How do I maintain a vehicle wrap? According to the company that manufactures wrap vinyl, you cannot simply wash a vehicle wrap. Cleaning the wrap regularly is necessary to maintain its overall appearance and to help it last longer. When exposed to dirt, grime, and contaminants, vinyl films used in vehicle wraps behave similarly to automotive paint. They will degrade over time, especially if left unclean and exposed to UV light and heat.
Dirt and grime work under the wrap’s edges, causing lifting. These vehicle wrap care instructions will assist you in cleaning and maintaining the premium appearance of your vehicle wrap while also extending its life. In the end, there is a section with frequently asked questions.
Waterless washing is the preferred cleaning method if the vehicle is clean. This method is ideal if you don’t have access to a hose. Hand wash extremely dirty vehicles first, then use a waterless wash. Waterless wash products designed for wrap care aid in the maintenance of the gloss and performance of the vinyl wrap. Always test any new product on an inconspicuous wrap area before using it on the rest.
Hand washing your vehicle wrap is the most common, safest, and cost-effective care method. If your vehicle has a partial wrap, we recommend hand washing the entire vehicle, not just the graphics. Take the following steps:
- Pre-Rinse: Using a hose, thoroughly rinse the entire wrap with clean water. This helps remove loose dirt particles and keeps the graphics from scratch.
- Wash: Using a soft cloth or sponge, gently wash the graphic with a mild soapy water solution (natural or synthetic). Begin at the top of the vehicle and work your way down. Scrubbing too hard can scratch the surface.
- Rinse: Thoroughly rinse with clean water.
- Dry: Allow the wrap to dry naturally. To avoid water spots, remove water with a silicon squeegee before finishing with a microfiber or soft, non-abrasive towel.
Note: Excessive spraying at the incorrect angle may result in failure points and the wrap lifting at the edges.
Automatic Car Wash
The Sign Hub understand that running the vehicle through a car wash is easiest. This is not recommended. If this is your only option, please use a brushless car wash that only uses spray. Do not use the wax option. This wax may contain petroleum distillates, which may harm the warp. Brushes, particularly nylon bristle brushes, may scratch the vehicle wrap or catch the edge of the vinyl, creating a failure point. Once the film begins to lift, it is nearly impossible to get it back down.
Pressure Washing: A pressure or power washer should only be used on a vehicle wrap if all other cleaning methods have been tried and failed. This is because pressure washing may cause edge-lifting and face degradation to the vehicle wrap.
- Use water pressure of less than 1200 psi.
- Ensure the water temperature is less than 180° F (80° C).
- The nozzle must be kept at least 12 inches away from the edges.
- Maintain a perpendicular spray to the graphic.
- Use a spray pattern with a 40° angle.
FAQ About Vehicle Wrap
How frequently should I wash my wrap?
We recommend cleaning it every two weeks or whenever it appears dirty.
What kind of detergent should I use for hand washing?
Use a gentle car soap and water mixture. Detergents containing vital soluble substances, alcohol, or abrasive components should be avoided. The detergent’s pH level should be between 5 and 9. (Technical note: the pH of drinking water is between 6 and 8). 5 and 7 are both neutral)
Can I wax my vehicle?
Yes. However, make sure that the wax contains no petroleum distillates. Petroleum distillates are found in many paste waxes. Products that combine a waterless wash and wax are excellent choices if the vehicle is clean. If you used an automatic car wash, skip the wax option.
What about difficult areas?
Bird droppings, tree sap, and bug splatters will damage the vinyl film and must be removed as soon as possible. If a more vital chemical is required, test it in an inconspicuous area.
Matte Car Wrap?
For matte-finish vehicle wraps, a waterless wash is highly recommended. Use no wax-containing products! Wax fills in the texture of the finish, making it matte and causing shiny spots. Do not wash a vehicle that has been wrapped in matte vinyl! Even the most basic sprays may contain wax or other components that cause shiny spots. Again, a waterless wash is advised. When hand-washing a matte wrap, use very little soap in the water. Clean the spot with a 50/50 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water.
What about chrome or metallic wraps?
Chrome wraps are incredibly fragile and easily damaged. These require very specific maintenance – follow the installer’s instructions. High-quality vehicle wrap vinyl should be used to care for a vehicle wrap. For more information on vehicle wrap care and maintenance, visit. Contact Sign Hub