Ask DI: What are Clay Bar Alternatives?by Mike @ DI
What are clay bar alternatives? In recent years many new clay alternative options have come to market to give you more choices over a traditional clay bar. Clay bar alternatives include clay towels, pads, blocks/sponges, and wash mitts that utilize a rubber polymer as the claying material. In this article, I will give you a brief overview and the benefits of using a clay bar alternative.
General Clay Bar Alternative Benefits
- Reusable and durable
- Easy to clean and remove contaminants from the rubber material during use
- Faster decontamination process due to larger surface area coverage
- Versatile claying coverage no matter if you are working in small or large areas
- Attaching a clay pad on a polisher is one of the fastest decontamination options and will allow you to cover large surface areas
- Using the clay pad by hand is also an option
- The fast and wide coverage comes with the downside that tight areas can be tough to get into
- Due to the speed of using a machine, you should keep in mind that you could add additional defects into the paint
- More ergonomic so they are easier to hold and maneuver
- Easy to use on a wide variety of surfaces and surface sizes
Clay Wash Mitts
- This is a 2-for-1 product where you can clay during your wash process
- It can help save time with wide coverage and washing at the same time
- There is no need for a lubricant because the shampoo will add lubricity during use
Clay Bar Alternative Tips
- Do not use clay alternatives with heavy cleaners, we have seen the rubber material “melt” with some strong chemicals, ie. decreasers, iron removers, etc.
- Use clay lubes (i.e. Nanoskin Glide) as lubricants
- Use shampoos as lubricants
- As with a traditional clay bar always keep it wet and lubricated to prevent additional paint defects
There’s also nothing wrong with keeping it old school for that feel of a traditional clay bar gliding across the paint and feeling it pick up the contamination. The most significant benefit, in my opinion, is the larger coverage area to save time. My personal pick would be the Nanoskin Wash Mitt, why not wash and clay in the same process. Everyone has their own detailing preferences and there’s no right or wrong way per se.
Want to learn more about clay bar alternatives check out another Ask DI article Should I Use a Traditional Clay Bar or a Clay Alternative? and our Clay Bar Detailing Guide.
Hi I have a Chevy 3500 Silverado that has been sitting in the weather for a while it has good paint but needs to have contaminates removed what be a good clay bar to that I can use too get that smooth feeling back
Hank – The Clay Magic Fine Grade Clay Bar is a great clay bar to remove a good deal of embedded contamination. If you want to try a clay bar alternative, anything listed in this article will work great!
Thank you for sharing this information. It’s convenient having a clay pad with velcro. Claying with a machine saves a lot of time. For smaller areas or curves where the pad cannot reach, a clay bar is still needed.
How do you wash clay towels and do they work well? Also how do you dry the clay towels? Air dry or tumble dry?
With clay towels you simply want to run them under water and let them air dry. Don’t let them dry in direct sun or use any heavy cleaners on them as any heat or certain chemicals can negatively impact the rubber side of these clay alternative products.