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Clay bars - once opened consume within how long?

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by The Doctor, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. The Doctor
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    The Doctor Well-Known Member

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    [Jun 27, 2010]
    As the title says, how long can I keep a clay bar once I've opened it? Obviously I could keep it forever but it wouldn't be much good for detailing after a while. If I wrap it up in clingfilm, could I keep it for a week or so? Reason I ask is that we've just changed our family car (bought a 2007 C4 Grand Picasso) and the paintwork needs some TLC, but I'm not realistically going to be able to complete it all in one day. Most likely I'll clay, polish & wax a panel at a time during the evenings.

    Second question, how do I know when to discard the clay and replace it? I've clayed my S3 before but didn't pick up much residue (it's well looked after!). However I think the Picassso is a different story...

    Cheers!
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  3. JD09
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    JD09 I'm not modding, I'm improving VCDS Map User

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    [Jun 28, 2010]
    You can keep it for as long as you like. But once used, make sure you are still able to fold it to a clean surface for detailing.

    Once the bar is a little too mucky to use on paint work, use it on glass. Once too dirty for glass, use it on your alloy wheels/exhausts.
    #2
  4. Broken Byzan
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    Broken Byzan Photographic Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Jun 28, 2010]
    PHEW i hadn't even thought about them going off/past sell by etc.

    I have one thats as old as my car,lol
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  5. CMD
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    CMD Pointing Forward's!!!!!!!!!

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    [Jun 28, 2010]
    Yes they do go off / deteriorate mine started to break down very similar to a pencil rubber mine was in an airtight container and still went bad .
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  6. The Doctor
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    The Doctor Well-Known Member

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    [Jun 28, 2010]
    Thanks chaps, I'm off to get started on claying the tour bus! Tonight's episode is the bonnet.
    #5
  7. WX51TXR
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    WX51TXR Polished Bliss

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    [Jun 28, 2010]
    I've never seen clay go off before, but in fairness we go through professional sized bars in less than six months, so we have never really done a proper long term test. In theory they shouldn't degrade as they are made of polybutene impregnated with abrasive polishing particles, but never say never it seems!
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  8. The Doctor
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    The Doctor Well-Known Member

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    [Jun 28, 2010]
    Thanks guys. Bonnet is done, polished & waxed now. Smooth as glass compared to the rest of the paintwork which feels a bit like fine sandpaper! Still, the paint's in good nick underneath, with almost no swirls evident. I think the previous owner must hardly have washed it...

    Had a few more "you'll rub the paint off" comments from the neighbours this evening (as usual). I'm just starting to realise how much paintwork there is to do on a car this size!
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  9. Scruffy
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    Scruffy Member

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    [Jun 29, 2010]
    Just out of interest guys, does claying the glass get rid of all the 'stains' on there? When I mean stains, it's as if you can see the windscreen wiper outlines when I wash the car and I can't get rid of them, the water sort of runs off in the shape that the wipers go...if that makes sense!
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  10. fgaffney
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    fgaffney Member

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    [Jun 29, 2010]
    I wrap my used clay bars in clingfilm and tend to forget about them until it's time to clay again.

    You'll know when you need to stop using your bar and go onto a new one as it won't fold over and then stay together during use. It starts to break apart in your hand and it's clear when the time comes to change it.
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  11. JD09
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    JD09 I'm not modding, I'm improving VCDS Map User

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    [Jun 29, 2010]
    Sounds like build up. Claying will help but glass polishing is the true answer.
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  12. Scruffy
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    Scruffy Member

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    [Jun 29, 2010]
    I have autoglym's glass polish...will that work. Did try it once but am sure it has left some scratches and swirls on my glass
    #11
  13. The Doctor
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    The Doctor Well-Known Member

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    [Jun 29, 2010]
    I use the AG Glass Polish (the pale blue stuff), and it works fine for me. Don't rate the "Fast Glass" though - leaves lots of streaks when I use it.
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  14. jimmy77
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    jimmy77 Member

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    [Aug 15, 2010]
    sorry for my ignorance but what is a clay bar???
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  15. Jonay
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    Jonay Member

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    [Aug 15, 2010]
    its a bar of clay (like what you used to play with at school!) that you rub on the paitnwork after washing it. The stickyness of the clay picks up bugs and tar spots that you can't really see but can feel when you rub your fingers over the paintwork.

    Use it after shampooing but before waxing/polishing.

    HTH
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  16. The Doctor
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    The Doctor Well-Known Member

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    [Aug 15, 2010]
    As above. They feel like plasticine, but are basically a solid form of fine polishing compound which removes surface contaminants from your paintwork. When you've washed the car, if you run your finger over the surface it can feel "rough" to the touch. By passing a clay bar over the surface (using finger pressure and a "detailing spray" to lubricate the surface) the contaminants which over time bond to your paintwork are removed by the clay to leave the smooth surface beneath. Typical contaminants are road film residue, tree sap, tar spots etc etc.

    Easy to do and the difference in appearance is huge. Must wax the car afterwards though to ensure that the paint surface is then sealed and protected from the elements.

    Takes me about 1/2 day to do my S3 (it's done twice a year) but recently it took me probably 12 hours in total to do our C4 Grand Picasso which had never been done before. Man, that thing was a nightmare but the paintwork is SO much better now it's unbelievable.
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  17. TOGWT
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    TOGWT New Member

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    [Aug 16, 2010]
    The things that will affect 'useful' life would be a) storage method b) chemicals used in lubrication
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