Last Updated on October 3, 2021 by Stewart

Paint decontamination is a crucial detailing step. This must be done before paint protection. The forms of decontamination on the car are iron deposits as well as tar from the road. It can also be dead bugs on the paint work which can’t be removed during a normal wash.

Clay Bar Decontamination

Using a clay bar is the physical form of decontamination. This is highly effective, and will remove a large degree of the contaminants from the paint work. An issue with clay bars is that it can inflict marring on the paint work. If the car is going to have its paint corrected, this isn’t normally an issue. If the car is being detailed without there being access to a machine polisher, then it would be advised to be extremely careful with the clay bar.

The clay bar will need to be folded over itself during the process to make sure that the debris will not land on the paint again. An excellent video about using clay on neglected paint can be found below:

An alternative to this would be to use a clay mitt. A clay mitt is less abrasive, but it will still pull off contaminants from the paint work.

One such example of a clay mitt is the G3 Deep Clean Clay Mitt. You can read our review about it, here.

Chemical Decontamination

When carrying out a chemical decontamination, several chemicals are needed. The first is an iron fallout remover. This will break down the iron particles on the paintwork. Even in situations where these are not readily visible, they will still be there.

All iron fallout removers work in the same way and will cause a chemical reaction to safely soften the fallout. The presence of purple deposits on the car when using these removers indicates iron contamination. They can then be rinsed away to leave a spotless finish. It is sometimes necessary to repeat this step several times.

A common question is, why do we need to use fallout removers? This is a great question that sometimes goes unanswered. In an ideal world, simply using a high quality shampoo such as UHD Shampoo would remove all of the dirt and debris, as well as other contaminants. Whilst a high quality shampoo will remove dirt and debris, the large majority of shampoos do not have a fallout remover in them. This is iron contamination that sticks to the car, and it extremely common if the car is parked near an area where there is a lot of industrial work being carried out.

Over time, these iron particles can etch into the paintwork, meaning that it will ultimately damage the clear coat on the car. There are numerous Iron Fallout Removers available, and you can read more about them in their reviews below:

Autoglym Magma Review

Gtechniq W6 Iron Fallout Review

Tar removal is another important decontamination step and there are several tar removers on the market. Some of these come in a spray bottle whilst others need to be dabbed onto the paint work. One thing to note is that regardless of the kind of tar remover, they can normally be harsh smelling. In this regard, masks should be worn as well. It is also important to point out that some tar removers do suggest that the product does not come into polycarbonate head lights. There are various Tar Removers available, and you can read more about them by clicking on their reviews down below:

Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover Review