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Can We start using clay on 4-5 month old cars. My mdx is 4 months.
Just remember that when you clay bar, you're signing yourself up for a full detailing job. The clay bar removes just about everything on the surface of the paint, including any existing waxes. You'll need to re-apply your waxes, polishes and/or finishes after you complete the clay step. I broke my plan up into sections on the car, since otherwise it could be a full day's work.

But having done this recently for the first time myself, I have to agree that it's totally worth it. My hood is smooth as silk now !!

2,366 Posts
How to Use Zaino in Detailed Instructions #1

[Dawn Detergent]
Z18 - ClayBar
Z7 - Show Car Wash [concentrate]
314 - Custom Polish Applicator [100% cotton]
Z5 - Polish for Swirl marks and Fine Scratches
Z6 - Ultra Clean Gloss Enhancer Spray
Z2 Pro - Show Polish for clear coated cars or Z3 - Show car Polish for Regular Paint
ZFX - Special Effects Accelerator
Z9 - ‘Leather Soft Spray’ Cleaner
Z10 - ‘Leather In A Bottle’ Treatment and Conditioner
Z16 - Perfect Tire Gloss

Once you have done all of the following, you will not have to spend much time keeping your car looking great - it’s just the first time that patience is needed.
The most important thing is preparation. I.E. - if a person wants to paint his kitchen the first thing you do is wash the grease off the walls. That is what you are doing when you wash your car with Dawn.
Also, I am detailing almost everything you have to do, except breathe! The next time you apply Zaino - it will be easy. OK here we go:
Wash with Dawn- this is done only once in a lifetime. Using a detergent this one time will not hurt your paint. Use only 100% cotton towels when washing or drying your vehicle.
Use one ounce of Dawn for every gallon of warm water. [hint-from the tap use very warm water - by the time the pail cools down the water and you walk to the car it will be warm]
Dunk the towel into the pail of Dawn and put onto car without wringing it out.
Wash vehicle in straight lines, no circles.
Wash vehicle in quarters.
Using a hose without a nozzle rinse vehicle in quarters. Rinses better this way.
All grease and most contaminants are now gone. You do not have to dry.
Z - 18 ClayBar

Use Car Wash (Z-7) as a lubricant for the ClayBar. Use 1 capful of Z-7 Car Wash to 500ml of water. I use a spray bottle for the mix. Shake it up and spray the area to be Clayed. The ClayBar should slide like a hockey puck as you rub it across the surface you just sprayed. Just make sure to keep the surface area lubricated while using the ClayBar. Rub with light to medium pressure. After a few passes with the Z-18 ClayBar, rub your hand over the area to feel if the surface contamination was removed. Keep rubbing until all contamination bumps are gone. Work in small areas, usually 2'x2'. Wipe the clay residue off with 100% cotton towels. When ClayBar is dirty, stretch and pull to expose a new area of the Claybar. It is normal that the ClayBar will disintegrate or start to fall apart, especially on older vehicles. Wash car immediately with Z7 after completing the vehicle.
Wash with Z - 7.
Pour 3 caps of Z7 Car Wash into one gallon of warm water.[use same method as before]
Dip towel into pail, as above. Using a hose without a nozzle rinse vehicle in quarters.
Dry with 100% cotton towels and do not leave any water spots.
Z - 2 PRO Polish or Z - 5 Polish
If your car is new, skip Z5 for now, and use it when you see swirls or fine scratches.
If you are contemplating one application within the next 24 hours take either polish and pour one ounce into an empty 2 ounce vial. One ounce will cover a medium sized vehicle [Impala/C6] - Zaino Polishes spread easily. If you are contemplating 2 or even 3 applications within the next 24 hours, pour two ounces into an empty 2 ounce vial.
For one application put 4 drops into the vial containing 1 oz. of either polish.
For two applications put 8 drops into the vial containing 2 oz. of either polish.
For the 3rd layer then follow the info above for one ounce in a vial after applying the 2 coats.
Shake vial for 90 seconds.
Let sit for five minutes. Shake for 10 seconds before using.
Now, spray one squirt of Z6, or one squirt of a solution of water and Z7 Car Wash, [500ml+one capful] onto #314 applicator pad. Squeeze pad. This helps to moisturize pad. [Use the solution also to remove bugs and bird poop = spray and dab - never rub bird poop!]
Squeeze the mixture onto pad in an ‘s’ design.
Rub finger over pad to spread mixture. Apply this thin coat on top of car, apply in back and forth motion. [Use vertical movements on the sides of the vehicle] NO CIRCLES. No rubbing is necessary.

Squeeze mixture again on the pad with a backward ‘s’ design. Spread with finger. The third time you apply mixture to the pad squeeze it across the pad on an angle and smooth with finger. The fourth time reverse your angle. Next, apply mixture in the middle of the pad and spread with finger. Now the whole pad has the polish mixture on it. Continue applying to pad until vehicle is done. Depending on the humidity and temperature it will take 30 to 90 minutes when using ZFX.
While the vehicle is drying, apply Z16.
Z - 16
There is a plug inside the cap - remove it - it just there to stop leaks.
Clean the area of dirt, oil or grease.
Pour Z16 onto cotton cloth or sponge and apply to washed and dried tires.
Some tires are ‘thirsty’, especially newly purchased tires. So, you might need two applications but in the future, one application will generally suffice. Of course the number of applications will determine the amount of gloss. Use Z16 on your porous moldings and all weather-stripping.
Also you can use the Z16 on the wheel wells. When showing your car - apply to tire treads to give it that over-all gloss look.
When the Zaino polish is dry, remove polish in back and forth movements - no circles. Shake towel frequently. Polish will flake or not smear when it is dry. Rub your finger on the polish and if you feel polish specks then it is dry. Patience please. This is the most important step of all - polish must be dry!
If you polish your vehicle WHEN TEMPERATURE IS BELOW 10C OR 50F it will take at least 3 hours to dry.
Z - 6
After the polish has been removed you will now apply a total of one ounce of Z6 on the car using several sprays. Your Z6 spray bottle will give you at least 16 applications to an Impala sized vehicle.
Here’s how:
Spray Z6 lightly onto car in 2'x2' sections, rub lightly 2 or 3 times, back and forth / up and down, in straight lines, then turn towel to the dry side and lightly buff. The towel will want to slide out of your hands! When the dry side of the towel becomes damp, then find another area of the towel to buff lightly
Finish remainder of car.
Z - 2 - again
It doesn’t matter if you have applied one or two applications of Z5/ZFX solution, always finish up with Z2 even if it is the next day. Z2 has the best reflective quality. Apply the remaining polish mixture if you are adding a 2nd or 3rd layer on the same day. Follow the same procedures above.
REMEMBER ZFX ALLOWS YOU TO POLISH YOUR CAR 3 TIMES IN A 24 HOUR PERIOD. Other polishes and waxes have to cure for 24 hours before applying again. After I apply my last coat of Z2, I apply Z6 again. The difference is fantastic.

Then you can use Z2, Z5, and Z6 whenever you feel like it. Myself, I use Z6 sometimes after a wash OR after it has rained and I have a SMALL amount of dirt on the vehicle. I spray the cloth or vehicle with Z6 Gloss Enhancer and wipe it down. It will not scratch as long as you follow the instructions of using 100% cotton towels, turn the towels when needed and the car isn’t too dirty.
For Z9 and Z10 just follow the info on the bottles. BTW Z10 needs no buffing - rub it in and that’s it.

641 Posts
screbr said:

Just remember that when you clay bar, you're signing yourself up for a full detailing job. The clay bar removes just about everything on the surface of the paint, including any existing waxes.
In my experience, claying will not remove most sealants, including Zaino, Klasse, Four Star, and Blackfire. That's assuming you're using it with a good clay lubricant. I can still feel the super-slick finish that Zaino and Four Star leave behind after claying my vehicles, and the water beading is unchanged. I can't comment on waxes, since I've never tried to clay a car that still had wax on it (it goes away so fast on its own).

The action is much more of a pulling of embedded contaminants out of the paint while the clay floats on a microscopically thin layer of lubricant, than it is a polishing or abrasion. That's why clay does absolutely nothing for swirl marks.

Still though, if a finish has been neglected to the point where it requires claying, it probably needs polishing, reapplication of sealant, etc.

5 Posts
I have sort of a silly question but I'm going to ask it anyway. We just purchased our new 2006 MDX Nighthawk Black/Ebony Int with DVD and RES this past Friday. My question is what do I use to detail the inside. I know to use Leather Cleaner and Conditioner on the seats but what about the dash and door panels. I have been washing and detailing my own cars for years. Just feel that since this one is so nice I should be using something a little bit more special than Armor All. Any Suggestions.

Airborne, All The Way!!!!

641 Posts
Here's what I'm using:

Wash: Meguiar's Gold Class
Clay: Blackfire PolyClay II
Polish: Menzerna IP and FPII
Glaze: Don't use it, but I'd try Blackfire GEP or Menzerna FTG if I had to
Sealant: Klasse AIO/SG,, Zaino Z-5
Last Step Product (topper) - Four Star UPP, Blackfire, Zaino Z-2
Quick Detailers: Four Star UGE, Blackfire, Sonus, Zaino
Wheel & Tire Cleaner: DP Wheel Cleaner
Wheel Sealant: DP Wheel Glaze
Tires: Blackfire Tire Gel
Wheel Wells: 303 Aerospace Protectant
Window Glass: Stoner's IG
Trim Pieces: 303 Aerospace Protectant, Black Again
Chrome Plastic: Klasse AIO
Bumpers: Klasse AIO or same as paint
Headlights: Wolfgang Plastic Glaze and Plastic Sealant or same as paint (Zaino works well), use Menzerna IP and FPII to restore clarity if needed

Leather: Four Star Leather Conditioner (former longtime Lexol user)
Wood Panels: Klasse AIO
Dashboard: 303 Aerospace Cleaner and Protectant (former longtime Meguiar's #40 user)
Inside Windows: Stoner's IG

I won't claim that any of these products are the best at what they do, but based on my experience, and that of others, I do believe they are all among the best in their respective categories.

161 Posts
what do I use to detail the inside
Just a friendly tip on forum etiquette, in the future it may be better to start a new topic since this has little to do with one being discussed. Plus it will make it easier for others to reference that info. But, since you asked here goes...

Although jhue has listed some excellent products (I use 303 for my vinyl also), many of those are not readily available and they need to be special ordered. Which is fine if you are willing to go the extra step and pay a bit more for that degree of quality. But for individuals who just want to get products from their local auto parts store and still get decent quality, here is what I suggest for interior vinyl:

Vinylex (from the makers of Lexol)
Meguiars Natural Shine Vinyl & Rubber Protectant

Furthermore, an important thing to realize about regular protectants is that (unless it specifies otherwise or you use 303), they all contain silicones to create some degree of gloss. If silicone residue is allowed to accumulate for too long it can actually magnify UV light and damage your vinyl. Some products like Armor All use a lot of low-grade silicone, which is why they have gotten such a bad rep. For this reason, it is very important to clean your vinyl periodically (1-2 times a year) to remove silicone build-up. Reapplying more protectant does not qualify as cleaning even if the product does claim to have cleaning properties. Use a good all-purpose cleaner like Simple Green (diluted properly) and once the vinyl is thoroughly cleaned, apply the protectant of your choice.

4,358 Posts
The following is the best description of the use of Clay Bars that I have run across. It is long but has a lot of information.

"here is a good description of clay bars (its long)that someone emailed me a long time ago. i have no idea who wrote it, but it wasnt me:

Every car finish shares a common enemy: pollution. It relentlessly pursues your car from the second it leaves the factory until your car meets its ultimate demise. It's in the air we breathe, it's on the roads we drive, and it attaches to your car's paint, where it bonds and begins a process of oxidation.

Surface contamination is difficult to clean or polish off, yet paint cleaning clay removes it with ease.

When contaminants get a solid grip on your car's paint, washing alone may not be enough to remove them. Pre-wax cleaners also may not be able to exfoliate large particles. In this case, you have two choices: use a polishing compound, which removes a lot of paint material, or use a clay bar. Clay isn't a polish or a compound, it is a surface preparation bar that smoothes the paint and exfoliates contaminants.

Clay is not a cure-all or a replacement for polishing. It's a tool for quickly and easily removing surface contamination.

One of the many reasons for using clay is the removal of brake dust. Brake dust contamination, which attaches to painted rear bumpers and adjoining surfaces, is a metallic surface contaminant that can be removed safely and effectively by using clay.

Detailing clay is also very effective on paint over-spray. If the over-spray is particularly heavy, you may want to seek the assistance of a professional. Tree sap and tar specks can also be safely removed with a clay bar.

Recently, I have also started using clay on my windows (exterior) to remove heavy road film, bug deposits and water spots. It works very well, and seems to outperform even the best window cleaners.

I frequently see detailing clay marketing information that reads something like this: “…clay pulls contamination off of your paint...” This statement sounds pretty ridiculous when you realize that you must lubricate the surface you’re claying. How in the world do you pull on something that’s wet and slippery? This myth was born from a fear of telling people the truth. Clay is an abrasive paint care system. Yet used properly, detailing clay is not abrasive to your car’s paint; it is abrasive to paint contamination.

Oh my goodness… did I really say that clay is an abrasive? You bet I did.

Read the patents on detailing clay and they describe very clearly that it is a mixture of a clay base (polybutene) and various abrasives. The primary detailing clay patent (U.S. Patent No. 5,727,993) identifies three unique elements (claim 57) used in concert:

“A method of polishing a protrusion or stain from a surface comprising;

applying a plastic flexible tool to the surface, the plastic flexible tool comprising a plastic flexible material having mixed therewith an abrasive comprising grains from about 3 to 50 m in diameter and;

applying a force to the plastic flexible tool such that a polishing force per area is applied by the plastic flexible tool to a protrusion or stain on the surface, and such that the amount of force per area applied to the surface is less than the amount of force per area applied to the protrusion or stain.”

Detailing clay is an abrasive system. If not used properly, detailing clay can cause light surface marring. There’s no need to fear if you use proper lubrication.

An easy way to think about detailing clay is simply this: detailing clay is a “selective polish” with a built-in applicator. Its job is to “polish away” dirt and surface contamination from paint, glass, chrome and plastic without polishing the surface itself. A pretty simple concept, isn’t it? Detailing clay technology has been around for many years, with roots dating back to the 1930’s. That’s when the idea of combining polybutene (a soft plastic resin material) with abrasives was first put to paper.

Enough with the techno-speak; how does detailing clay really work? That’s what I wanted to know when we (the Sonus team) set out to create a new clay formulation for car enthusiasts. What I determined is simply this:
Detailing clay works by hydroplaning (floating) over the surface you’re cleaning on a thin layer of clay lubricant.

When the clay (polish) encounters surface contamination, it abrasively grinds it away.
Detailing clay shears off any foreign material above the level surface of the paint.

Those are scary words to a car enthusiast, but it’s an accurate description. You can see the end results of this “grinding” work by inspecting your clay. Does your clay have large particles sticking to it or does it have what appears to be a dirty film? It’s the latter, of course, and it’s proof that your clay is doing its job gently polishing away contamination.

A big part of our detailing clay education this past year had to do with what makes one formulation of clay different from another. As it turns out, there is a lot that goes into each formulation of detailing clay. Although most of the clay made today comes out of a single factory in Japan, the formulas can be significantly different, including:

Clay resin density (firmness)

Abrasive particle size

Type of abrasive

Abrasive density (ratio of abrasive to clay)


Detailing clay formulation determines the optimal function of the clay and its potential to do damage when used improperly. As an example, professional grade clay that’s designed to remove paint overspray is very firm and contains abrasives equivalent to heavy rubbing compound. Used properly it will remove heavy overspray without damaging the paint. Used improperly, it can leave some pretty significant surface marring. That’s why it’s a professional product.

Most consumer grade detailing clays are designed to be used as an annual or semi-annual paint maintenance tool prior to polishing and waxing. At this frequency, these detailing clay products work great. Simply use the clay as part of your major detailing regimen.

The problem we were beginning to see is that many car enthusiasts wanted to clay their vehicles frequently; as often as monthly. At this rate of use, some consumer grade detailing clay can begin to dull clear coat finishes. After all, it is an abrasive!

How do you know if you need to use a clay bar? After thoroughly hand washing your car, feel the surface of your car's paint. Do you feel bumps and rough spots? These bumps are contaminants attacking the finish of your car. Removing these surface contaminants (road tar, acid rain spots, bug residue, paint over-spray, brake pad dust, hard water spots, etc.) will improve both the look and health of your car's paint. By the way, you can magnify your sense of touch by inserting your fingertips into a sandwich bag or a piece of cellophane.

No matter how well you hand-wash your car, many of the contaminants that have worked their way into your car's paint finish will remain. Have you ever looked at your foam wax applicator pad after applying a coat of wax? What do you think that black stuff is? It's dirt, and you're waxing over it, sealing it in.

Detailing clay isn't new. Paint and body shops have been using it for years to remove paint overspray. Clay is fairly new to the car detailing market, and is very new to the consumer on retail shelves.

In the early days of detailing clay, there was a concern that paint damage might occur if improperly used. These concerns have been overcome through proper education and product improvements.

New technology detailing clay bars are made of fine polishing particles in a soft, malleable "clay" medium that allows the bar to be formed and kneaded. Some clay makers add color to make the bar more attractive or to identify bars of differing strength (coarseness).

Many clay products claim to contain no abrasives. This is stretching the truth. The reason clay manufacturers claim their products don't contain an abrasive is because the general public thinks the word "abrasive" refers only to aggressive, paint removing materials. The fact is that the abrasives in most automotive clay products are so fine that you will not see any reduction in paint gloss. After several uses, paint luster may even improve.

Still, I have heard some horror stories about people ruining a Ferrari paint job using a clay bar. I can see how this might be true if an inappropriate product was used or if the clay bar is used incorrectly. The critical component to safety is proper lubrication.

Most clay retailers recommend using their detailing spray as a lubricant. Detail sprays work as a clay lubricant because they contain chemicals that prevent scratching when wiping away dust and light dirt. The problem is that most detailing sprays also contain some form of alcohol. Used in heavy concentration (the surface must be thoroughly wet with lubricant), alcohol removes wax protection and causes most clay formulations to break down and get mushy. Once this happens, your clay is dead, and it will make a smeary mess. We also discovered that some car wash soaps will cause the same problem when the clay is allowed to sit in the bucket of soapy water.

Using clay is very easy, but you must follow the instructions. Use clay incorrectly and you will create a mess or scuff the surface of your paint.

Before using detailing clay, you must thoroughly clean and dry your car to remove any loose dirt. Direct sunlight should not fall on your car's surface, and it's best if the work area is relatively cool to prevent rapid evaporation of the clay lubricant.

To use the clay bar, you spray a lubricant on a small area of your car and rub the clay back and forth with light to medium pressure. If the lubricant begins to dry, you'll need to spray more. Clay is fairly sticky and cannot be used dry. Try using clay dry and you'll make a big mess and scuff your paint.

After a few passes with the clay, rub your hand over the area you cleaned to check for areas missed. You should feel a distinct difference between the areas you have clayed and the areas you have not clayed. Keep rubbing until all contamination bumps are gone. Finally, wipe the clay residue off with a soft microfiber towel, and buff to a nice luster. Just like waxing, work in small areas.

When your clay is flattened into a nice wafer, you spray both the clay and the paint with clay lubricant and rub the surface lightly with the clay. Three or four passes over an area is normally enough to do the job.

An alternative to spray detailing lubricant is good old soapy water. Be sure to rinse your wash mitt thoroughly and use a fresh bucket of soapy water, not what's left over from washing.

Check the clay bar frequently for hard particles. When found, pick them off. Make it a habit to occasionally knead and reform the bar so that a fresh portion of the bar contacts your car's paint. If you drop your bar of clay on the ground, it's history. Toss it out. Don't take any chances, discard the clay bar if it becomes impregnated with grit. Read the manufacturers' directions for the number of uses of their clay bar. Do not overuse a clay bar.

When you're finished claying your car, you should wash it to remove the lubricant film, then go over it with a pre-wax cleaner to finish cleaning the paint. Finally, seal your freshly cleaned paint with your choice of wax or sealant.

After claying one or two body panels, your clay will begin to look dirty. Don't be alarmed, that's just the clay doing its job. Flip the clay over and use the other side. When both sides are dirty, remold the clay into a ball again and flatten to reveal a clean surface.

Clay isn't just for paint. You can use detailing clay on any smooth, hard surface, including glass and chrome. Do not use clay on clear plastic, such as headlight lenses.

When I can no longer remold clay to get a clean surface, I retire it for use on my windows. The dirty clay will not harm glass, and it's amazing how much dirt film clay can remove from your exterior glass.

I also use my old clay to clean wheels. Clay will safely remove stubborn, embedded brake dust, tar and road film from all factory wheels. Clay is not recommended on wheels that do not have a factory clearcoat or powder coat finish.

With just a little effort, stubborn brake dust that even the strongest cleaners won't remove comes off with detailing clay.

Over the past four years I have received a lot of email questions regarding clay. Here are some common questions and answers:

Q1. I dropped my clay on the ground. Can I still use it?
A1. The safe answer is no. Clay will pick up small particles of grit from the ground that will scratch your paint.

Q2. If I use clay do I still need to polish my paint?
A3. Yes. Clay will not remove swirl marks, scratches or etching from acid rain or hard water spots. Paint polish is still required to remove these paint defects. If your paint is new or like-new, detailing clay will significantly reduce the amount of polishing required to keep your paint in good condition.

Q3. What is the best clay?
A3. What label do you like? There are only a couple manufacturers of clay, and the technology is protected by U.S. patents. Clay is manufactured with different levels of abrasiveness and colors to suite different applications. There are some subtle differences in technology (plastic vs. elastic material) and the firmness of the material. In general, softer clays are safer and easier to use. A firm clay cleans better with a little more risk of scuffing or scratching.

Q4. Is it better to use soapy water or a spray lubricant?
A4. Both work equally well. If you want to do the job fast, use a bucket of soapy water. If you want to work inside or do a thorough job, use a spray lubricant. With a spray lubricant you can wipe down each panel as you go and feel for areas you missed.

Q5. How do I store my clay?
A5. If your clay did not come with a re-usable plastic container, store it in a plastic Ziploc bag.

Q6. Will clay remove my wax?
A6. In most cases, clay will "scrub off" wax protection. Some paint sealants are hard enough to withstand being cleaned with clay, but most are not.

Don't overuse detailing clay. In my opinion, it is often over-prescribed as a cure-all. I think once or twice a year is adequate for most well-detailed cars. Be sure to use a proper lubricant.

Choose a prewax cleaner with the least amount of cleaning and polishing capability necessary to get the job done without being harsh on your paint. The goal is to maintain your paint in excellent condition, not wear it out by over-polishing.

Who makes it?

most boat/auto care product companies have it, like Meguires

641 Posts
G. COLTON said:
The following is the best description of the use of Clay Bars that I have run across. It is long but has a lot of information.


I frequently see detailing clay marketing information that reads something like this: ��clay pulls contamination off of your paint...� This statement sounds pretty ridiculous when you realize that you must lubricate the surface you�re claying. How in the world do you pull on something that�s wet and slippery? This myth was born from a fear of telling people the truth. Clay is an abrasive paint care system. Yet used properly, detailing clay is not abrasive to your car�s paint; it is abrasive to paint contamination.
And yet, the company that owns that patents on detailing clay writes this on the web site:

The final solution, Clay Magic�, was developed in Japan in the early 1990's. This detailing clay safely removes rail dust and industrial fallout by "pulling" it off the surface. It does not "cut" or perform any abrasive action normally associated with polishing or compounding.
Based on my own experience of using clay for 12+ years, I'd agree with what's written on the web site, and disagree strongly with much of the previous posting.

7 Posts
To keep up with the times for a modern commercial enterprise means having an electronic version of the store on the Internet. By automating business processes using managemart software for cleaning business means you can upload to multimedia catalogs, as well as maintain an online store, where you will always have current prices and nomenclature of goods. Of course, you should not cut costs on the specialists who will implement this software in your company.
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