Get More for Your Money: Top-6 Vinyl Wrap Maintenance Tips

Get More for Your Money: Top-6 Vinyl Wrap Maintenance Tips

Today’s post shares 6 maintenance tips to increase the lifespan of your custom vinyl vehicle wrap, courtesy of the Signworld business alliance.

Hand wash your wraps like a pro

 Hand washing is the safest option for your vehicle wrap maintenance. We recommend the following process:

Wash whenever your car appears dirty. The longer you leave contaminants on your vehicle wrap, the harder they’ll be to clean.

Rinse off as much dirt and grime as you can with a spray of water. Be sure not to hold the jet at an angle to your graphic, as it may cause lifting.

Use a wet, non-abrasive detergent and soft, clean cloth or sponge to wash your wrap.

Use gentle, circular motions. Avoid abrasive scrubbing action at all costs.

Rinse thoroughly with clean water, then wipe with a silicone squeegee and finish with a clean microfiber cloth to avoid water spotting.

Avoid abrasive automated car washes

 Contrary to popular belief, vinyl wraps may be run through automated car washes. However, it’s critical that you select the right kind to avoid damage to your graphics.

Touchless car washes are acceptable. But avoid brush car washes at all costs–most can cause dulling, scratching, or lifting that may be costly to repair or replace.

Pressure wash with caution

 Again, hand washing is the preferred cleaning method, but pressure washers may be used as long as you take the right precautions.

  • Keep the water pressure under control.

    Anything over 2000psi (or 14 MPa) could potentially damage your vehicle wrap.

  • Keep the water temperature low.

    Anything over 180°F or 80°C is too hot and may affect the adhesive.

  • Use the right spray nozzle.

    Certain precision-jet nozzles may strip away or even cut through your vinyl wrap. Choose one that has a broader angle spray pattern–at least 40 degrees wide.

  • Practice safe nozzle technique.

    Keep the pressure washer nozzle at least 1 foot away from the vinyl wrap as you work and make sure you hold it perpendicular to the graphic (minimum 90 degrees). Holding the nozzle at an angle to the graphic may lift the edges of the film.

Dealing with difficult contaminants

 Not all stains are created equal. Bug splatter, bird droppings, tree sap, and similar contaminants often require extra effort. But that doesn’t mean scrubbing harder or choosing an abrasive brush–these will only damage the wrap.

Instead, soften difficult contaminants by soaking them with hot, soapy water for several minutes. More often than not, this will be enough to break down even the most stubborn of stains. Rinse the area thoroughly and dry.

If further cleaning is needed, consider applying a bug and tar cleaner or isopropyl alcohol mixture to the problem areas. But before you do, make sure you spot test the product in an inconspicuous area or consult with a member of the Signworld business alliance.

Treat fuel spills ASAP

 If you notice any fuel spills on your vehicle wrap, you need to act fast! Wipe the area clean immediately to avoid further degradation of the vinyl and adhesive. Then wash, rinse, and dry as usual.

Store your vehicle wrap wisely

 Prolonged exposure to the sun, wind, and rain can degrade your vinyl graphics over time. This is especially true for your vehicle’s horizontal surfaces–hood, trunk, and roof–which get blasted most often with UV rays and atmospheric contaminants.

To avoid the damage of prolonged exposure, try to store your wrapped vehicle in a garage. If a garage is not available, do your best to find a shaded area–if you can’t stop the rain, you can at least minimize sun exposure. At night, look to protect your vehicle from dew and rain, which may contain harmful acidic pollutants. If indoor storage isn’t available, consider using a cloth car cover at night.

Learn more about vinyl vehicle wrap design and maintenance

 Visit to contact a Signworld partner near you.


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