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How to Clean a Car with a Vinyl Wrap

How to Clean a Car with a Vinyl Wrap

Vinyl wraps are an excellent investment that essentially turn your vehicle into ‘mobile billboards’, but they won’t be advertising much if your vehicle looks messy or the message is obscured. It’s important to keep your vehicle and the vinyl wrap clean in order to get the most effect, so here’s how to do it.

Routine Car Cleaning

Every fortnight, give your car a good, thorough cleaning. Start off with a simple hosing off to remove dirt and soil buildups, then follow up with a sponge and some gentle non-abrasive detergent. Avoid harsh chemical products as these can wear away the over-laminate of the vinyl wrap. Rinse and follow up with a chamois or microfibre cloth, gently drying off areas around the vinyl (for partial wraps and spot graphics) to avoid peeling.

Handheld pressure washers can also work, but to be safe, refrain from standing too close and keep the nozzle at least 1 metre away. Use low-pressure settings if possible. Do not use high-powered pressure washers on vinyl wraps, as this can damage the vinyl or at the very least, wear it out faster.

Which Products Are Safe to Use?

Generally, it’s best to avoid cleaning products packed with harsh chemicals. They’re often branded and marketed well, giving the impression that they guarantee a sparkly clean finish. However, the price paid often comes in eating away at the over-laminate on vinyl wraps, which can wear them out far faster than you’d want.

Instead, use non-abrasive cleaning products. Organic enzymatic cleaners are also often quite gentle, plus they’ll have the added bonus of not polluting the water stream when rinsed off the vehicle and into the gutters.

For tough, sticky messes such as bird droppings or tree sap, soft cleaners often won’t work too well. Use a citrus-based cleaner or solvent to eat away at the tough spot, leave it to soak, then come back later and clean it off with a gentle wipe and some non-abrasive cleaner.

Protect Your Vehicle

When not in use, consider storing your vehicle in an enclosed garage overnight. Firstly, this keeps your vehicle more secure from theft and burglary; secondly, the cover of a garage will better preserve the condition of the vinyl wrap and reduce wear and tear.

Just like your vehicle’s natural paint colour, constant exposure to the sun, atmospheric pollutants, and moisture will gradually wear away at the vinyl wrap. The results can show themselves through colour fading, cracking, peeling, or lifting from the edges. If you notice these symptoms, it may be possible to remediate the damage without having to redo the entire car’s vinyl wrap.

For minor damage, liquid wax polish may restore some of the former lustre of the vinyl wrap. Vinyl wrap products from well-known brands such as Dennison and 3M can be used to repair or mitigate damage, but if the damage is too severe, you may need to have the vinyl wrap replaced.

Go Graphics

Whether you need to have your vehicle wrap repaired or replaced, or you want to get started with a stunning design for a new vinyl wrap, look no further than Go Graphics here in Perth.

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