posted by vinyl frog on August 28, 2022
How Long to Wait to Wash Your Vinyl Wrapped Car
Our automotive cars are an extension of our personality. The quality way to allow personal expression to shine is to outfit your car with a custom vinyl car wrap.
While custom automobile wraps are easy to care for, improper practice in this regard can damage the vinyl.
A properly maintained car wrap can last up to 5 years. It even helps guard your car against surface scratches, stone chip, UV exposure, hard water deposits, debris, tree sap, bird droppings, oxidation, and other harmful elements.
Vinyl wrapping is the most popular mode of autostyling for car enthusiasts. The vinyl films offer a clean strategy for upgrading an automobile instead of the bulky task of repainting a vehicle. Wrapping a car is far much less time-consuming and difficult.
It also offers a superb look and a world of choice with myriad of colors, textures and finishes available. Vinyl wrapping is not only for private car owners. It is a lucrative strategy often utilized by corporations to place advertising and marketing on automobiles, as it’s clean to place on and dispose of in case there is a need to change. Moreover, it is far more cost-effective than other forms of advertising.
While a vinyl wrap appears cutting-edge, taking care of it in order to maintain the great look is very important. The following are the steps for a smooth after-care process ensuring longevity of the vinyl wrap.
How long to wait before washing your newly vinyl wrapped vehicle?
You have just installed a new, glossy vinyl wrap, and everyone is all praises for the revamped look. All you can think about is how to retain this initial glory. When can you wash your car?
Fresh out of an auto body shop, the vinyl might still be in the healing process. Do not wash it for at least 72 hours and at the most five days.
Let it fully adhere to the vehicle after the installation. The moisture between the film and the vehicle surface needs to dry completely and the edges, that are most likely to come off while washing, have to stick to the paint perfectly. This is the curing period for the vinyl film when you have to show patience. Even if you see some bubbles or haze, do not fret. The film will eventually settle down after a period of time.
The weather of the area and the temperature also play an important role in gauging how long the film will take to cure and adhere completely. If you live in an area where the temperature is below 20 degrees Celsius, you might have to wait for 1-2 weeks before washing the vehicle. Or if you have had a wrap installed in winter, you will have to wait at least a couple of weeks. The vinyl film heals faster in places which have warm weather.
How often should you wash your wrapped vehicle?
The frequency of washing a vinyl wrapped vehicle depends upon how dirty it gets. Washing your car once every 2-3 weeks is ideal.
That does not mean it should gather dirt and grime. You can clean it every day with a soft, microfiber cloth to remove dirt and if you see bird droppings, bug splatter, tree sap, and street tar, spot clean them with warm, soapy water or isopropyl alcohol. Immediately clean fuel spilled on the vinyl as well.
Keep a small spray bottle of a 50/50 mix of water and isopropyl alcohol in your vehicle along with a clean, soft microfiber cloth. Whenever you see something that should be immediately cleaned, use the spray there and then. All these contaminants can be highly detrimental for the wrap and this solution can take out the sturdiest of stains.
How to wash a vinyl wrapped vehicle?
It is time to finally wash the wrapped vehicle. So how should you go about it? The best option is to hand wash your vehicle. Here are the steps to follow:
- Before washing with water, clean the vehicle with a microfiber cloth. Make sure there is no dust or contaminants on the vinyl. This will greatly reduce the risk of the wrap getting scratch marks.
- Use the two bucket method to wash the wrap. One bucket for washing with car wash shampoo specially recommended for a wrap and water, and the other for rinsing with plain water.
- A third bucket can be used for washing the wheels.
- Dry the wrap with a smooth, soft microfiber cloth.
The don’ts while washing the wrapped vehicle
The following are the few points that you have to take care of while washing your wrapped vehicle. They are a definite NO!
- Do not use tough scrubbing motion or abrasive gear, as this may damage the film.
- Do not leave product residue behind. When you have cleaned all contaminants, be sure to wash, rinse off and dry properly.
- Do not use abrasive detergent to wash the car. Use products that are safe for washing a vinyl wrap. Only pH neutral products can be used.
- Do not let the vehicle dry naturally after washing as this may leave water spots. Dry it with an easy microfiber cloth.
- Do not use any polish or cutting compound.
- Do not wax your vehicle without professional advice.
- Do not use oil-based products as they will negatively affect the wrap.
- Do not go to brush car washes as this may harm your vinyl wrap or automobile graphic, along with dulling, scratching, and lifting the rims of the film.
Test new cleaners and stain removers on small, out-of-sight areas of the vehicle before using them on the full wrap. If the wrap reacts poorly to a cleaner, you may get another one without causing additional damage to your wrap.
Important Tips for washing Vinyl
The vinyl wrap on your bumper will last longer than expected if taken care of properly. There are a few precautions you must take to increase the longevity of your vinyl.
- Wash when needed:
Wash your wrapped automobile as soon as it seems dirty and you feel the time is right. If you allow your wrapped vehicle to sit in grime for a while, it'll get harder to remove. Things like road tar, chook droppings, bugs, and sap could be very hard to cast off the longer they take a seat on your wrapped automobile. Since dust is hard to cast off after an extended period, your wrap will appear funny and grimy in place of brilliant, new, and high-priced.
- Avoid harsh cleaners:
Avoid the usage of harsh cleaners like traditional car wash soaps. Using those harsh soaps will result in a dwindled or bleached vinyl wrap. Instead of harsh cleaners, choose a cleaning soap that is particularly for wrapped automobiles. These soaps help keep the vibrancy, texture, and layout of the wrap. They will deliver your car super clean while retaining the look of the wrap. Another option is to use waterless wrap wash liquid. This choice takes away the capacity of leaving watermarks on the wrap. It breaks down dust on the automobile’s surface, and all you need to do is lightly wipe it off. It additionally leaves a vivid shield on the automobile.
- Avoid automatic car washes:
Automatic automobile washes are noticeably convenient options but if you own a wrapped vehicle, you should never use an automated car wash. Washing your custom-wrapped vehicle by hand every time is safe and feasible.
- Temperature and pressure matters:
Be sure to usually use lukewarm water. Do not use hot water while washing your wrap. Keep all nozzles and stress washers at least 12 inches far from your vehicle to avoid developing indentations. An even more secure way to wash is to manually pour water on your car. Though pressure washers aren’t the best choice to use when washing a wrap, you can opt for them only in certain situations:
- Water pressure is saved low, beneath 2000 psi.
-The water temperature is below 180°F.
-The nozzle is kept 12 inches away from the wrap.
-Keep the nozzle perpendicular to the wrap.
- Store your car properly:
Whenever possible, keep your wrapped car in a shaded area, indoors, or under a cover. If you don’t have the facility, use a vehicle cover to protect your automobile from pollutants. Wash your wrapped vehicle in the shade as well. Sunlight and heat can harm the vinyl.
Frequently Asked Questions
Getting your vehicle wrapped in vinyl is an excellent decision. Once you go ahead with it, keeping the wrap clean is highly imperative otherwise it will not be as long lasting as you want it to be. The more you take care of it, the more durability it will show. However, there are certain conditions that have to be met. Wait for the wrap to cure before giving it the first wash - the longer, the better.
Once it is cured, hand wash it using the right products. If you will do as instructed above, you will continue to appreciate the excellent wrap job for years to come.