How to clean your car down to the pores with clay bar
Jan 04, 2022
What is cleaning putty?
Cleaning putty is a very effective product for gently removing dirt from your car, such as insect remains, rust film or tree sap. The putty is very sticky to help it stick and pick up any surface debris as you move. With the cleaning clay you can not only clean the paint, but also the windows, headlights and rims.
What does cleaning putty do?
Dirt that cannot be removed by hand washing can be easily removed with paint cleaning clay. Cleaning clay can remove superficial as well as stubborn dirt, such as resin drops, without much effort.
You probably know that too: Your car is freshly washed, you run your fingers over the paint and feel small pimples. It stalls when driving over. If the paint were clean down to the pores, your fingers would slide noiselessly over the paint. Even after a thorough hand wash, residues of tar, resin, insects or other dirt remain on the paintwork. The fenders, doors and sills are particularly affected. Because of such deposits, the water does not pearl off your body, but collects and slowly drains away.
After using cleaning putty, your paintwork is smoother than ever and is therefore ideally prepared for a polish, seal or wax treatment. These are many times more efficient if the paint is free of all disruptive surface deposits. Polishing is now faster and much more effective, because deposits do not have to be polished away first. The paint is polished more homogeneously. In addition, you reduce the risk of leaving intensive scratches on the paintwork caused by rust particles during the polishing process, because these have already been gently removed with the modeling clay when cleaning the paintwork.
The situation is similar with a seal or wax treatment. If you apply a sealant to your paintwork without first treating it with paintwork clay, the product will only settle on the deposits. The dirt comes off over time and the sealing layer tears open. The paint protection is then no longer given and the service life is also reduced. If the paintwork has been cleaned with modeling clay beforehand, the paintwork protection can lie directly on the paintwork without disturbing surface deposits.
How do the cleaning kneads differ?
Cleaning dough is available in different abrasivenesses/strengths, which have a different color depending on the manufacturer. As a rule, milder clays are blue, medium-sized ones are green and harder ones are red.
For beginners and advanced users, we recommend rather mild cleaning putty. For dirt that occurs in everyday life and for newer paintwork, soft to medium clay is sufficient. If the paintwork is particularly weathered and dull, or if you have very stubborn dirt on the paintwork, you can use hard cleaning putty. Highly abrasive putty really gets rid of all deposits, but can also leave fine micro-cracks on the paintwork. Only professionals should work with this.
Simply erase dirt? This is how you use cleaning putty!
The application of the cleaning putty is easy and absolutely feasible even for beginners. You don't have to be a professional to do this. Here we explain step-by-step how to clean your car with play dough.
In order to achieve a good cleaning result, you must wash your car thoroughly before treating it with the paint putty!
- Put on protective gloves.
- Halve the dough (for 100g pack). You only need one half to work on the paint. You can put the rest back in the packaging.
- Form the dough into a ball and then flatten it so that you have a disc (about 4-5 cm).
- Spray a special lubricant generously onto the putty and the surface to be treated (max. 60x60cm). Always work off sections first.
- Put the putty on the paint and slide it over the paint in short horizontal and vertical tracks. Don't put any pressure on it! Caution: Do not work in circular movements, as circular scratches are more difficult to polish off later.
- Spray on lube if the putty sticks. Putty should never touch dry areas.
- Proceed to the next section. To do this, fold the dough so that the dirty area is on the inside. Always work with the clean side. Then repeat all steps for the remaining sections.
- After cleaning with the putty, you can remove residues from the lubricant with a dry and clean microfiber cloth.
How often can cleaning putty be used?
The cleaning putty can be used until it is heavily soiled. If you notice that the cleaning dough is no longer picking up dirt, you should get new packaging. Then the cleaning putty is probably already so badly soiled that no new dirt particles can be picked up. On the mostly colored putty you can clearly see when a lot of dirt has been picked up. Then discontinue use to avoid scratching your paintwork.
As a rule, a 100g pack of paint clay is sufficient for 2-4 applications. Exact information cannot be given here because the size of the vehicle and the degree of soiling play a role here.
Our tip: You can clean dirty wheel rims with used cleaning clay.
If the cleaning dough is still usable after use, you should moisten it before putting it back in the plastic box. In this way, the paint clay does not dry out. You can store the putty at room temperature. If the putty has hardened in colder temperatures, you can soak it in warm water before use. Then it can be easily kneaded back into shape.
Are there alternatives for the lubricant?
A special lubricant is essential when cleaning paintwork with modeling clay. This allows the modeling clay to slide over the paintwork without friction. We strongly advise against using a shampoo-water mixture or even washing-up liquid as a substitute for a lubricant. These attack the putty and cause the putty to become porous and dissolve. Special lubricant for cleaning clay has very good gliding properties, which makes your work easier and is most gentle on your paintwork. The clay can be easily moved back and forth on the surface.
We recommend our 5-piece Rocket paint cleaning clay set.