Cleaning Printed Vehicle Wraps

Cleaning Printed Vehicle Wraps is not difficult – and by investing a small amount of time, you can extend the life and appearance of your wrap. This article focuses on printed wraps if you have Matte or Carbon Fiber wraps we have a guide devoted to their care HERE.

Wash Regularly

Wash whenever the wrap appears dirty. Do not allow dirt and contaminants to stay on the vehicle wrap for periods of time.  Later this dirt will be harder to remove if it has had time to soak in and stain the vinyl.

Hand Washing the vehicle is the preferred method for cleaning printed vehicle wrap. Using a mild detergent in warm water applied with a soft sponge or microfiber cloth. After washing rinse thoroughly with clean water. To reduce water spotting, immediately use a silicone squeegee or chamois to remove excess water and finish drying with a clean microfiber cloth.

Spot Cleaning

It is best to remove road splatter immediately, so it doesn’t have an opportunity to soak in.  Soften difficult contaminants such as bug splatter, bird droppings, tree sap by soaking the affected areas for a few minutes with warm, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly with water and dry.

If the splatter doesn’t come off, try using a solution of two parts isopropyl alcohol to one part water. Be careful not to scrub or use abrasive tools the vinyl; this can damage the finish. Wash and rinse off all residue immediately. Always test these solutions on a small area that’s not easily noticeable to be sure the cleaner will not harm the wrap.  It must be remembered not to use engine degreaser, oven cleaner, oil-based solvents, kitchen and bathroom cleaners, orange oil, or solvents.

Automatic Car Washes

While hand washing is preferred it is not always a practical option, for this reason, avoid using automated carwashes that use brushes that can scratch or lift the vinyl. Therefore brushless carwashes are your best option. Use rather than using the blower.

Pressure Washing

If you want to pressure wash your vehicle wrap, keep it below 2,000 psi. Use a spray nozzle with a 40-degree wide angle spray pattern and keep water temperature below 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  Keep the spray nozzle at least 12 inches away from the car edges thereby avoiding lifting the vinyl.

Fuel Spills

Immediately wipe off fuel spill, then hand wash the affected area. Letting the spill stay the wrap too long will degrade the vinyl.  A quick wipe with a wet paper towel at a gas station will clean the fuel affected area then you can do a more thorough job as soon as you get home.

Park in a Garage

Sun, rain, and UV rays can degrade the wrap on horizontal surfaces such as the roof, hood, and trunk lid.  Try to park in a garage, canopy, or shelter, if you must park outdoors look for a shady parking area. Wax can provide a modicum of protection from these elements. Here are some recommended products for cleaning your printed wrap:

  • Turtle Wax Ice
  • Aquanil Waterless Wash (Croftgate USA)
  • Croftgate USA Wrap Care After Care JP

With this in mind, Tier 1 Graphics carries a full line of products for cleaning printed vehicle wraps.

Extend The Life of Your Wrap

By performing these small maintenances regularly, your wrap can remain vibrant for several years to come.