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  • Tony "Concorso" Varvel

Clay Bar vs Nano Skin

In the course of daily business I get a variety of car care questions about the best ways to go about washing, drying and general prep for waxing, sealing or the latest in coating applications. This months tip is based on the car already being washed and dried properly and ready to remove more deeply embedded matter.

Concorso Detail, Gyeon Coating, Porsche 82 Targa

One of the universal steps in paint surface prep is Claying. This process removes embedded debris and particulate from the paints surface, leaving a smooth clean result ready for further treatment. In recent years, advancements in the technology, brought us the Nano Skin mitt. The difference being that clay comes in a jar and the mitt is worn like a glove.

To use clay, the product needs to be hand warm and softened. Important to note that using cold hard clay can mar the paint significantly. Press the clay out in a pad fashion in your palm. Now, using your favorite instant detailer, spray the painted surface liberally, as well as spraying the clay in your hand and begin cleaning, using a short back and forth motion with little or no pressure. Wipe clean with a clean microfiber towel. Repeat the process until complete.

Nano skin is a little easier to use. Simply put the mitt on your hand spray the painted surface and the mitt with instant detailer and start cleaning. A quick note, Nano’s come in fine, medium and coarse varieties. Fine and medium have been very effective for me. The mitt offers protection for your hand as well. Cleaning around trim and other sharp parts of the car can make for a painful experience with clay if your not careful.

Now for the distinguishing advantages and disadvantages. Clay is roughly 20.00 for a sixteen to twenty ounce jar. A nano skin mitt runs about 45.00 dollars. A jar of clay can do 5-10 cars depending on how bad the paint is. A mitt can do 20 – 30 cars, again, depending on condition of the paint. I’ve found clay for a s low as 10.00 on special and mitts for 15.00. Point being, keep and eye out and you can save a little money. Most all of the auto parts stores have some variety of clay in stock. Mitts can be a little tougher to find, but are generally available.

Here’s a huge distinction. If, during the claying process, you should happen to drop the clay on the floor. Your done with that portion of clay. It must be thrown away or risk further marring of the paint with the debris picked up from the floor. It happens all the time.

Nano skin however, is forgiving. Drop the mitt, no problem. Simply wash the mitt with a little soap and water, rinse and your back to work.

In the final analysis, both products have their merits, but the speed of application and clean-ability of the Nano Skin make it my choice for daily work.

A quick side bar for consideration in all aspects of cleaning your car. Safety. I recommend wearing gloves. Nitrile or latex, as well as eye protection. Though most products are environmentally friendly, that does not mean they won’t dry out your skin or burn like the devil, should it get in your eyes. Believe me.

I hope you find this information useful. Should any of you have further questions regarding any aspect of detailing, please feel free to reach out and I’ll see if I can help.

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