How To Care For Your Vehicle Wrap
There is some disagreement on this question, but it is generally recommended that you wash your vehicle wrap once a week. Let us explain.
Vehicle wraps are extremely convenient, as they allow you to customize a vehicle much more easily. They also provide an excellent layer of protection for those sensitive finishes. However, a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that their vehicle wrap doesn’t require maintenance. A vehicle wrap does indeed require maintenance and care, just like every other part of your vehicle. Since most people do not know the correct way to care for a vehicle wrap, let’s discuss how you can do just that.
How Often Should I Wash My Vehicle Wrap?
There is some disagreement on this question, but it is generally recommended that you wash your vehicle wrap once a week. Of course, that is a general estimate. If the vehicle is not used very often, it may not require cleaning every week. However, if the vehicle sees a lot of daily use, it may need two or three cleanings per week. In the end, it all depends on how dirty the vehicle might be.
Vehicle storage will also play a role in this matter. If your vehicle is stored outdoors, you should know that it isn’t recommended to do so. Vehicle wraps are made of vinyl, and vinyl doesn’t last forever. The ravages of the elements will surely do a lot to reduce the lifespan of your wrap, so try your best to keep the wrapped vehicle in a garage or carport.
How Should I Clean My Vehicle Wrap
Washing a vehicle wrap is actually very simple. Soap and water is the ideal combination, as it is strong enough to do the job without being harsh enough to degrade the vinyl. Before you begin, test your soap on a small and less-visible part of the car. To do this, you can just put some of the soap on the surface, leave it for a few minutes, and then rinse it off.
Start by taking your water hose and giving the vehicle a quick rinse. This will remove any stray dirt and debris that may be present. You can use a nozzle for a little more pressure, but it is probably best to avoid the use of a pressure washer. It is possible to use a pressure washer on a wrap, but you have to follow these rules:
- Make sure the water pressure is well below 200 PSI
- Make sure the water temperature is below 180 degrees Fahrenheit
- Use a 40-degree wide-spray nozzle
- Keep the spray nozzle at least one foot away at all times
- Always keep the spray nozzle perpendicular to the vehicle surface to avoid lifting the edges of the wrap
In general, most soaps that are intended for washing cars are safe to use on your wrap. Mix the soap with water in a bucket and use a towel or sponge to thoroughly scrub the car and cover it with suds. When you’re done, give it another rinse with normal water. It is best to let your vehicle wrap air-dry, but it wouldn’t hurt to use a squeegee or chamois towel to remove any excess that is left behind.
For spot cleaning, you can use isopropyl alcohol diluted with water. Mix two parts 70% isopropyl with one part water. Household cleaners like Simple Green can also work well, but don’t forget to test them first. If you are dealing with something that has become dried and caked on the surface of the wrap (like bird droppings, dead bugs, etc.), it is a good idea to soak the affected area with cleaner and let it sit for a while before you scrub. Never try to scrape or scratch that kind of degree from a wrap, as it can easily damage the vinyl surface.
What Damages Vehicle Wraps
Although vehicle wraps are fairly durable, there are a number of things that can damage them. First of all, driving on rough, unpaved roads isn’t a great idea for a wrapped vehicle. All those little rocks and bits of debris can bounce around and do all sorts of damage.
That brings us to the subject of automatic car washes. You can take a wrapped vehicle through a car wash, but only if it is a touch-less wash. Standard car washes are a bit too harsh and can cause serious damage to a wrap. Excessive amounts of UV exposure can also degrade the vinyl, so this is another good reason to park your wrapped vehicle in a covered location. Finally, be careful about any gasoline spills that may occur. Even small spills should be wiped clean immediately.
What to Never Use on Vehicle Wrap
There are certain things that must never be used on a vehicle wrap. First of all, you should never use hot water on your vehicle wrap. Warm water is fine, but hot water can completely ruin the adhesion of the vinyl. The result will be lots of peeling at the edges until the wrap is replaced. As we said, you should also never use a scraper, steel wool, dish-washing scrub pads, or anything else that is abrasive.
As for chemicals, make sure you never use harsh chemicals or strong solvents on a vehicle wrap! That vinyl wrap simply isn’t meant to endure such things, and they aren’t necessary for a good cleaning. Abrasive polishes or cutting compounds are also a no-go. Do not use oven cleaners, as they tend to be far too acidic. The same is true of orange-based cleaners and de-greasing compounds of all sorts.
As you can see, the most important thing is to clean your vehicle wrap properly and regularly. With a little bit of maintenance, your vehicle wrap can continue looking nice for years. Of course, it is very important that you call the right company for the installation of your wrap. If you would like to inquire about our services and pricing, you can call us at 302-322-1600.