Unless you don’t care about your wrap, you would want to always keep it clean and looking good. It is truly important to wash your wrapped car regularly, this will not only help it look good but also prolong the wrap’s life.
If you are always driving around some places where there’s high elevation, or in congested urban, or industrial areas, you need to pay even more attention to this! As UV damage and smog or pollutants increase in these areas, durability of the film would be shorten if the wrap is not well taken care.
So how can we wash a wrapped car properly? There are several ways for sure. But before you try any of them, you have to make sure you have skipped these:
Automated brush wash
Automatic wash is not the best way for wrapped car cleaning, but it can be acceptable when there is no other way. However, automated brush wash will be doom to be a disaster, as the brush might catch the edge of the film, leaving some damaging marks, or causing scratches, lifting or dulling on the surface.
Wax and polish
It is safe to skip the wax and polish option at the car wash, as most waxes contain petroleum distillate, which will damage the film. Although it is OK for some films, so far as you make sure that the wax does not contain such ingredient.
But for matte film, that will be absolutely a NO, because the wax will result in filling in the texture, and shiny spots will appear here and there on your car wrap.
So what different ways can we approach to wash a wrapped car then?
The old fashion way is always the best way in this case:
Pre-rinse your vehicle before you do anything. This is to avoid scratches on the surface.
Use a sponge to wash with mild soapy water solution. It is recommended to do it from the top of your vehicle to the bottom.
Do not scrub if not necessary, or abrasion will occur.
When the washing is done, rinse the wrap thoroughly with clean water.
Let the film dry naturally (If you can’t wait, then grab a silicone squeegee to remove water in order to avoid spotting, then use a Chamois, micro-fiber towel or soft non-abrasive towel to finish drying.
Some tips for you:
Be careful when cleaning the edge to avoid lifting.
Do not use any detergent with abrasive components, strong solvents or alcohols.
Always test the detergent before using (in an inconspicuous spot of the wrap).
When your car is not too dirty, waterless is a great choice for you. Those related products will keep the gloss level and performance of your wrap well. But make sure you test them before you widely use any of those on your car.
Because it will be a disaster if the product you use turn out to be containing wax, as glossy spots will then appear on your film everywhere.
Automatic Car Wash
We have mentioned a little bit about it above: no brushes and no wax (which contains petroleum distillates). But with just spray is acceptable, although we have told you, automatic car wash is not the best choice when you get to do hand wash.
Likewise, let it dry naturally when the washing is done. Or dab it dry with a micro-fiber towel.
This should be the last method you can come up with, when no other ways can work. Using pressure washer might result in negative effects occurring on your wrap, including edge-lifting and face degradation.
You have to be extremely careful and following these guidelines even if you still decide to use this method:
- Water pressure must be below 1200 psi (8- bars or 84 kg/cm2)
- Water temperature below 180˚F (80˚C)
- Nozzle has to be at least 12 inches away from the edges