Just wanted to take a second to go over some of my methods of claying a car, as this seems to be one thing that many people have question about.
Claying your car is a very simple task as long as you follow a couple of simple procedures.
#1-Wash your car with a quality car was soap. There is no reason to ever wash your car with dishwashing detergent. I know that Zaino recomends this, and in order to follow thier procedures for thier kit, then they say it's a must. But, dishwashing detergent dries out paint and any rubber it comes in contact with. If you have to wash with dishwashing detergent, then please follow up with a good quality wax and rubber conditioner on your entire car. Other than Zaino, no one recomends washing with dishwashing liquid.
#2- Evaluate your finish. There is no set time frame to clay your car. Simply put, after you wash your car, take your hand and lightly wipe across all of the different panels of your vehicle. It should be perfectly smooth to the touch. If you can feel anything rough, then it's time to clay your ride.
#3- Using the clay. It is very simple. Meguiars has a clay kit that comes with everything you need. Claybar, Quik Detailer, microfiber towel and a small container of wax, so I'm going to use this kit as a reference.
Take the clay out and flatten it out in the palm of your hand. Kind of like you would make a hamburger patter. You want it to be about a 1/4 inch thick and somewhat rounded(doesn't need to be round, this is just my method).
Put the clay on your 4 fingers. Try to not position the clay bar on your fingertips, they have the potential to "push thru" the clay bar while your using it. Place it in the area on your fingers between your palm and fingertips.
Now take the spray bottle of Quick Detailer and give the clay itself a quick spray(the side that will come in contact with your car). The spray(Quick Detailer) is used for a lubricant, to help the clay glide over your paints surface easily.
Generously spray the lubricant(Quick Detailer) over the area that you intend to clay. Work a small section at a time(maybe a 1sq ft area). Now place the clay on top of your paints surface and lightly glide the clay back and forth across the area your working. If the clay starts to stick, just spray a little more lubricant on the area where your working. Keep gliding your clay and you will feel the contaminats reducing in size. It's kind of like sanding a table top, you can feel it get smoother and smoother the more you do it.
When you feel you've removed the contaminats, remove the clay from your car and use the microfiber to wipe the surface you just worked. Now take your bare hand and gently rub that area. It should be a lot smoother than it was originally. You may need to do 2-3 treaments if your cars surface it highly contaminated, so keep going until you get it nice and smooth.
Repeat this process over your entire car(yes I know it can take a while).
Couple of tips. The clay will become very dirty. You will be very surprised at how much crap is left over after a wash, and all of the contaminats on your vehicles surface. When the clay become visibly dirty, fold it into itself, kind of kneading it. Keep doing this until you get a nice clean surface to work with, then flatten it out again, then reuse.
Don't try to skimp on the lubricant. If you do, it will make the clay very hard to manuver around on your vehicles surface. It will "stick". Spray the lubricant down generously(don't worry, you will have plenty left over).
The clay will remove anything above the surface of your paint, including wax. So there's no need to wash with a dishwashing detergent or anything like that.
You must wax your car after you are finished!
Hope this helps. Let me know if I left anything out