You simply MUST use a lubricant when you use detailing clay on your car paint. Otherwise, you could ruin any existing shine it has. Your clay bar lube should be super slippery yet allow the clay bar to clean your paint.
What’s the Best Clay Bar Lubricant?
Chemical Guys Clay Luber will protect your paint like nothing else. It’s super slick and effective at doing its job. I have used this with a fine clay bar on black and red cars and have had perfect results with super smooth paint and zero scratches or marring. Buy it.
Is a Clay Bar Lubricant Worth It?
The key thing to remember is that all clay bars are abrasive. They are designed to be that way. They remove bonded contamination from your paint. If your paint feels rough to the touch or has other visible bonded contamination you should get yourself a clay bar to fix it.
A huge mistake new details make is trying to scrub this bonded stuff from their paint. This will cause a total loss of shine and gloss. It will scratch and mar your clear coat and dull the shine.
The clay bar is still the best way to tackle this problem. Some people like clay mitts or clay towels but for me, they don’t work as well. It was said that a clay towel will reduce the number of scratches but with the advent of dedicated clay bar lubricants, clay bars are safe now too.
Your paint should feel silky smooth after claying with a lubricant.
Why not just use water?
Water isn’t slippery and slick enough. If you only use water you will scratch your paint.
What about soapy water?
Some people say soapy water is all you need. Just put some in a spray bottle.
I used to do this. But it definitely caused my car to lose some shine.
Its fine to use soapy water if you are claying an old truck that has terrible paint anyway. A few more scratches won’t make any difference and you are probably going to compound and polish it afterwards.
But if you are trying to minimize damage buy yourself a proper clay lubricant. It doesn’t cost much.
Recommended Clay Bar Lubricants
Chemical Guys Clay Luber is excellent. And you can get it anywhere. You can get a Chemical Guys Clay Bar and Luber together on Amazon.
Another great product is Dodo Juice Born Slippy Clay Lube. I have used this but its a little harder to get and costs more. Its as good as the Chemical Guys product. Here is the Amazon link if you would like to see the reviews.
Does Detailer Spray make a good clay lube?
Adams Detail Spray seems to be pretty good as a clay lube but if you really want to protect your paint you will get better protection from a dedicated clay lubricant.
Also, a detail spray will leave behind a protective coating that might prevent polish or wax from working as well as they should It can be harder to polish a car that has some protection on it.
But its easy to wipe away the residue from Chemical Guys Clay Luber. Just use some car shampoo.
How to Use a Clay Bar Lubricant
- Use plenty of lubricant.
- Spray it on the clay bar and on the paint.
- Use side-to-side motions as much as possible.
- Use as little pressure as possible.
- If the paint feels grabby you are not using enough lube.
- If the clay bar looks dirty fold it over to a clean side.
- If your clay bar is very dirty throw it away.
- Don’t clay a section of paint unless it has lubrication on it.
- Its fine to use on glass too.
- Don’t clay glossy plastic trim
How to Prepare your Car for Clay Bar Lubricant
- Wash using one of the safe methods.
- Apply an Iron Remover Spray (optional).
- Apply a Tar & Glue Remover (optional).
- Rinse and dry your car.
- Paint should be cool to the touch.
Clay bars are fantastic at removing bonded dirt and contamination from your paint but will add swirls and scratches.
You can greatly minimize this if you use a dedicated clay bar lubricant like Chemical Guys Clay Luber.