Recently, Nanoskin Autoscrub Pads have come into the limelight but are they are replacement for detailing clay?
I use to think that there had to be a faster more efficient way to decontaminate car paint than detailing clay. If you don’t know already a clay bar is a synthetic moldable compound that is used to remove bonded dirt and grime from your cars surface. Simply put, you glide the clay across paint that has been lubricated by a soapy solution. Even simpler, clay resembles play dough and cleans your car really well! I like to compare it to exfoliating, while washing your face with soap will clean your skin you need to use other scrubs or strips to get a deep thorough cleaning. One of the biggest downsides of detailing clay is that dirt and grime sticks to it so if you drop a clay bar it is rendered useless because it will pick up small rocks, dirt and so on. Additionally you have to stop and kneed the clay to expose clean areas. If you continue to use the clay bar you will drag dirt and grime across the paint and introduce scratches and swirling.
The Autoscrub system is a synthetic rubber pad that you attach to a machine polisher to effortlessly remove bonded contaminants. There are two key differences between the Autoscrub Pads and detailing clay. First and most importantly, you can drop the Autoscrub pads on the ground and continue to use them. Because the pads are rubber they do not pick up loose dirt, simply rinse or wipe off and continue to use the pad. The second advantage of the Autoscrub system is that it cuts down on the time it takes to decontaminate your paint. These are the two key advantages to the Autoscrub system but is it enough to make clay obsolete?
I believe both detailing clay and the Autoscrub system have their places in the detailing world. The rubber pads are great for big panels such as a car roof or hood while clay is great for tight spots such as bumpers or side skirts. I also find the sometimes detailing clay removes some contaminates better than the Autoscrub and sometimes I find the opposite. Additionally, the Autoscrub pad still needs to be cleaned after using it on a fender, then a hood, then a fender and so on. The Autoscrub system is not full proof; it is capable of leaving light marring like detailing clay can. That is not to say it is a danger to your paint but it can create some extra work. Overall I think both tools are a must for professional detailers and weekend warriors alike.