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I am a big fan of black cars and a big fan of clay bars. They are a vital tool for us black car freaks.
But its super easy to scratch your car if you don’t buy the right one and learn the right way to use it.
I have spent a lot of time testing all types of clay bars. My research shows that a clay bar is still the best way to remove contamination from paint. Most experts would agree with me on this. Especially before compound and polish application.
Clay mitts have come a long way in recent years and they can help you remove contamination very quickly. Plus, unlike clay bars, they can be reused.
Best Clay Bar for Black Cars.
Clay bars and clay mitts are designed to make your paint feel super smooth. But remember that they don’t remove scratches.
Clay mitts are much quicker to use than clay bars and can be used multiple times if stored correctly. But traditional clay bars are still great and can cost less.
For lots of tips on using a clay bar please read my post on how to clay bar a car.
My Clay Bar FAQ will also answer all the questions you have if you are a beginner.
1. Griot’s Garage Yellow Fine Surface Prep Mitt
This premium clay mitt is as good as it gets for clay mitts. Griot’s Garage Yellow Fine Surface Prep Mitt comes in two versions called Fine (Yellow) and Fast (Red). The Fine Mitt is not very aggressive and is perfect for giving your car a quick wipe down before waxing.
You need to use plenty of lubrication with a clay mitt or you could scratch your car. Griots recommend their own detail spray called Speed Shine. It’s a massively popular product in its own right.
Buy the Red or Fast version of the Griots Surface Prep Mitt if your car needs a lot of work and you are planning on polishing your car. This mitt is aggressive and can cause some paint marring which is why you could need to polish your car afterward.
- The fastest way to clay your car.
- Can be washed and reused.
- The yellow or Fine version is for light contamination.
- The red or Fast version is for heavy contamination.
- Premium product.
- Use a detail spray or dedicated clay lubricant to avoid scratching.
- Safely removes lightly embedded micro contaminants
- Large, unique diamond patterned polymer surface speeds the process
- More efficient and effective than traditional clay bars
- Lasts 10 times longer than traditional clay bars
- Will prep 70 to 100 vehicles
2. Adams Fine Grade Clay Bar Combo
Adams Fine Grade Clay Bar Combo Kit is a superb quality product. Even though it’s a fine or light clay, it has removed some heavy contamination for me. I don’t see any scratches on my clear coat after using this product.
It takes a lot longer to detail your car with this clay bar when compared to a clay mitt. But the results care just as good when done properly. This product is also a lot cheaper.
The little tub it comes with is fantastic for keeping your clay protected while it’s not in use. If your clay dries out you should throw it in the trash as it will badly scratch your paint.
Adams Detail Spray is the lubricant supplied with the kit. It’s one of my favorite detail sprays and can be used to remove dust and bird droppings as well as clay bar lubrication.
- Very fine quality clay.
- Causes little or no paint marring/scuffing.
- Comes with the awesome Adams Detail Spray.
- Comes with two clay bars.
- Comes with a good quality tub to keep the clay from drying out.
- ✅ SUPER SOFT, ULTRA FINE GRADE MATERIAL! – In the Jar, you get two 100-gram bars that were designed to go after the smaller particles. This soft, ultra-fine grade material will leave your paint feeling undeniably soft and smooth and ready for protection to show off its slick side
- ✅ REMOVES LIGHT SURFACE DEBRIS AND FALLOUT WITH EASE! - The fine grade clay is perfect for quick, easy decontamination before a fresh coat of wax, sealant, or polishing before Ceramic Coating! Before removing claying your vehicle, it is essential to have a clean exterior surface
- ✅ FLEXIBLE FOR TIGHT SPOTS & DURABLE ENOUGH FOR REPEATED USE! – This kit is paired with Adam’s Detail Spray for lubrication. After a spray mist of Detail Spray as a clay lubricant, glide the Clay Bar over the concentrated area for a smooth-as-glass feel
- ✅ PERFECT FOR GLASS POLISHED METAL, CLEAR PLASTICS OR PAINTED SURFACES! – Debris/Fallout builds up over time and when it does, it has no boundaries. You can find it on your windshield, wheels, trim and paint. During the build-up phase, it becomes very apparent that if left untreated, it will ruin your vehicle’s paintwork over time. Use the clay bar to remove fallout, brake dust, hard water spots, or tree sap
- ✅ 110% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE! - We pride ourselves on customer service and satisfaction. This Clay Bar was to enhance the look and feel of you vehicle. We believe that this is THE BEST 100-Gram Fine Grade Clay Bars on the market! If you don’t agree, we’ll do everything we can to make it right!
3. Chemical Guys Light Duty Clay Bar and Lubricant
Chemical Guys produce good quality products. Chemical Guys Light Duty Clay Bar and Lubricant offer great value for money and comes with its own dedicated clay bar lubricant.
The Chemical Guys Lubricant is super slick and will protect your paint from scratches provided you use enough of it. You could use half a bottle on an average-sized car. A full bottle could be used to clay bar one SUV.
The Blue Clay Bar is for light contamination. Yellow is for medium, and Black is for heavy contamination.
The kit hos just one bar which is fine if you are just doing your own car and don’t want to keep a spare clay bar lying around. However, it doesn’t come with a reusable tub as the Adams product does.
- Clay Luber is super slick.
- Super quality clay bar.
- Just one clay bar is included.
- Doesn’t come with a tub to prevent the clay from drying out.
- Clay bar leaves the surface silky smooth with a mirror-like smooth finish; premium professional quality clay bar capable of removing contaminants, such as bugs, tar, rail dust and overspray
- One premium professional duty bar is enough to do at least 4 vehicles; for light to medium moderate contamination removal
- Will not break or deteriorate into small particles like inferior low-quality clay bars; super elastic clay bar removes harmful particles quickly and effectively
- Acts as a magnet to foreign particles, literally pulling the paint-fouling grime away from the surface of the paint
- Non-abrasive product, safe for all aluminum, chrome, fiberglass, paint and finishes; value pack
Clay Bars to Avoid – A Word of Warning
I once purchased some clay bars from eBay. The price was incredible and I thought to myself that all clay bars were the same so this was going to save me some money.
But it was a big mistake. The clay bars were way too hard even though they were supposed to be soft clay bars. I tested on a section of my paint and I could feel it creating scratches.
When the paint had dried I could see micro-scratches on the paint. I never used those clay bars again.
So my advice is, don’t buy those cheap clay bars you see online. My research tells me they are not true automotive clay. At least the ones I tried were of very poor quality. Buy only from a well known brand that you like and trust.
What are the different Grades of Clay Bar?
Most manufacturers offer three grades of clay bar.
- FINE CLAY. Perfect for a car that’s relatively new or regularly detailed. Removes fine contamination Causes no scratches if used with a good lubricant.
- MEDIUM CLAY. For a daily driver car that hasn’t been detailed for a year or more. The paint feels rough to the touch. Might cause find scuffs or marring that can easily be polished out.
- HEAVY-DUTY CLAY. For a deleted car that hasn’t been detailed for a very long time if ever. Paint could need full compound and polish after use.
How to Preserve your Clay Bar
I usually break off small pieces of clay when detailing my car. Once finished I throw the used clay in the trash. But the rest of the clay bar ban be reused once it’s kept in a cool dry place. The Adams Kit mentioned above comes with a little air-tight tub to protect your clay bar. It keeps it from drying out.
Too much heat or extreme cold can damage them and cause them to become brittle.
- Store your clay bar in an air-tight container.
- Store your clay bar in a cool dark place.
- Don’t expose your clay bar to too much heat.
- Don’t let your clay bar freeze.
How to Preserve your Clay Mitt
Clay Mitts are great but they have a downside. When they dry out they can scratch your paint. And they can dry out very easily. So its super important to follow these tips.
- Don’t put your clay mitt in the washing machine with the rest of your towels.
- Don’t put your clay mitt in the dryer.
- Store your clay mitt in a cool dark place.
- Store your clay mitt in an air-tight container.
- Wash your clay mitt by hand using some warm water.
Why a Good Lubricant is So Important
When I started detailing we used to use soapy water as our lubricant. We would always end up with some micro-scratches or paint marring. It’s just something we accepted. So I always had my DA Polisher ready to buff out the scratches I caused.
But with a dedicated clay lubricant and a soft clay bar, I never get scratches anymore.
Please read my review of the best clay bar lubricants
My main points are to buy a clay bar or clay mitt from a well-known detailing car care brand and don’t be tempted by cheap unknown products.
Use plenty of lubrication and not too much pressure no matter what product you buy.