Keep your wrap looking its best with these tips on wrap care

One of the most frequently asked questions received once a wrap has been installed is about Wrap Care. Vehicle wraps aren’t meant to be installed and forgotten. Like the rest of your vehicle, your vehicle wrap requires regular cleaning and maintenance. For longer-lasting, vibrant color, wash your wrap on a regular basis and keep your vehicle away from possible pollutants.

Wash regularly for optimum wrap care

  • Wash whenever the car appears dirty. Contaminants allowed to remain on the graphic may be harder to remove during cleaning.
  • Rinse off as much dirt and grit as possible with a spray of water.
  • Use a wet, non-abrasive detergent such as 3M Car Wash Soap 39000 or Meguiar’s NXT Generation© Car Wash or Deep Crystal© Car Wash and a soft, clean cloth or sponge.
  • Rinse thoroughly with water. To reduce water spotting, immediately use a silicone squeegee to remove water and finish with a clean microfiber cloth.

It is not recommended using wax or other similar coatings on vehicle graphics.

Automated Car Washes

You can bring your wrapped vehicle to an automatic brushless car wash, though hand washing is safer and more thorough. Brush car washes may be too rough on the film, degrading it and causing peeling and lifted edges. If a car wash uses a water spray and no brushes, it should be safe for most wraps.

Pressure Washing

Although hand washing is the preferred cleaning method, pressure washing can is effective under these conditions.

  • Ensure the water pressure is below 2000 psi.
  • Keep water temperature below 180 °F.
  • Use a spray nozzle with a 40-degree wide angle spray pattern.
  • Keep the nozzle at least 1 foot away from and perpendicular (at 90 degrees) to the graphic.

Holding the nozzle of a pressure washer at an angle to graphic may lift the edges of the film.

Spot Cleaning

Use Simple Green or isopropyl rubbing alcohol to spot clean isolated stains. Rinse area with cool water after cleaning. Don’t use tire dressing to spot clean as it may splash on the wrap and cause stains. Avoid wiping the wrap when it’s hot; this can distort the material and cause wrinkling.

Bird Droppings, Insects, Tree Sap & Other Difficult Stains

Soften difficult contaminants such as bug splatter, bird droppings, tree sap and similar contaminants by soaking them for several minutes with very hot, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and dry. If further cleaning is needed, test one of these Vehicle Wrap Care products in an inconspicuous area to ensure no damage to the graphics: Meguiar’s Gold Class Bug and Tar Remover or 3M Citrus Base Cleaner. Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) (two parts IPA to 1 part water) or denatured alcohol may also help. Spot clean the contaminants. Do not use a rough scrubbing or abrasive tools, which will scratch the film. Wash and rinse off all residue immediately. Always test these vehicle wrap care solutions on a small area that’s not easily noticeable to ensure the cleaner will not harm the wrap.  Do not use solvents or oil based cleaning products!

Fuel Spills

Wipe off fuel spills immediately, then hand- wash the affected area. Letting the spill stay the wrap will degrade the vinyl.  A quick wipe with a wet paper towel at a gas station will clean the fuel affected area decently enough until you can get home to do the job more thoroughly.

Keep it looking its best

The following restoration recommendations will help keep your vehicle wraps looking their best.

  • Do no use any abrasive polishes or cutting compounds.
  • Do not use any polishing or wax products on matte or textured films.
  • Use if there is wax or wax residue on the surface, remove with an all-purpose cleaner.
  • Table A shows some available products to help restore your vehicle wrap. Before using, always test and approve in an inconspicuous area.


Film or Finish Type Product or Solution
Smooth Gloss Texture 3M Perfect-It Show Car Paste Wax 39526
Matte or Satin Texture Isopropyl alcohol and water (2:1 ratio)
Matte White or
Carbon Fiber White
Based in type/degree of contamination, use one of more of these solutions, in the order shown, to remove any build-up:

  1. Hot, soapy water solution
  2. Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and water (ratio 2:1)
  3. Simple Green® All-Purpose Cleaner
  4. Household chlorine bleach; followed by IPA/water (#2)
  5. Mineral spirits; followed by IPA/water (#2)
Carbon Fiber or
Brushed Metal Texture
3M Tire Restorer or Meguiar’s Natural Shine Protectant
Carbon Fiber Black Meguiar’s Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer

Do not allow the cleaning solution to soak and immediately rinse with clear water.

Store Indoors or Under Cover Whenever Possible

Vinyl graphics (just like paint) are degraded by prolonged exposure to the sun and atmospheric pollutants, particularly on the horizontal surfaces such as the hood, trunk lid, and roof. Whenever possible, store in a garage or at least in a shaded area during the day. At night protect the car from dew or rain, which may contain acidic pollutants (a common problem in many large metropolitan areas). When a garage is not available, consider using a cloth car cover at night. Graphics that discolor or turn brown should be immediately removed from the vehicle to avoid staining the underlying paint.

Never, EVER use

Any of the following cleaning products on your wrap:

  • Solvents
  • Oil based cleaners
  • Kitchen & Bathroom Cleaners
  • Oven cleaner
  • Orange Oil
  • Engine Degreaser