Clay Bar vs. Clay Mitt – What’s the Difference?

If you’re trying to get your car to look nearly new again, you should be thinking about detailing it until it shines. Part of this process involves collecting the right car detailing tools—including either a clay bar or a clay mitt. Both of these can quickly and safely remove contaminants—such as tree sap, bugs, and brake dust—from your car’s surface without scratching the paint. But which one is better to use? Here’s what you need to know about a clay bar vs. clay mitt before you start detailing your car.

One of the most important tools in detailing is a clay bar.

How the Clay Bar Works

A clay bar is a rectangular bar made of clay material that can remove contaminants from the paint on your car. When you spray a clay lubricant on your vehicle and then rub a clay bar across the surface, you’re properly preparing it so you can start buffing it. This way, you’ll have a smooth, clean surface so the buffing process is easier and takes less time than usual. But even if you don’t plan on buffing your car, you can still use a clay bar to smooth out the surface before you wax it. Either way, you’ll pull out any contaminants from the paint on your car.

What’s a Clay Mitt?

A clay mitt has the same purpose of a clay bar, which is to smooth out the surface of your car so you can properly detail it. However, a clay mitt fits over your hand, similar to a wash mitt when you wash your car. Because of this, it tends to be easier to use than a clay bar, which you have to hold as you rub over the vehicle. In addition, clay mitts are typically larger than clay bars since they have to fit over your hand, so they can cover more surface area.

Understanding the difference between a clay bar and clay mitt can help determine which to use and when.

Clay Bar vs. Clay Mitt: Which Should You Use?

The most obvious difference between the clay bar and the clay mitt is the shape. But there are a few other features that differentiate the two. First, since clay bars tend to be smaller, you get less use out of them. They typically last up to about 20 applications, while clay mitts can last closer to 100. In addition, you have to keep clay bars covered with plastic or inside a container so they don’t dry out, while clay mitts don’t need to be covered at all. And if you drop a clay bar on the ground, you’ll have to use a different one, because dirt and dust will instantly stick to it. But with a clay mitt, you can simply wash it off with water if you drop it.

So knowing all these facts about the clay bar vs. clay mitt, you might be wondering why anyone would use the bar if the mitt is faster and easier to care for. The main reason is that many people who detail their cars have found that the clay bar is more effective at getting rid of contaminants in the car paint. So if you have a lot of debris on the surface that you need to remove, consider using a clay bar first. Once the surface is smooth and free of contaminants, you can maintain it by periodically using a clay mitt on your car for a fast, easy way to detail it.

If you want to see the difference a clay bar or clay mitt can make on your car, try the Trinova Clay Bar Kit and the 303 Clay Mitt. Feel free to browse Gold Eagle for additional car wash and car detailing supplies if your goal is to get your vehicle looking its best.

Leave a Reply

  • If you maintain your vehicle on a regular basis the clay mitt is the best in my opinion. Your vehicle should not pick up much on it’s finish.303 makes a number of products to keep your vehicle in great shape.

  • What business carry your products?

    • Hi, Leslie. We have quite a few different businesses that carry our products. However, we have a “Where to Buy” link which will show you in your area what products you can find. Hope this helps and if you have any other questions please contact consumer support at

  • How do you clean the clay mitt after using it on the car and does the cleaning process reduce in any way the effectiveness of the mitt to remove contaminants the next time you use it?