Does Clay Bar Remove Wax? (Yes, But…)

Image Credit: Spencer Hogg via YouTube

Image Credit: Spencer Hogg via YouTube

Does Clay Bar Remove Wax? (Yes, But…)


A clay bar is a very effective way to remove wax and other surface contaminants from your vehicle’s exterior. Clay bar is what most experienced auto detailers use to provide their customers with the best possible finish.

It just takes some experience and the right materials to properly remove wax with the help of detailing clay bars. You also need a lot of elbow grease and patience to produce the best results.

Does Clay Bar Remove Wax?

Clay bar will usually remove most waxes and paint sealants. Clay bar is designed to remove elements adhered to the clear coat that won’t typically be removed during a standard car wash.

More advanced paint sealants and ceramic coatings have a stronger bond that prevent a clay bar from being able to remove them.

If your goal is to remove your wax or paint sealant, there are better methods for removing waxes.

When you take the time and genuinely care about the results, you can get a truly professional look. Some practice and a bit of experience might have you prepping and waxing your car with results similar to what Mike Phillips or other well respected detailers might do.

When you correctly use a clay bar to remove wax and other materials from your car’s exterior, the final wax application will look its best. You also help to preserve the exterior for many more years against the ravages of industrial fallout and various sources of contamination that could wreck painted surfaces.


Clay Bar Vs Wax

It’s important to thoroughly clean your finish make the car’s surface ready to re wax. A lot of car owners make the mistake of thinking that simply washing their vehicle will remove bug residue and adhered particles of dirt and other contaminants. Unfortunately, a basic car wash will only remove the more loosely attached road grime.

A detailing clay bar is the best tool to get rid of all the surface contamination and make the paint ready for new wax or any other paint protection. Clay bars and the right lubricant will do a superior job of cleaning and prepping the exterior for the best results. The clay removes wax and any surface contamination that makes a new wax job look poor.

When you want to do the job right, detailing clay, lubricant, and a clean microfiber towel are essential elements to do quality work. It will remove the existing wax so that you can apply a new coat to the surface of the paint.

After you polish it with the microfiber cloth and apply some sealant, the paint should look great with an even and smooth surface appearance. Your car no longer will look like it suffered from industrial fallout and other sources of extreme wear and tear.

Clay Bar

Clay bars remove stubborn contaminants adhered to the surface of your car or truck’s finish. They can also remove things such as wax. It can’t remove things like a ceramic coating that is designed to be permanently bonded to the paintwork.


Pure carnauba car wax creates a protective coating over the finish of your vehicle. It makes your car or truck easier to clean and prevents road grime, industrial fallout, and other contaminants from adhering to your finish.

These days, car wax is often confused with paint sealants which usually contain very little or no true carnauba wax. They are made up of more advanced protective ingredients that last longer and protect better.


What does a clay bar do?

Using a clay bar after you give your vehicle a good washing helps make the paint cleaner and the clear coat much brighter by removing stubborn contaminants. A good detailing clay bar, some car shampoo, and a fresh bucket of clean, warm water will help to remove all kinds of surface contaminants.

The clay bar will help you to remove all traces of car wax and sealant so that the paint surface is in perfect condition to accept a great new wax job.

What is the point of clay bars?

Clay bars are designed to remove stubborn road grime, bug guts, industrial fallout, and other contaminants that stick to the surface of your car or truck and won’t simply wash off. If you want your car’s paint to look its best, a clay bar is the right tool for the job. It also removes old wax so that you have a flawless surface upon which to apply a new coat of wax.

Using clay with a microfiber cloth removes almost all contaminants from the paint surface. There are varying grades of clay hardness that are capable of removing more difficult bonded contaminants.

How does clay bar remove wax?

A clay bar will remove most contaminants and other elements that are adhered to the surface of your car or truck’s finish. The wax particles get embedded into the clay as it glides across the paintwork. Waxes and paint sealants typically aren’t very strongly bonded to the finish and a clay bar can easily remove them.

What will clay bar remove?

A clay bar will remove most unwanted bonded road grime that you do not want on the paint. Claying removes bonded contaminants, old wax, and paint sealants from the surface of the vehicle.

You can use clay to remove the brake dust and embedded dirt that gets on the paint and other smooth exterior surfaces. A clay bar also will help you to remove everything from dirt and road tar to acid rain deposits that could penetrate into the paint.

A clay bar can help you to perfectly prepare the paint for final waxing. Detailing clay bars also can help you to remove rail dust that looks like tiny orange spots in the paint.

Will clay bar take off ceramic coating?

A clay bar will not remove the ceramic coating, but it will help to clean it and make it shine. Ceramic is very durable and smooth. So it is difficult to damage it with clay.

A detailing clay bar removes contaminants from the ceramic coating and helps to make it shine better. A good buffing with a terry cloth can make ceramic surfaces sparkle and rival the paint when it comes to looking good.

You can use clay on ceramic much like you would on the painted surfaces of your car. With some lubricant and a clean cloth to work the clay on the ceramic surface, you can clean it very well and get any contaminants out of the way.

Clay will not remove the ceramic coating, but it can remove contaminants that have bonded to older ceramic coats that have lost some of their slick hydrophobic properties.

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Can you clay bar a car with wax on it?

Detailing clay will remove existing wax and contaminants. It will create a uniformly clean exterior surface that new wax, sealant, or ceramic coatings will bond better with and look better applied onto.

You should use clay on a car that was waxed and is showing signs of weathering. But only when you intend to strip the old and worn-out wax and replace it with a new coat.

The clay will remove all of the wax and sealant from the car’s surface. The lubricant that you use and grade of clay help to make detailing clay bars highly effective at prepping paint for the final application.

You can add a thin layer of wax and sealant that protects the paint and will not leave tiny holes in the protective layer due to contaminants sticking up through the wax and creating weak points. That will help to preserve the paint while making your vehicle look great again.

Do you clay bar before or after wax?

You certainly do not want to use clay after waxing your vehicle. You only want to use a clay bar to remove the old wax and create a clean exterior that you can detail before the final wax or sealant is applied.

It all starts by washing the car’s surface so that you can remove contaminants with clay and make the clear coat and paint ready for the final waxing. The clean surfaces will show any imperfections that you could correct with further detailing.

With a detailing clay bar and microfiber towel, you need to work the lubricated clay into the crevices to get all of the contamination gone. You remove the wax with clay and completely reveal what the painted surfaces truly look like beneath the old waxing or sealant.

Using a clay bar is good to do before paint correction. Once you have the exterior surfaces completely decontaminated, you can eliminate fine scratches and other imperfections safely without potentially causing more fine swirls and scratches from hard contaminants coming off on your polishing pad and swirling around as you polish.

After you have cleaned the exterior’s painted surfaces and corrected any imperfections, you can apply the new wax or sealant to the paint.

How to use a clay bar on a car or truck

When you have the right products and the time to do the job right, claying your vehicle’s painted surfaces is the best way to prep it for a great waxing job.

You can clay your car or truck by gathering the correct materials and setting aside some time to do the job right. Items that you should get include a:

  • Microfiber Towel
  • A Clay Bar
  • Clay Lubricant

Steps to using a clay bar:

  1. Start with a thorough car wash that removes as much dirt and road grime from the exterior as possible
  2. Focus on 2 foot x 2 foot sections
  3. Spray clay lubricant liberally over the section you’re focusing on
  4. Using a clean piece of clay bar, glide it across the surface with light pressure
  5. Using a plastic bag, feel the surface to see if it is perfectly smooth
  6. Spray more lubricant on the area and glide the clay bar across the area again if it doesn’t feel glassy-smooth
  7. Repeat in 2 foot by 2 foot sections until you’ve finished the entire vehicle’s surface

How to remove old car wax

You always have to start with a thorough washing of the exterior and all painted surfaces to see what the extent of the work will be to get the waxed surfaces ready for a new coat. If you do not know what is making the painted exterior look bad, you cannot make it look good.

With the old coating gone, any swirl marks, fine scratches, or stubborn contaminants are easier for you to see and get rid of to prepare for the new waxing job. You can restore the painted surfaces and give them an even look.

You can control the effects of the clay with lubricant. The clay needs lubricant that you can apply with a spray bottle and get the perfect mix for applying to the exterior surfaces. You should use dedicated clay lubricant and not water to get the best results.

A detailing clay bar is the best tool for stripping away the old waxing and contamination that accrued since the last detailing job. The amount of time you spend on it depends on how much the painted surfaces have suffered in recent months.

You create a clean surface with clay and lubricant items that remove wax and loose particles from the car’s paint. Then you can complete the waxing and make your vehicle shine like new again.

Do I need to remove old car wax?

All waxed surfaces should be stripped clean so that you can focus on any paint imperfections prior to rewaxing the vehicle. Doing anything less is just going to result in poor quality and a depleted look.

You should start with a good washing using car shampoo, and then apply the clay with lubricant making it easier to work it into the spots that need cleaning.

You must remove all the wax from the paint with a detailing clay bar. You even need to work the claim into the crevices to get rid of all of the contamination, including rail dust and other hard-to-reach imperfections.

Once the old waxing job is removed, you can focus on getting rid of fine scratches and swirl marks on the paint. Then you even out the surfaces and finish the waxing job with your favorite products for the best look and shine.

You also get the best possible protection when you properly apply the clay bar to get rid or worn-out waxing products prior to re-waxing the painted surfaces.

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With clay, you can get truly professional results from your efforts. You just need to set aside some time and reserve your patience to get the ideal results.

Detailing clay bars are affordable and readily available through many auto parts and body shop supply centers. So you should have no problem getting the products needed to do the job well.

You clean off the old waxed surfaces, correct paint imperfections, and finish with a quality waxing job that looks fantastic.

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