Is Ethos’ Paint Puddy Clay Bar The Real Deal?

We put the Paint Puddy to the test!

byCorey Forde|
Cleaning & Detailing photo

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BYCorey Forde/ LAST UPDATED ON March 10, 2022

It’s a fact of life that your car will eventually see its pristine paint etched and pockmarked with all sorts of street grime, BB-sized gravel, and tar. An attack on its paint and your zeal for keeping it clean. The ultimate solution? A handy tool known as the clay bar. 

A clay bar is a resin compound mixture, either made from synthetic or natural ingredients, and used to remove contaminants from your paint surface. Remember how gross your silly putty would get after dropping it onto the floor after five seconds? Yeah, it’s the same principle here. Clay bars leave your paint’s surface glass-like by picking up harmful and sometimes microscopic debris.

Whenever you’re looking to perform paint correction of any kind, you need a clay bar. And if it’s been a long time since the car has seen a clay bar, it’s probably time that you use one. But while giving your car a good detailing is regarded by many as therapeutic, finding the best products isn’t. The number of products available are too numerous to count, and their effectiveness isn’t always guaranteed. That’s why we at The Drive decided to test out the Ethos Paint Puddy Clay Bar Kit to give you a better idea of if it’s the right product for you.

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Corey Forde

Getting After It With the Ethos Clay Bar Kit

  • Good: Works fantastic!
  • Bad: Not much of a ‘kit,’ as it only comes with the clay bars
  • Check Latest Price

This kit comes with two items in total:

  • Two 100-gram clay bars

To really put this clay kit to the test, I’m once again using my mom’s daily driver, a white 2009 Nissan Murano. As I tested and reviewed multiple clay bar kits, it makes the most sense to use the same vehicle for all. And this one is perfect for the job. It’s been put through the wringer over its life and should have been taken care of far better than it has. White paint also shows contaminants the best, and it’s not much of a thorough test if the car is in mint condition. 

To start, I began by washing the car thoroughly to get as much dirt off as possible, followed up by drying, then allowing it to sit for 20 minutes to ensure the moisture was gone. The rear passenger door was chosen for this test. And as I’ve done in previous clay tests, I set a 10-minute timer to see how much was able to be removed. 

Per direction on the jar, I began by kneading the clay until flat, spraying both the panel and the clay generously, then working in a two-square-foot section. I made sure to apply light pressure the entire time. The directions stated to use Ethos Pro Shine, but that was not included in the kit, so I went with a general-purpose clay lube instead.

Corey Forde

What’s Good About the Ethos Clay Bar Kit

The main highlight of this kit was the speed at which it completed the job. It took only six minutes to finish an entire panel. The compound is just sticky enough to grab contaminants with ease, while still gliding smoothly over the paint surface for clean motions. And the amount of clay included is great as well. 

Similar to other kits on the market, the directions suggest using an entire bar for a single session but after testing, I realized that it wasn’t necessary. Breaking off a smaller section was fine, and I was able to get the job done just as fast as using the entire bar. Clay barring is a once or twice a year process and going by this, I can see these bars lasting a very long time. 

This compound was able to remove years’ worth of contaminant buildup on my mom’s Murano. I couldn’t find this specified on the jar, but I’m willing to guess that the compound provided would be a ‘medium-grade’ industry-standard clay — perfect for those daily-driven, neglected, vehicles that do it all. 

Corey Forde

What’s Not Good About The Ethos Clay Bar Kit

While labeled as a kit, it seems to be lacking in the kit department. In the jar, you’ll find two slabs of clay…and that’s it. At the time of this writing, the price of the Ethos “kit” is $16.99. Competitors' kits are found just a few dollars higher and include a full list of essential items included. Although this product worked great, I couldn’t see myself choosing this one over similarly priced options. 

Corey Forde

FAQs About Ethos Clay Bar Kit

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q. Can I use silly putty instead of a clay bar?

A: Honestly? Probably. It shouldn’t leave anything behind and should remove some of the contaminants left on your paint. It won’t be as good as a clay bar, though. 

Q. My clay bar has a bunch of grit on it from the last time I used it. Can I use it again?

A: Toss it. You don’t want that grit and grime scratching your paint. 

Q. How long does a clay bar last?

A: If you’re just storing it, it will probably last around two years. If you’re using it repeatedly? Until it has a bunch of grit and debris embedded in it. Toss it once it’s spent. 

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