Benefits of Using Clay Mitts for Car Maintenance and Paint Protection

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Updated on:

November 9, 2023

Ultimate Guide to Clay Mitts: How to Use and Choose the Best Clay Towels for Cars

The process of "claying" is used in auto or automotive detailing. Historically, a traditional clay bar is made out of a soft resin compound, typically created from synthetic materials, is used in the claying process. Its natural gummy/sticky texture and similar pliability to modeling clay make it ideal for latching onto and removing stuck-on or embedded paint impurities.

More recent advancements in detailing technology have opened the door to more resilient synthetic materials that imitate the organic "grabbing" action of the earlier clay bars but have a longer shelf life and are less likely to get overly concentrated with dirt particles during use. To provide a very practical method of removing imbedded paint pollutants, product manufacturers have now attached this new substance to items like microfiber mitts, towels, and even foam pads. The clay towel, clay bar alternative that might be even easier to use.

Key Takeaways:

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Best Clay Mitts for cars

There are many options of clay mitt on the market. That is why it might be hard to figure out which one is the best options. We have listed a couple of clay mitts.

Griot’s Garage Fine Surface Prep Mitt
Griot’s Garage Fine Surface Prep Mitt

1. Griot’s Garage Fine Surface Prep Mitt

The automobile mitt's size and diamond-patterned polymer surface improve cleaning effectiveness with each pass. You can give a medium-sized truck a seductive, glossy look in less than an hour.

This tool is more robust and comfortable to handle in addition to providing an ultra-fast procedure of cleaning impurities from plastic, chrome, paint, and glass. It is approximately ten times more durable than conventional clay bar and can prep about 70 autos on average.

Using this clay mitt, you can quickly remove tree sap, pests, road debris, fallout, and more. Although it is a useful tool to use before polishing, waxing, sealing, or correcting paint on your car, it is only made to remove small amounts of bound debris.

KLAREN Clean Detailing Flawless Finish Clay Mitt
Klaren Clean Detailing Flawless Finish Clay Mitt

2. Klaren Clean Detailing Flawless Finish Clay Mitt

It is not essential to spend a fortune on pricey auto soaps when using this clay mitt. You can use your standard car shampoo and water. The fact that it is designed to do away with the requirement for a clay bar is another excellent benefit that offers it considerable bragging rights.

Also, this is a powerful clay mitt made for regular usage and the removal of deeply buried pollutants. It is 7 times larger in size and lasts 4 times as long as typical clay bar. The next time you need to detail your automobile, just give the mitt a good rinse after use and re-use it.

Clay bar treatment
Claying of car paint

Why should you clay surface of your car?

Brake dust, airborne pollutants, industrial waste, and even overspray find their way into the paint of your car or truck and embed themselves there. They normally aren't visible to the human eye, stick to your paint, and are challenging to remove with just soap and water.

Clay bar towel or regular clay bar is useful in this situation. The clay material's ability to attach to itself allows it to pick up these imbedded particles and pull them off the surface. This leaves a surface that is exceedingly clean and very smooth, ready for application of wax or sealer or even polishing (if there are surface blemishes or faults that need to be fixed).

workflow of clay treatment

How to determine if your vehicle needs claying

To help highlight the roughness of the painted surface and make it simpler to decide whether or not to clay your paint, use a plastic sandwich bag over your hand. If it feels "bumpy," you have entrenched pollutants, and claying will help you get rid of them.

This plastic bag test is the easiest way to find out if you should complete car detailing of your vehicle with claying.

clay lunrication for treatment

Should you use a lubricant with a clay towel?

To avoid marring, all clay products must be generously lubricated. They can be specialized clay cleaners, water-based detailing sprays, or even just plain fresh water mixed with auto shampoo.

I've discovered that no matter how you clay a car—with a towel or a regular clay bar—there will always be marring left behind, therefore I always suggest finishing with polishing.

detailed wash of car for clay treatment
Detailed wash of car for clay treatment

How to Use a Clay Mitt

Whether you use natural clay or synthetic clay, the procedure is essentially the same.

Make sure the surface has been thoroughly cleaned, rinsed out, and dried.

To assist it slide across the painted surface and lessen the possibility of leaving scratches, all clay must be lubricated. We advise using a clay lubricant made for the purpose while detailing with natural clays. You can use a lubricant, detail spray, or soapy water with several synthetic clay varieties.

Saturate the painted surface with your chosen lubricant, working small sections at a time. To ensure optimum lubrication, we advise spraying the clay or clay mitt as well.

Cross-hatch the surface with the clay mitt as you lightly move it across it (top to bottom, then side to side). At first, you'll feel some resistance or drag, but as you move the mitt around and clear away pollutants, you'll find that it gets smoother and smoother.

Check the clay's surface for particles on a regular basis. Rinse as necessary, and lubricate the surface more.

Use a fresh microfiber towel and wipe the paint clean after you no longer feel any resistance or drag in that region. If you use your fingertip to feel the surface and then compare it to an area that hasn't yet been clayed, you should notice a noticeable change in how slippery the surface is.

If you need to know how to wash microfiber towel learn more in this guide.

Continue until you have finished on all of the car's panels.

It's crucial to remember that polishing may be necessary after claying to assist repair any micro-marring that may have happened, depending on how polluted the surface was. If there is no micro-marring, we advise applying protection (wax and/or sealer) right away after claying.

The standard method we use to approach a car or truck that has to be clayed is described below if you're curious about how claying fits into an overall detail:

  1. Wash and dry the car thoroughly.
  2. Examine the painted surface to see whether claying is required.
  3. Clay the painted surface to remove embedded contaminants.
  4. To eliminate any blemishes or marring, polish the painted surface as necessary.
  5. Put on some protection by using wax, sealer, or ceramic coating.
different clay bars
Clay bars

Synthetic clay bar vs. Natural Clay bar vs. Clay Mitt

There are numerous varieties of natural clay bars available, varying in size, color, and aggressivity. The capacity of a clay bar to remove more tenacious impurities is referred to as its aggressiveness.

Natural Clay Bar Advantages

  1. Stickier that synthetic clay
  2. Cheaper
  3. Kneadable and easy to work in smaller areas
  4. Removes surface contaminants well

Disadvantages of Natural Clay Bar

  1. The clay bar cannot be used again after being dropped on the ground because it can pick up pollutants that could scratch the surface.
  2. To keep a fresh patch of the bar in contact with the surface, continual kneading is necessary.
  3. Needs a special clay lubricant, such a clay luber or Detail Spray, to make sure it slides across the surface without scratching.
  4. It takes longer to clay bar a complete vehicle because it only covers a tiny surface area at once.

Synthetic Clay Bar Advantages

  1. Easy and quick to use
  2. Can rinse off lifted contaminants, dirt, and particles
  3. Is not ruined if dropped on the floor
  4. Can use an actual clay lube or a detailing spray or even soapy water as lubrication

Disadvantages of Synthetic Clay Bar

  1. Not as sticky as natural clay bar
  2. Can require more working time depending on how contaminated the surface is
clay bar towel
Clay bar towel

Clay Bar Towel

A clay towel, as its name suggests, is a piece of fabric with a coating that resembles the substance used in clay bar goods (a thin layer of polymer clay compound bonded to a microfibre) Clay Towels were created to combine the utility of a towel with the cleaning and contaminant-removal abilities of a typical clay bar. By rinsing them off before and after use, almost all clay cloths can be reused.

Unlike regular clay bars, a clay towel can typically be used repeatedly (up to about 50 automobiles occasionally!) Generally, you can stretch a normal-sized clay bar to a maximum of two or three cars.

Another noteworthy aspect is that unlike clay bars, which must be "warmed up" in order to become soft and flexible, clay cloths may be cleaned by simply thoroughly rinsing them in water. This is in contrast to clay bars, which must be completely written off if dropped ( unless you want to inflict severe swirl marks and scratches into your paint)

Which is Better - Clay Towel or Clay Bar?

Depending on your budget and how comfortable you are using clay products, you can choose what you want to use to remove bonded surface contaminants. Here are some pros and cons to help with your decision.

Clay Cloth Pros

1. Speed

When compared to a conventional size clay bar, clay towels can be Significantly faster to work with because of their large surface area. You can typically cover the entire automobile in a pretty short period of time when using a clay towel.

2. Reusable

Clay towels can be used again, unlike Clay bar. You can simply rinse the cloth with water if it falls to the floor before going back to the paintwork.

3. Cost

A clay towel may end up being more cost-effective in the long term if you often clay your automobile or need to do several different cars.

4. No Kneading

With a regular clay bar, you have to knead the clay as you go around the automobile to expose new clay, but not with clay towels. The impurities can be washed off by simply dipping it in a wash bucket.

Clay Bar Towel Cons

1. Effectiveness

But compared to typical clay bar, clay towels are currently only approximately 90% as effective at removing persistent impurities, according to the detailing community.

2. Hard to use in small areas

Traditional clay bars make it possible for detailers to work in extremely tight and delicate spaces on a car and finish the claying process more quickly than they could with a clay towel.

3. Possible marring

By using a clay cloth, if you are not careful and don't use enough lubrication, you can cause a lot more harm to a car's paint in a shorter amount of time.

Shiny car after clay treatment


Syntetic clay mitts have emerged as an alternative to traditional clay bars in auto detailing, offering a more practical way to remove embedded paint impurities. While both mitts and bars use a similar clay material to attach to and pull off pollutants, mitts are made from modernsynthetic materials that have a longer shelf life and are less likely to accumulate dirt particles during use. Additionally, clay mitts are easier to handle and provide faster cleaning, making them a more convenient and efficient choice for car enthusiasts.

You can choose any claying product for treatment your car, but keep in mnd that wax or sealant are mandatory finishing step to keep your car shine and protected.

About the Authors

Sergey "Serg" Paskevich
Panama-based detailing pro, proud owner of Car Care Performance Detailing studio in Panama-City. Specializing in Paint Correction, Ceramic Coating, and comprehensive Car Detailing services
Kristina Tretyakova
Distinguished as a South Florida Top-10 student in 2021. Studying Marketing and Business Administration at FIU. Proficient in daily operations and skilled in cleaning, auto detailing and copywriting.

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