Keeping your vehicle graphics looking its best does not need to be difficult. There are a number of ways to wash your vehicle. But, are all of them good for your wraps? Vinyl wraps aren’t only meant to be installed and forgotten. Wrap care plays an important role in keeping your graphics flawless. It requires regular cleaning and maintenance. Washing your car on a regular basis and keeping it away from possible pollutants results to longer-lasting and vibrant colors.
There are three ways to wash your car – regular washing, automated car washes and pressure washing.
On washing regularly with soap and water
The easiest and safest way to wash your car is by cleansing it with mild soap and water regularly, or when the car appears dirty. Allowing pollutants to remain on the graphics for longer periods of time makes it harder to remove during cleaning. Here’s how to do it:
- Rinse off as much dirt as possible with a spray of water.
- Use a wet, non-abrasive detergent to clean your car.
- Rinse thoroughly with water.
- Use a silicone squeegee to reduce water spotting.
- Wipe with a clean microfiber cloth.
On automated car washes
Although car washing is safer and more thorough, you can bring your vehicle to an automated car wash if you don’t have the time or energy to wash it yourself. However, take note that brush car washes may be too rough on the film. They may degrade it and cause peeling. They may also lift the edges. That’s why it is recommended to visit a car wash station that sprays water but does not use brushes.
On pressure washing
Clearly handwashing is the preferred method of cleaning because it is safer for your car graphics. However, pressure washing can be as effective when done under the following conditions:
- Water pressure is below 2000 psi.
- Water temperature is below 180 °F.
- The spray nozzle has a 40-degree wide angle spray pattern.
- The nozzle is at least 1 foot away from and perpendicular to the graphic.
These three methods of washing your car can be safe and effective as long as you follow the above guidelines. But, the safest of them all is handwashing. You can never go wrong with just a mild detergent and water.
What if you just washed your vehicle and a little bird droppings or fuel spills stained it? You can do spot cleaning with isopropyl alcohol. Then, rinse the area with cool water. Avoid using tire dressing to spot clean as it may splash on the graphics and cause stains. Also, refrain from wiping the wrap when it is hot. This can distort the vinyl and cause wrinkling.
To keep your car looking its best, wash it regularly. Do not use any abrasive polishes or cutting compounds. Avoid using wax products or matte films. If there are wax residues on the surface, remove them with an all-purpose cleaner. Whatever cleaning solution you are using, do not allow it to soak. Immediately rinse it with water.