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Your vehicle’s wrap is an investment, and you want to make sure it keeps looking great for as long as possible. We’ve put together some tips on how to wash a wrapped car so you can keep your vehicle looking perfect.
The most important thing to remember is that you should only use soap and water when cleaning your wrapped vehicle. If you use harsh chemicals or power washers, they may damage the vinyl wrap, making it less effective at protecting your paint job.
In addition to using only soap and water, here are some other helpful tips:
Never use an automatic car wash – The strong brushes and chemicals used in automatic car washes will damage your vinyl wrap. Never take a wrapped vehicle through an automatic car wash.
Start at the top – When washing your car by hand, start at the top and work your way down. This prevents dirt that has been loosened by soapy water from running onto parts of your vehicle that have already been cleaned.
Use a clean sponge or rag – A dirty sponge or rag could scratch the vinyl wrap when it comes in contact with dirt or debris on the surface of the vehicle. Do not use dirty sponges. Use only clean sponges.
The first thing you should know is that the best way to wash a wrapped car is by hand with a bucket, sponge, and cloth. You can wash the car using an automatic machine, but only if you’re careful enough not to damage the paint of your wrapped car.
The first step is preparing the wash water in a bucket. Be careful that the water should not be too cold or too hot, it should be somewhere in between because hot or cold water can damage the paint of your wrapped car. Fill up your bucket with warm water and use a gentle soap.
To be honest, a shaded area with a clean concrete surface is the safest place to wash your car. Avoid washing your car in direct sunlight, as it will dry out the soapy water too quickly and can leave ugly spots on your newly cleaned paint. Also, if you have to use a hose, make sure you are in an area where your car can drain properly, as standing water can damage the paint and leave stains on the surface of your car.
If you are going to use a pressure washer, make sure the pressure is set to low. Otherwise, you might risk damaging the vinyl wrap on your car. Avoid using pressure washers as much as possible. A water hose works just fine and will be easier on your wrap and less likely to cause bubbles or other issues.
Without any doubt, this is where less really is more: using a soft sponge or cloth to wash your Wrapped Car with gentle touches will help prevent any damage from happening due to rubbing too hard against your vehicle.
If you are washing by hand, grab a good-quality microfiber or lambswool mitt and get it wet before dipping it in the soapy bucket. You want to make sure the entire mitt is wet before dipping it into the soapy water, as this will help prevent any scratches from occurring when cleaning.
Once you get some soap on the mitt, gently apply it to the entire roof of your vehicle and scrub it down using gentle circular motions. Don’t forget about the edges where they meet up with the windows or doors and make sure to clean those areas well also!
Take your sponge and soak it inside this warm water mixed with gentle soap. Then squeeze it a little bit and start cleaning your vehicle from top to bottom, one section at a time so that you don’t miss any important part of the car while cleaning it.
Use circular motions while cleaning your vehicle and make sure you don’t apply any pressure on the sponge because it will damage the paint of your wrapped car if it becomes hard on your vehicle’s surface.
Instead, just apply light pressure on the sponge and clean gently one section after another without wasting much time on each part because it will dry up soon and then you have to clean that part again with more effort.
After thoroughly cleaning all sections of your vehicle from top to bottom, get another bucket filled with fresh clean water and rinse off all the dirt from every section carefully by using a clean mitt or sponge. Make sure to rinse each section before you move on to the next as this will prevent any dirt particles that may have fallen onto a freshly washed section from reattaching to your car's paintwork. When rinsing makes sure you keep the hose nozzle or soft stream open so you don't scratch your car's finish.
When you wash your wrapped car by hand rather than using a self-service car wash, you get to control when it dries and how long it has to dry. You’ll prevent streaks from forming by being able to give it plenty of time to dry rather than having to drive it home while still wet. If you do wind up with a streak, however, simply grab a microfiber towel and wipe it up.
Pets, food, drinks, and other substances can cause damage if they’re left on a vinyl wrap for an extended period of time. It is best to rinse the outside of your wrapped vehicle at least once a week, but be sure not to use high pressure or harsh cleaners.
A bucket of water and mild soap will get the job done perfectly. When washing your vehicle by hand, make sure that you don’t use any brushes or mops that have been used before on other vehicles as this can grind dirt into your paint finish which may cause scratches or damage.
One final tip: If you live in a desert area or somewhere else with really dry air, the vinyl on your car may end up with water spots. To avoid this, rinse your wrap first with distilled water before soaping it up and rinsing again with regular water. Distilled water contains fewer minerals than tap or well water does, so there will be less of a chance for mineral deposits to form as the water evaporates.
Cleaning Solutions Approved for Car Wraps are the best solutions for the washing purpose of wrapped cars. Car washing soaps are usually too harsh for vinyl wraps, and using them could cause damage to your wrap. If you want your wrap to last for several years, it's important that you only use cleaning solutions approved for car wraps. While there are some special solutions out there made just for this purpose, you may find that you already have everything you need in your kitchen.
A mild dish soap mixed with water will do wonders for your wrapped car's exterior it's gentle enough for vinyl and powerful enough to remove dirt and grime. If for whatever reason, using dish soap isn't an option, you can also try a solution of one part alcohol (isopropyl or denatured alcohol) and one part water. Just avoid using any abrasive cleaners or solvents on your vinyl vehicle wrap as these could cause damage to the protective coating.
All in all, the process is not too hard to wash a wrapped car. The key to washing any vehicle, painted or wrapped, is to use soft, microfiber towels. Never use any type of towel that has abrasive fibers such as cotton, terrycloth, or even 100% polyester. Be sure to keep the towels in a bucket of water at all times so they are not dry. Use one towel for the trim and another for the glass. Never dry your hands with a towel that you have used on a vehicle to dry off excess water. Instead, keep some water in one hand and manually dry the paint with your other hand by gently wiping it up and down.
Drying should never be done by rubbing. When drying the middle of the car, use little back and forth swipes like waxing instead of spreading out your hand and rubbing it back and forth. Also never wash your vehicle in direct sunlight because it will dry too fast and water spots will appear on the surface before they can be rinsed completely away.