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Clay Grooming your Mustang for Top Results.

Hi to all,

Being involved in Auto Spray painting for many years, there have been many times when there is a need to use clay blocks to remove different types of surface contamination that effects customer's cars. Contamination could be for example, industrial fallout such as chimney stack, diesel, coal stack, rail dust etc, paint drift or over spray, tree sap and bird dropping residues, hard water staining residues, tar, acid rain, and jet fuel dropout.

Clay blocking, or clay barring, or clay grooming as it is known in the industry,
is a very effective easy way to remove these surface contaminants from your paintwork that tend to build up over the months and years. Hand washing and hand polishing your Mustang with non abrasive polishes, will not alone, remove the contamination. Traditionally, rotary machine cutting and polishing has been the favored approach to removing contaminants from the paint surfaces. That approach will work and give good results, but the downside is that paint stock will be removed in the process, thus reducing the amount of paint remaining on the panels. Repeated machine cutting over time, to eliminate fallout issues, is not the way to go in that regard. Machine cutting however, is very effective in removing oxidized dead paint from the panels. Clay barring will not effect paint stock removal in any regard. That's the magic of clay!

Clay Bar or Detailing Clay were once restricted to Detailers and the odd panel shop, but are now becoming common place to most people who care for their car. The best way to see if your paint needs claying is to rub your hand over the paint after washing, if not it not silky smooth, your paint would benefit from a clay bar.

Using a clay bar to remove surface contamination is easy to do, cost effective and will leave your paint looking like glass and feeling like silk.

Claying your paint is only a partial stage in a proper detail and should always be followed by a polish and wax to seal your paint and protect it. Claying will not remove swirls or scratches.

Tips before starting: Make sure your car has been washed thoroughly and dried. Try to work inside, if not always in the shade and ensure the paint surface is cool Check the surface of the paint using the back of your fingers or place a plastic shopping bag over your hand. Both allow you to feel small imperfections If you have a new ‘large / 200gram’ Clay Bar such as Dodo Juice or Clay Magic, cut the bar into 2 or 3 pieces on a clean surface. I use 3M blue clay, and find it very effective on most applications. Leave the remaining pieces in the storage box and take just 1 piece to your car to work with. Make sure your hands are clean and free from contaminants and dirt.

What you need: A Clay Bar (or piece of a large bar) A Lube Spray A Microfibre cloth

Claying Tips:

1. Take your clay bar (piece) and mould it in your hands, warm the clay until it is soft, warm and slightly tacky.

2. Flatten the clay in your palm

3. Spray a small section of your car, (approx 300mm – 400mm square or quarter of the bonnet) with 3-6 good sprays of lube, ensuring the surface is well covered

4. Place the clay on the wet surface and worked smoothly side to side and then up and down (not in circles) over the wet section. The clay should start to flow more freely as you work it. Do not apply too much pressure to the clay, let it do the work.

5. Remove the clay from the surface and gently wipe off any residue off the paint with a Microfibre cloth

6. Look at the surface of the clay, it should now be covered in small black or brown specks or dots. Wipe the clay with your hand to remove excess lube or dirt.

7. Now feel the surface of the paint with the back of your hand or through the plastic bag. It should now be silky smooth. If not see below for troubleshooting.

8. Now fold your flat piece of clay over onto itself, moving the dirty side into the centre and exposing a clean, flat area for your next section.

9. Start the next section by spraying lube over and again working the clay gently over this area as before. Again wipe off residue and then progress over the rest of the car.

10. Once you have finished the car you are now ready to start polishing or seal your paintwork with a wax or sealant. Before this next stage you may wish to wash over the car again or use a paint cleaner to prepare the surface for waxing.

Ongoing Tips & Troubleshooting:

Constantly check the clay surface for the contaminants, even if you are in the middle of a panel, if your clay is really dirty, stop and fold it in to a clean surface

If the clay starts to drag or streak on the paint surface you are probably not using enough lube, spray on slightly more, re-flatten the clay and work over the panel again.

If after claying the paint is still not smooth or was very poor to start with, it may need a second treatment. It is advisable to complete the whole car and then start from the beginning again, you might need a second bar/piece of clay if it is this severe for the second clean.

If your car is not too bad then the piece of clay can be used again and perhaps again a third, fourth or even fifth time.

Similar to washing; clay your roof, bonnet and doors first before moving to the front, back and skirts, as these will probably be more contaminated with tar etc.

Have a clean plastic container next to you to put your clay in while not using it.

Do not throw away used/dirty clay bars, you can also clay your windscreen or rims, so just refold well, use plenty of lube and watch stubborn marks or tar disappear.

Always store your clay in the container

Always use a good clay lube, cheap wash shampoo solutions might not contain enough lubricating properties and have been known to add scratches.

How often you clay depends on your driving pattern, but generally a daily drive should only need claying once or twice a year.

If you drop your clay bar on the ground – throw it away! It might seem like a waste but the damage contaminated clay can cause to paintwork is much more expensive.

Here is a link to buying your products in America -


For a demonstration of this topic please see the video link below -


Many Thanks,


Wow, another GREAT post, Greg! Also worthy of its own Wiki I believe.


[Image: 6y14ea.jpg]

Project started 8-7-10
Completed: All new suspension, rebuilt 351C H Code bored .030 over with mild cam and intake, new 3.50 TracLok, custom exhaust system
Current "mini-project": interior upgrade Undecided
Great post. I did my Mustang 03 GT vert some years ago and I couldn't believe the before and after "feel" of the body.

[/url][Image: mbpsrsig3_zps456db2cb.png]

Good job with this post too Greg. Fantastic and detailed info as usual. Thanks so much!

[Image: 386_07_10_13_5_58_42.jpeg]
My Mustangs:
71 M-code Mach 1, Medium Blue/White Sport, 4R70W, 3L50, Factory Ram Air.
72 Q-code Mach 1, Pewter/Black Sport, 4-spd, 3L25.
73 F-code Convertible, Planned: color TBD/Black top/White Int., 351C, 5-spd, 3L50.
65 Convertible, Britney Blue/White/White, more modified than original.
05 Convertible, Legend Lime/Tan/Tan, future classic??
Hi Greg wow another good information on how to get it done right :-D Regards Lars 😀 DK73

So I'm a proud owner of one Mach 1 73! Regards Lars DK73whistling
Well done Mr Greg another top post. Thanks for sharing.

He has all the vices I admire and none of the virtues I despise
Thanks Guys,

and i hope everyone benefits from using the clay.Smile


Great post Greg.
I use Mothers Clay Bar on all of my cars 2 times a year, early spring a fall, then a nice coat of wax, it keeps the paint smooth.

Also, when I was repairing the damage on the back of my car a few years back, I had some primer overspray on the doors, I used the clay a few days later, and it cleaned up all of the overspray.

[Image: 2zem9nk.jpg]
1972 Mustang convertible run_horse  
Visit the Mustang Car Club of New England Facebook Page

Visit the Mustang Car Club of New England Web Page

Hi Iyman,

thanks, it sounds like you're right into the whole thing and have been getting getting good results already. Yes, clay is great for getting off over spray or paint drift, and how it works is quite amazing.

Glad it's working for you,


Anyone try the Eagle One mitt instead of the clay bar?


[/url][Image: mbpsrsig3_zps456db2cb.png]

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