you're cleaning, 1 bar should be good enough for safe use on 3 cars. If it looks dirty, it means it's time to replace the bar. Try not to overuse the clay bar.

Clay while you wash

If you want to do the clay job a little bit faster, you can use the Fine Clay Bar after you give your car an initial wash. Make sure the paint is cool to touch, and out of the sun.

First you need to half fill a bucket with water and add 2 capfuls of our Auto Body GelNanolicious Wash or Wax Wash car wash for a nice slippery mixture. Never use plain water as it has no lubrication properties!

Put the suds on the car with your Shagtastic Wash PadMuffy sponge or The Love Glove wash mitt, and use the clay bar as we mention above. Make sure you only do the areas where there are suds. Rinse the panel down after you're finished and move to the next section, till the car is completed. Don't let the water dry on the car, re-wet it as you go, as you don't want to get any water spots. Safely dry the car once you're done with The Big Green Sucker drying towel, and then get ready for cleansing and waxing.

This method is obviously not suitable if you're working inside, but it gives many of you another option for using the bars. We find it is a quicker and easier job, so it was worth mentioning!

For an even faster job, have a look at our Clay Towels as well, a little bit more expensive, but thanks to their larger size they are even faster to prepare your cars' paint and glass with.

Other tips and uses

Our Fine Clay Bar isn't just for paint. You can use it on any smooth, hard surface, including; fibreglass, chrome, metal, powder coat and glass. Do not use clay on clear plastic though, such as headlight lenses, perspex windows or bike fairings as it can damage these softer surfaces. 

When the clay looks dirty and cannot be remoulded to get a clean surface, use it on your windows. The dirty clay will not harm glass, and it's amazing how much dirt film clay can remove from your exterior glass. Old clay is also great to clean wheels. Clay will safely remove stubborn, embedded brake dust, tar and road film from all factory wheels. Fine Clay Bar is not recommended on wheels that do not have their factory clearcoat or a powder coated finish.

Finish the job right

The clay bar needs to be used in conjunction with our cleansing and waxing products for the best possible finish for your paint. Our clay bar is not designed to completely remove wax and other imbedded dirt like the Paint Cleanse & Restore, or give paint a rich and deep protective finish like final step products we have.

So when you're finished claying your car, you should then go over it with our Paint Cleanse & Restore to deep clean the paint. Then bring out a lovely deep glow in it with the Carnauba Body Wax or Lazy Wax, and finally protect and seal it with Fully Slick or After Glow. Adding these layers of protection to your paint after using the Fine Clay Bar and Paint Cleanse & Restore are crucial for protecting your paint and locking that amazing shine in.

And after that, you're all done... It's time to take your pride and joy for a cruise!

Any questions?

You can find our Fine Clay Bar at many of our great retailers nationwide. Find your closest stores in the link at the bottom of this webpage.

If you have any further questions about them, please drop our car care team an email info@bowdensown.com.au or call our office on 1800 351 308.

Love your car,

Dan Bowden


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