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Why Claying is Vital!


Most people with a passion for detailing know that claying a car is good and a necessary process. You have been told it removes contaminates from the paint, and it helps to properly prep the paint for polishing or waxing. Well here is proof that claying increases the value of the effort.

I recently did a detailing job for a new client. The car had NEVER been done, and as I got up close and personal with the car I noticed these!
Contaminants on paint requires claying

Why claying is vital

This is proof positive that rail dust/brake dust will have a negative effect upon the surface of the paint if not removed. I was able to remove the dust, but the damage was done. Upon looking at the damage through a 10x magnifying glass I could see the clear coat was pitted down through the color coat, primer and into the body of the car.

So keep up the efforts and hopefully you will never have have to see this. If you already have dust causing this kind damage, let’s get it into shape now.

Greg Nichols Reflections Detailing
Greg Nichols
Reflections Detailing
Logan, Utah

14 comments on Why Claying is Vital!

  1. Justin says:

    I cant express the value of thoroughly claying a car.

    Machine polishing goes much smoother.
    Sealing and waxing has better results.
    Soaps seem to gain a magical lubricity.
    Wheels come clean with no harsh chemicals.
    Chrome and glass feel like satin.

    Its a step I’d say not to avoid at any cost.

  2. Good points Greg (and Justin).

    I bought a brand new white car in the middle of January, and because of the harsh weather conditions and full details on everybody elses cars scheduled every weekend I didn’t get the opportunity to prep the new car with claying.

    When the spring rolled around and I finally got some time to work on the car, I already noticed small rust blooms all over it from rail dust.

  3. James says:

    The product certaintly makes the car look great!,

    I have a 2008 LS460L Dark Matalick Blue or meadle flake. what can I use to remove some lite bird droppings or berry stains, i’ve waxes it but it will not come out. It’s not very bad but does have some spots that are noticeble.

    • Greg Nichols says:


      Clay will not remove bird bombs, might help with berry stains. You are going to need a polishing job as the bombs have etched the paint. Are you set up to do a polishing effort? What polishes do you have?>


  4. Andy says:

    How do you clay wheels? Most rims have very tight complicated shapes unlike the hood or body of a car.

    • Greg Nichols says:


      You can clay wheels and in days of old we used clay that was “older” and well used for wheels. Its a time consuming process, but you can do it.

      Today many more are using a chemical removal system. Things like Sonax Wheel cleaner, Iron X, or Wolfs Wheel cleaner all chemically “eat” the iron filings that might have bonded to the wheels.


  5. Nate says:

    Can you comment further on using some of the newer “iron” focused products? I have a Diamond White 2011 GL450 that, after a neglected winter season, is showing some “rust blooms”/rail debris on the rear hatch. I would like to be a little more chemically oriented than just a good claying. Thoughts?

    • greg nichols says:


      The chemical removal of iron bloom is not new, its just less “toxic” than in years ago. In the case of yours yes I would give Iron X a try, it stinks to high hell but works very well. I like to also use it as tracers so I know exactly where the iron is located, I like to do two cleanings also. keep moving the product around with a since soft brush on the paint until it no longer is reactive with the Iron. Wash the area really well, visualizing when the problem areas were, respray to see if they were removed, if they weren’t clean the area and clay. Then spray again to see that you go it all.

      IME Iron X helps but is not a cure or substitute to clay. Iron blooms will always be a problem in areas where winters have snow plows, salt slurry, as the iron on the road flips up on the paint again. The blades of the snow plows leaves filings on the road.


  6. Nathan Hoekzema says:

    Thanks Greg. I was wondering where all that iron came from! The running boards are a synthetic resin/plastic and even they have the rust blooms. I’ll try the ironX and a good claying.

  7. Adam B. says:

    Not sure if you still keep up with this forum or not, but I am looking for a good product to remove a ton of yellow paint I managed to get on a late night drive through town. I’m looking to clay my vehicle but with the paint in the wheel wells and all down one side of my trailblazer, its going to make it difficult. Any suggestions?

  8. Greg says:

    Hello Adam,

    Clay is not what I would use first, you need to remove the majority with a solvent. Have you some bug and tar type products? Get the majority off the clay, then you will likely have to polish.


  9. Nancy Miller says:

    I have a white 1998 Honda Accord that has never been garaged. Will claying bring back the shine to my paint or would it be a waste of money? Thank you for your reply. N.

    • Greg says:


      If your car is white I bet would need Iron X then clay the paint. This process will help remove a great majority of the containments on the paint. If you want the paint to glow you will ALSO need to polish the paint, but you cant really polish if you don’t first decon the paint.


  10. Nancy Miller says:

    Hi Greg,
    Thanks for answering my question. Since then my son detailed my car and then used the clay bar and I couldn’t believe my eyes! It looks like a new car.
    People can’t believe it’s 1998 model. He even put in new headlights. What a great birthday present.

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