Vinyl wrap protects the paint on your SUV, truck, car or company vehicle. Fleet graphics are an investment that markets your brand and makes your vehicles more eye-catching. Many business owners decide to do this to their vehicles, but they then often ask how to clean a wrapped vehicle.

How To Clean Vinyl Wrap Vehicles

Ensuring you clean the vinyl wrap can help you maintain your company vehicles, which is especially important if you use them for branding. Learning how to clean vinyl wrap extends their usable life and keeps them primed for everyday use. In addition, cleaning also prevents the colors from fading.

As you learn how to clean a wrapped vehicle, you’ll find that it involves several steps, such as pre-rinsing, selecting the proper cleaning solution, washing, rinsing and drying.

How Do You Wash a Wrapped Vehicle Properly

You should wash and clean vinyl wrap carefully using non-abrasive tools and cleaning supplies. Using too much water pressure or the wrong chemicals can damage the vinyl wrap. So, how do you wash a wrapped vehicle? Use the following steps:

  1. Park Your Vehicle Away From Direct Sunlight

Prolonged heat exposure and direct sunlight can make vinyl malleable and prone to peeling. The UV rays from the sun can also cause the color to fade while washing the vinyl surface. Because of this, choose a parking area with proper shade. If the vehicle’s exterior is too hot, allow it to cool before you begin washing. The heat can cause vaporization, which can cause wrinkles, dents and other marks on the wrapped surface.

  1. Look for Stubborn Dirt and Other Contaminants

Inspect your vehicle wrap for hard-to-remove dirt, such as bird droppings and tree sap. Spray or soak these contaminants with soapy water for a few minutes to soften them, so it is easier to wash them off later.

  1. Pre-Rinse

You should pre-rinse before you clean your vehicle wrap. Pre-washing helps eliminate deep-seated dirt, bug splatter, grime and other sticky substances. It also prevents the formation of unsightly swirls after washing a vehicle’s surface.

During this step, use a low-pressure nozzle and keep your water temperature below 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, hose down the vehicle so you remove as much grit and dirt that can scratch the vinyl’s surface. If you’re using a pressure washer, ensure you hold it at least a foot away from the vehicle. Also, make sure to spray perpendicularly, avoiding angles or else you can cause the wrap to peel.

  1. Prepare the Cleaning Solution

Use mild car wash soap or a similar cleaning solution. Follow the instructions on the label carefully. You will have to dilute the solution in warm or cold water in most instances before using it to clean your vehicle.

The following cleansers aren’t recommended for wrapped vehicles:

  • Engine degreaser
  • Orange oil
  • Oven cleaners
  • Bathroom and kitchen cleaners
  • Oil-based cleansers
  • Solvents
  1. Wash and Rinse Your Wrapped Vehicle

Next, handwash your vehicle. This method is the safest way to clean a wrapped vehicle without damaging the vinyl. Learning how to clean a wrapped vehicle correctly, extends its usable life. Use a soft sponge or non-abrasive washcloth when applying the cleaning solution and rub gently. Use grit guards in your water buckets to remove the grit and sand from your cleaning tools while washing. This prevents scratching when you rub the cloth or sponge against the vinyl surface.

Wash one section of the vehicle at a time to ensure proper coverage and thorough cleaning. After scrubbing, rinse the area you’re working on and then dry off the surface using a squeegee. This final step removes excess water and prevents it from seeping under the vinyl.

  1. Air Dry

You can air-dry your vehicle or wipe it dry using a microfiber towel.

How Often Should You Clean Wrapped Vehicles?

The frequency of the cleaning sessions will vary, but a good rule of thumb is to wash your wrapped vehicle as soon as the fleet graphics appear dirty. Doing this prevents contaminants from sitting too long, which can harden them, making them more difficult to remove. However, if you want to create a washing schedule for all your company vehicles, it is best to clean them once every two weeks.

Watch out for sticky substances such as fuel spills, oil, tree sap, bug splatter and bird droppings. Clean the affected sections of your wrapped vehicle immediately to prevent severe damage.

Can I Take My Wrapped Vehicle to the Car Wash?

You can only take your wrapped vehicle to a touchless car wash. Regular drive-through car washes that use brushes are not suitable for wrapped vehicles. There’s a good chance that the brushes used in that automated facility can damage the vinyl and peel off at the wrap’s edges. So handwashing is still the best option for cleaning wrapped vehicles.

Trust the Seasoned Experts from AZPRO

Cleaning and maintaining fleet wrap ensures that your investment lasts a long time. When you work with specialists from AZPRO, you ensure that your vehicle wrap is professionally installed to last a long time.

We also supply our customers with care kits, which include cleaning tools, cleansers and car wax. For more information, call 866-907-8438 or fill out this contact form, and our specialists will be happy to answer your questions.