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Just wondering if anyone has tried any of these commercial clay block paint oxide remover things... If so; do they work? Do they work on all paint types? Can I just use regular $1 a pound sculpting/pottery clay, or do I need the magic of the $20/150gram block at my local auto store?

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Yes, they do work for what they're intended (removing contamination on the paint, overspray etc) and no, as far as I know they're not the same as pottery clay but have some other ingredients in them. Rubbing pottery clay on your car will more or less give you the same result as rubbing sand on it...

Keep in mind that using a clay bar only make sense as part of a full detail. You wash the car thoroughly, then you clay it, polish it, wax & seal it. Clay will not remove oxidised paint (that's not what it's intended use is) but it'll remove contaminants on the paint reasonably safely that so you don't end up either trying to remove it using polish or worse, scratch the paint while polishing. Clay also pretty much strips any existing wax and sealant off the paint so if you're not going through the full routine you're likely to make things worse, not better.

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  • So you are saying that cleaning an claying a car alone is useless? Even if it is a 9year old car who defenitly doesn't have any way on it anymore? I have a claybay, but I cannot polish myself, and shops charge way to much for my liking..
    – nclsvh
    Mar 15 '18 at 8:00
  • Yes, just using a claybar can actually be detrimental to your paint's health as you strip off all the protective layers like waxes and sealants. If your 9 year old car hasn't seen wax in months or years, it's probably a good time to put some on anyway. Mar 18 '18 at 18:42
  • Thanks! Yes, as I bought mine 2 years ago off an elderly lady, so I am 99% sure she didn't bother to wax or polish the car. Now the next dilemma is to learn to do it myself or spend the bigbucks on professionals...
    – nclsvh
    Mar 19 '18 at 10:10
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I have tried it many years ago on an Imron paint job. The finish felt smoother than before and the sliding rag test was better. I didn't see any visual difference. In after thought I wondered about the grit that the clay is picking up. Since you reuse the clay wouldn't the clay hold the grit and eventually act as an abrasive? It appeared to do no harm but I didn't think the results justified the effort.

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  • The Clay should only be used a certain amount of times. I don't remember if one claybar was designed to last for something like 4 fully clayed cars (depending on the state of the cars). And as you probably know, if you drop it on the ground it's more or less unusable.
    – Markus
    Feb 19 '16 at 15:38

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