Griot’s Garage Paint Cleaning Clay Isn’t Great

Sometimes less is… less.

byCorey Forde|
Cleaning & Detailing photo

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BYCorey Forde/ LAST UPDATED ON March 10, 2022

Your car gets dirty: You wash it. Maybe you even wax it every once in a while. Job is done, right? Not always. Inevitably, your car’s exterior will get etched with contaminants. And no matter how hard you try, some of them won’t come off with regular washing. The best solution to this problem is a handy tool known as the clay bar.

Clay bars are made with a resin compound mixture. They can be of synthetic or natural ingredients and are used to remove contaminants from your paint surface much like you’d use a ball of dough to pick up the smaller shaggy bits at the bottom of a bowl. Their purpose is to give the paint a glass-like feeling, making the application of wax or ceramic coating much more efficient. Clay bars achieve this by picking up harmful and sometimes microscopic debris like tar, dirt, brake dust, and the industrial fallout that causes iron oxide stains.

Car detailing is often regarded as a therapeutic experience but finding the best products to get the job done can seem like the exact opposite. There’s an endless amount of options out there, so we at The Drive decided to test out the Griots Clay Bar to give you a better idea of which one is best for you.

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Corey Forde

Getting After It With the Griot’s Clay Bar

Good: Clay compound works great!

Bad: High price point, lacking the essentials, a bit messy. 

As I’ve done in previous clay reviews, I used my mom’s white 2009 Nissan Murano. This car remains perfect for the job and it made the most sense to use the same vehicle for all, testing different products on different panels. The Murano has seen its fair share of use over the years as a daily driver and family hauler. It’s never seen the inside of a garage and probably should have seen the inside of a car wash a bit more. White paint will also show contaminants the best, giving you the best visual before and after results.

I began the test by doing the usual wash and dry process. The rear liftgate was chosen for this one. As I’ve done in previous clay tests, I set a 10-minute timer to see how much was able to be removed. Clay barring should never be an all-day process. Ten minutes is plenty of time to finish a panel of a crossover. Any more time spent and it’s best you find a different product. 

Per direction on the jar, I began by tearing a portion of the clay from the main bar and kneading it into a pancake. The directions state to use Griot’s Speed Shine (sold separately). But I went with a general-purpose clay lube instead, since I didn’t have Griot’s on hand.

Corey Forde

What’s Good About Griot’s Clay Bar

Corey Forde

The clay compound included did its job well and I was able to complete the entire rear liftgate in about six minutes. It took very little time and effort to make the paint surface smooth and visually appealing. There’s also a nice amount of compound included, and the directions recommend breaking off smaller pieces. I can see this lasting quite a bit of time, seeing as how using a clay bar is only recommended once or twice a year.

Corey Forde

What’s Not Good About Griot’s Clay Bar Kit

Let’s start with the price point. At the time of this writing, the Griot’s Paint Cleaning Clay Bar sits at $21.99 and doesn’t include anything but the 226g clay bar. That’s it. No clay lube, microfiber, wax, ceramic coating, etc. Similar products on the market have kits that include those for similar (or sometimes cheaper) price points. The budget-friendly detailer will want to look elsewhere, as the general value isn’t really here with this one. 

The next low point of this product is the actual compound itself. Although it worked really well and sped up the claying process, it was prone to crumbling during use, leaving flakes of clay all over the place. 

Depending on where you were using the clay bar, the clean-up process can actually negate the time you saved. I got numerous flakes stuck on the paint, but especially in between the emblems. This caused me to rinse the entire liftgate down and dry it again. While that only added a few minutes to the job, that extra time will add up for each panel of the rest of the car. Consider larger trucks and SUVs, or the detailer with multiple cars, and you can see it becoming quite the annoyance! 

Corey Forde

Our Verdict On The Griot’s Clay Bar

This product worked well, but it wasn’t without its flaws. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, I’d consider looking elsewhere. The compound can also get a bit messy, slowing down the entire process. Other clay kits come with many other products essential to completing an entire clay bar job, and for a similar or cheaper price. 

FAQs About Griot’s Clay Bar

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers!

Q. Where are Griot’s Garage products manufactured?

A. Indiana. 

Q. Are Griot’s Garage products worth it?

A. We’re not going to apply our experience to all of the brand’s products — at least not until we test them ourselves. 

Q. Should I try other Griot’s Garage products?

A. I don’t see why not. You won’t know if it’s good enough until you try them. We certainly will. 

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