Vinyl Wrap Care Tips
Waterless Wash – if the vehicle is not overly dirty, this is the preferred method. Waterless wash products can help maintain the gloss level and performance of the film. Before using any new product on your wrap, be sure to test them in an inconspicuous area of the vehicle.
Hand wash is for a vehicle with dirt or other residue. Follow the below steps:
1) Pre-rinse: Check if loose dirt particles cover the decal, graphic or wrap: in such circumstances flush with ample
water to remove (loose particles may scratch the surface at using brush or sponge). Using a hose, rinse the whole wrap with clean water. This helps remove the loose dirt particles and helps avoid scratching the graphics.
2) Wash: Gently wash the vehicle with a mild soapy water solution using a soft cloth or a synthetic or natural sponge. Start from the top of the vehicle and work down. Avoid abrading the surface with unnecessary scrubbing.
3) Rinse: Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
4) Dry: Let the wrap dry naturally. To avoid water spotting, use a silicone squeegee to remove water then finish drying with a micro-fiber or soft, nonabrasive towel.
Store Indoors or Under Cover Whenever Possible. Vinyl graphics (just like paint) are degraded by prolonged exposure to sun and atmospheric pollutants, particularly on horizontal surfaces such as hoods, trunk lids 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).
If your graphics start to discolor or turn brown, immediately remove the graphics from the vehicle to avoid staining the underlying paint.
Use a mild car cleaning detergent and water mix that does not contain any strong soluble substances, alcohol or abrasive components. The detergent should have a pH balance between 5 and 9. Dawn dish soap or baby shampoo works well.
Power washing, or pressure washing, may be used. However, aggressive washing can damage the graphic. Excessive pressure during power washing can damage the graphic by forcing water underneath the graphic. Water lessens the adhesion of the graphic to the substrate allowing the graphic to lift or curl. These problems are magnified by wind.
Avoid pressure washing perforated window graphic films.
To avoid edge lifting or other damage to the graphics, follow these important steps:
• Use a spray nozzle with a minimum 40 degree wide spray pattern.
• Be sure the spray nozzle includes a nozzle protector (tip guard).
• Use a maximum pressure of 1200 psi (80 bar).
• If the system is heated, limit the water temperature to 140°F (60°C) or less.
• Hold nozzle at least 12 inches (300 mm) away from and perpendicular (90 degrees +/- 10) to the graphic or a minimum of 39 inches (1000 mm) away from the graphic at a 30º angle, or higher.
• Do not direct the water stream between 0°-60° to the edge of the graphic.
Loose graphics could tear away from a moving vehicle or from a building and cause an obstruction to motorists and pedestrians. After washing, check all the graphics carefully for edge lifting and repair, remove or replace damaged graphics.
– Sharply angled power cleaner jets of water may damage the edges of the graphics or vehicle wraps and cause delamination.
– High-pressure steam cleaning should not be used as extreme heat can interfere with the adhesion of the film to the substrate.
The vehicle should not be cleaned within the first 48 hours of the wrap is applied. After this 2-day period, it is recommended to wash your vehicle every 2 weeks or when it gets muddy or has fuel spills or road grime.
Yes, as long as the wax does not contain petroleum distillates, which is found in many paste waxes. Products that are a combination of a waterless wash and wax are great options as long as the vehicle doesn’t have a matte finish and isn’t excessively dirty. Test the wax on an inconspicuous part of the vehicle first.
Spot clean contaminants, such as bird droppings, bug splatter, tree sap, and similar contaminants as soon as possible to avoid film damage. Start by soaking for several minutes with hot, soapy water. Then rinse thoroughly. You can spot clean with isopropyl alcohol and a clean, non-abrasive rag. If a harsher chemical is needed, be sure to test first in an inconspicuous area.
Use a waterless wash that is recommended for matte finishes. Waterless wash products containing wax can fill in the texture and cause shiny spots.
A lighter matte finish will be prone to showing more dirt than other finishes. Use a 50/50 mix of isopropyl alcohol and water to spot clean matte finish films. If the alcohol and water mix does not remove dirt, you can try using a hot soapy water solution. You can also try an all-purpose cleaner purchased at your local hardware store.
Special care must be taken to avoid abrading or scratching the film. Scratching and abrasion marks may be visible and you may not be able to work them out of the unique finish of the film. To help avoid such damage, avoid using harsh chemicals, brushes or hard scrubbing when cleaning your vehicle, and avoid parking near shrubs and trees or any other items that could scratch the film.
Rinse thoroughly after cleaning and dry with a clean, soft cloth or soft squeegee to avoid water spots.
Do not apply waxes, polishes, paint or clear coat over these films.
If there is wax and wax residue on the film, remove it with an all-purpose cleaner. To help restore the finish of the film, and clean it with isopropyl alcohol and water (2:1 ratio).
An automatic car wash that uses brushes is not recommended. Brushes may scratch the wrap or catch the wrap’s edge and create a failure point. Use of solvents and/or abrasive cleaning agents may damage the decal, graphic or wrap and should therefore be avoided.
3M: Vinyl wraps may be run through car washes. Touchless car washes are the best for graphic care. Use of brush car washes (depending upon the
frequency and quality of brush) may cause dulling/scratching/lifting edge of the graphics
Note: Chemicals in the car wash can bake in the sun and damage the wrap permanently.