Vehicle wraps are not easy to maintain. Just like other vehicles, your wrapped car needs proper maintenance. Protecting the wrap, along with regular cleaning helps keep the color vibrant and the wrap material long-lasting.
Wrapped car protection is a great way to preserve your wrap. However, it’s important to know the best cleaning solution to properly clean vehicle wraps. Keep reading to learn how to take care of a wrapped car and the most common cleaners that you can use to wash your wrap.
Effective Ways to Clean Wrapped Vehicles
The most effective way to clean your wrapped vehicle is through hand washing. The intricacy of cleaning car wraps is just like a paint job, you have to carefully hand wash the shaded area to avoid damaging the vinyl.
Here are some of the best cleaning techniques for wrapped autos:
1. Hand washing. Make sure to wash your vehicle regularly to keep any possible pollutants from damaging the surface. When you see your car appears dirty, immediately hand wash it. Road debris and acidic pollutants can build up on the wrap over time and lead to a more complicated cleaning job, especially on the trunk lid. Rinse off the dirt using cold water spray and non-abrasive detergent or car wash soap.
The old tried and true two bucket method is our recommendation. Wipe off as much dirt and grit with a wet paper towel, soft sponge, or clean cloth while making sure the car wrap vinyl, polishing or wax products don’t get in your second clean bucket. Rinse with clean water or spray water and dry it off using a silicone squeegee or clean microfiber cloth.
2. Pressure washing. There are certain conditions when using a pressure washer to clean a wrapped vehicle is necessary. Use a spray nozzle with 40 degree wide angle spray pattern, keeping water pressure wash below 14 MPa, ensuring the soapy water temperature is below 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and distancing the nozzle from the vehicle graphics and cloth car cover for at least 300 mm.
3. Automated car wash. Brush car washes should be avoided altogether. Visit those spray washes that only use a water jet cleaning method, also known as an automated brushless car wash. Car washes who don’t use brushes help to keep the matte or textured films free from scratches.
Controlled, manual pressure washing is best, but if you have limited time to clean your vehicle wrap, a drive through car wash is the best solution to remove fuel spills immediately.
Products to Use and Avoid When Cleaning Wrapped Cars
Taking care of a wrapped car can be an easy task if you know what to do and what to avoid. There are common products that you should use and never use when cleaning your vehicles.
Check out the following list:
Safe to Use
- All Purpose Cleaner
- Isopropyl Alcohol or Denatured Alcohol
- Household Chlorine Bleach
- Hot Water with Mild Detergent
- Mineral Spirits
Not Safe to Use
- Oven Cleaner
- Bathroom and Kitchen Cleaners
- Oil-based Cleaners
- Engine Degreaser
- Orange Oil
- Abrasive Polishes or Cutting
- Citrus Base Cleaner
When it comes to stubborn contaminants like bird droppings that may damage your vehicle with prolonged exposure, the most common problem is fuel spills. Make sure to wipe them off immediately in order to prevent the wrap vinyl from degrading. The next steps include car washing, rinsing, and drying the vehicle wrap to ensure the adhesive remains intact.
For difficult contaminants including tree sap, bird droppings, bug splatter, water spotting, polishes or cutting compounds, and residue on the surface, you can soften them by soaking them for a few minutes with hot soapy water mixed with soap or stain remover. Avoid rough scrubbing and abrasive tools as they may scratch the vinyl car wrap.
Wash the vinyl wrap and rinse them off to remove similar contaminants and all wax residue immediately. If you want to restore your car wrap, find a film restoration service provider in your area to keep your wrapped car looking brand new.