Does Clay Bar Remove Wax? Things You Need To Know

The reason why we wash our cars is to remove surface contaminants such as dirt, grime, grease, and pollen. Clay bars on the other hand take things a notch higher. Claying removes bonded contaminants from your car surface.

This includes bugs, tree sap, or light paint overspray. And even though wax is not a contaminant, it does bond to the surface. Therefore, clay bars do remove wax. And that’s why you should re-wax your car after claying.

does clay bar remove wax
“Finished Result ;)” by Ryu1chi Miwa, Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0

What are Clay Bars?

If you think that washing your car with soap and water is enough to remove all contaminants from your car’s surface, then you are in for a big surprise.

Car wash shampoo and water are strong enough to only remove loose particles that stick on your car surface. This includes mud, dirt, and grease stains.

However, some particles bond to the car’s surface. And no matter how vigorously you scrub them, they may not come off.

These contaminants include bug residue, tree sap, paint overspray, and embedded dirt. These require something stronger like clay bars.

Clay bars remove things that ordinary washing can’t. They are ideal when you are preparing your car surface for waxing or the application of a sealant.

With clay bars, you can be assured of a smooth surface that will easily adhere to sealants and waxes. Clay bars also protect your car paint from rusting or damage that is caused by some of these contaminants.

Please be advised that the clay bar does not remove paint etching scratches or swirl marks. Its purpose is to remove contaminants only.

Therefore, if you are trying to remedy the above issues, you will need to polish or seek paint correction services from a professional.

How Does Clay Bar Remove Wax?

Quality clay bars should glide over the surface of your car. While doing this, it should grab any foreign element that is protruding from your car paint. The particles of these elements should stick to the clay and will thus be removed from your vehicle.

It is through the above process that the clay bar removes wax from your car. Please note that there are three grades of clay bars and they remove wax differently.

The first type is the medium-grade detailing clay and it removes every type of contaminant that bonds to your car surface, wax included. This is commonly used by car owners and should be used once or twice a year.

There is another type of clay bar, fine detailing clay which is mostly used by professionals. Unlike the medium-grade clay bar, detailing clay is gentle enough on car paint that it doesn’t remove all the wax.

This type of clay can be used regularly and will ensure your car retains its waxy finish. The third type is the heavy-duty clay bars and these are too strong for ordinary use.

Therefore, as you shop for a clay bar, be mindful of which product you choose and your waxing preferences. If you prefer waxing once a year, then you can use the medium-grade clay bar.

For those of you who prefer to drive around in spotless cars then the detailing clay should be your top pick.

Other than Wax, What Does a Clay Bar Remove?

As mentioned earlier, the clay bar removes contaminants that bond to the car surface. But, what are these contaminants? Our cars are exposed to a lot of pollutants most of which are airborne.

The likes of acid rain, brake dust, and industrial fallout are all deposited on your car’s surface. Unlike dirt that can be easily washed off with some car wash shampoo and water, the above particles bond to your car’s surface.

The clay bar is designed to wipe off all these particles from your car’s surface. Failure to use a clay bar, these contaminants will penetrate your clear coat and start damaging the paint.

Contaminants such as acid rain contain metal particulates that oxidize and speed up the rusting process. With time those tiny orange spots grow bigger and leave your car paint job looking like a mess.

Clay bar is manufactured to help you prevent all this from happening. Even though it does remove wax from your car surface.

A car that is often washed with a clay bar is free from contaminants. As a result, its paint is capable of adhering better to waxes and ensuring a vibrant and uniform shine.

Waxing your car after claying puts up an extra layer of defense that will protect your car paint from being damaged by contaminants.

Clay bar

Will Washing Your Car Remove Wax?

Now that we have seen how the clay bar removes wax from your car, it’s also important that we analyze if washing your car can lead to the same result.

Washing your car with water and car wash shampoo won’t remove wax. However, the more frequently you wash your car the easier your wax fades.

One of the most common reasons why most car waxes don’t last is that car owners often use the wrong cleaning agents. All-purpose cleaners, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and other at-home cleaning agents are responsible for the quick fading of your wax.

These cleaning products often contain harsh ingredients that eat through the layers of wax and leave your clear coat vulnerable.

A clay bar can also do the same if it is used unintentionally. So, if you wash your car with the recommended products then you have got nothing to worry about. Your car will always be sparkling clean and the wax will still be there to protect your paint.

When Can I Use Clay Bar?

The best time for you to use a clay bar is when your wax has outlived its purpose. Or, you intend on re-waxing your car.

The purpose of a clay bar is to remove contaminants from your car surface and waxing on the other hand is to offer protection from these contaminants. As a smart car owner, knowing when to use these products can help prolong the life of your car paint.

If you had waxed your car about 4-6 months ago, by now the wax is almost fading, and it has been exposed to a significant amount of contaminants.

This is the best time for you to use some clay bar to remove both the old wax and contaminants. Then re-wax your car and be guaranteed maximum protection.

How often you should clay bar your car depends on several factors. First, where you live or park your car plays a huge role.

For those whose cars are parked on the driveway and not in a garage, the exposure to contaminants will be higher.

Roughly, you should clay bar your car at least thrice a year. However, as you wash your car, always try and feel your paint. If it’s bumpy then you should clay it.

Will Clay Bar Remove Clear Coat?

If it can remove wax then you are probably wondering, will it remove my clear coat? Here is the thing about the clay bar, it is designed to be very gentle on both the paint and clear coat.

The problem usually arises from the particles being removed. If they are abrasive, they can scratch the clear coat and paint.

That’s why your car surface has to be lubricated before you can clay it. This makes it easier for the contaminants to glide on your car’s surface.

How to Use Clay Bar?

For your car to be freed from contaminants and other particles that can damage the paint, you need to know how to use a clay bar and what to use alongside it.

To begin with, you will need to get your hands on some quality clay bars. You will also need microfiber cloths and a lubricant.

When using a clay bar, you should divide your car into sections. This will make it easier and will increase your odds of removing more contaminants.

Spray the lubricant on the part you want to clay, spray some lubricant on the clay itself, and rub it gently on the surface.

Before beginning this detailing procedure, your car should be clean and dry. The presence of abrasives can cause paint scratching.

Most clay bars are designed not to be aggressive. You will realize this as you rub it on your car’s surface. As you apply it, ensure that it doesn’t dry up because a dry clay bar often does more harm than good.

Don’t be afraid of using lots of lubrication. Depending on the amount of contamination on your car, you may have to rub more times than normal.

As you rub the bar, always look for particles that it has picked up in the process. Remove these particles as they may scratch your paint.

Also, as your bar picks up dirt, you should mold it so that a fresh portion comes to the surface. You have to be very careful not to drop the bar on the ground.

Doing this will require you to get a new one because it may have picked up some sand or loose stones that can scratch your car.

To confirm that you have removed all contaminants, run your fingers through the paint and look for bumps or rough spots.

If there is none, your job is done. Buff out the clay bar with a microfiber cloth, step back, and admire how clean your car is.

If it was waxed, you will realize that the finish won’t look as shiny because the wax layers will have been removed. And that’s when you can re-wax your car or polish it.

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