Fleet wraps have become increasingly appealing since they are durable and low-maintenance. For instance, you can fix the flaw with a vinyl patch if the vinyl gets scratched. It’s also easy to replace the wrap with a brand-new design. Moreover, removing a wrap doesn’t damage the paint underneath, which is advantageous when you have an entire fleet to maintain.
When it comes to maintenance, a quick wash is all you need to remove the dust and dirt sticking to vinyl wraps. It’s also wise to find the right soap for vinyl wrap and follow the best practices for washing a wrapped vehicle.
Below, we’ll delve into some tips on what to look for in a vinyl wrap cleaner and examples of some of the best soap for wrapped vehicles you can find in the market.
Best Car Wash Soap for Vinyl Wrap
If you’re not sure which type of soap will work best for your vehicle, ask for a recommendation from the technicians who installed your fleet wrap. They will know of specific brands that work very well with certain types of wraps, like matte, glossy, or reflective sheets.
But if you’re looking for other options, here are some excellent ones:
- Rat Wax – This no-shine car soap is ideal for flat, matte, and satin vinyl wraps because it doesn’t contain gloss enhancers. It uses natural, citrus-based derivatives and produces slick suds that lift dirt stuck on the vinyl, allowing the water to wash them off without damaging the material or leaving visible streaks or residue.
- Jay Leno’s Garage – This vinyl wrap cleaner comes in a spray bottle, which is helpful for spot cleaning. It’s a specially formulated detail spray for vinyl that safely cleans fleet wraps without damaging or leaving streaks or unpleasant shine on its surface. It also works well on matte and satin vinyl.
- Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo and Conditioner – A famous car wash brand, Meguiar’s Gold Class for wrapped cars is pH neutral – a must for vinyl wraps. It forms slick suds and rich foam, which lifts dirt and stains from the vinyl wraps.
Many car wash cleaning products on the market are too harsh on vinyl wraps, so it’s necessary to find an appropriate soap or shampoo to effectively and gently clean vinyl wraps.
What if you don’t have vinyl wrap soap on hand? Would ordinary soap suffice?
Ordinary soap should suffice if you don’t have vinyl wrap soap on hand. Since most soaps are pH neutral, they should be safe to use. You can also use diluted, mild dishwashing liquid as car soap.
Below are the liquids to avoid using to prevent damage to your fleet wrap:
- Any abrasive cleaning product (i.e., poorly dissolved detergent powder)
- Commercial soaps with strong acids (usually found in cleaners for semis and trailer trucks)
- Kitchen or bathroom tile cleaners
- Oven cleaners
- Oil-based cleaners
- Engine degreaser
- Isopropyl alcohol
Tools Used To Clean Vinyl Wrap
Once you’ve found what your vinyl wrap technician deems to be the best soap for wrapped vehicles, the next step is to get the materials you’ll need for washing your fleet.
- A soft washcloth or car sponge – for lathering on the vinyl
- Microfiber cloths – for drying
- Squeegee – you can use one for lathering and another for drying.
- Pressure washer – set to lower than 2,000 PSI (stronger pressure washing can damage and peel the vinyl wrap)
Here are a few more must-haves and must-dos before starting:
- Wash your vehicle under the cover of a shade or inside a garage. Avoid working directly under sunlight because the soapy water could dry quickly, resulting in visible water spots and marks that you’ll have to wash off all over again.
- Don’t use fabric switch abrasive fibers such as cotton, polyester, and terrycloth when lathering the car soap.
- Soak the washcloths in a separate bucket, so you don’t accidentally scrub on the vinyl with a rough, dry cloth.
- If you are using a pressure washer hose, direct the angle at 45 degrees. Never aim at a steeper angle or with a high-pressure setting.
- Always use clean washcloths. Reusing washcloths used on other vehicles runs the risk of accidentally rubbing the dirt particles collected between the fibers onto the vinyl. If a scratch runs deep, that site can soon start peeling off.
Using the best car wash soap for vinyl wrap won’t guarantee a perfect and flawless wash if you overlook these pointers, so always keep them in mind.
Steps for Washing a Wrapped Vehicle
Step 1: Prep
When using regular soap, detergent, or a cleaning product that must be diluted first, prepare the soap solution in a bucket of water. Follow the instructions on the product or, in the case of household soap, dissolve soap until it is satisfyingly foamy and sudsy. Mix the soap solution in warm water, then soak your sponges or washcloths in the bucket.
Step 2: Pre-Rinse
Pre-rinse your vehicle from top to bottom with a hose. Let the water wash away loose dirt, and take note of the spots that need your attention later with the soap.
Step 3: Washing
Take a soaked sponge and squeeze it a few times to produce more bubbles, then gently rub it on your vehicle in circular motions. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, and don’t use a scrub to prevent scratching or air bubbles from forming underneath. If there’s a stubborn stain, gently rub it with a microfiber cloth wrapped around a finger.
Remember that letting the soapy water dry on the vinyl produces visible streaks.
Step 4: Rinse
Once you’re satisfied and confident that the best soap for vinyl wrap has removed all the dirt, rinse the soap suds thoroughly with clean water. Just remember not to constrict the nozzle or increase the water pressure if you are using a hose.
Since you want to avoid letting the soapy water dry off before you get a chance to rinse it, here’s a tip: wash your vehicle in sections and from top to bottom each time. You can do steps two to four this way, so you don’t have to rush and risk overlooking dirty spots because you need to move quickly.
Step 5: Dry
Make sure your vehicle is completely dry before driving out of your garage. If it’s not completely dry, you risk having visible wind streaks all over the sides. Air drying is good, but you can get cleaner results if you wipe the surface with a dry microfiber towel or squeegee after rinsing. Wiping your vehicle completely dry is advisable when the climate is hot and dry since water spots can form when air-drying in this weather.
Preserve Your Fleet Wrap With Regular and Thorough Maintenance
Finding the best soap for wrapped vehicles is the first step to preserving and maximizing your investment in your fleet wrap. Your fleet wrap is more than just an investment, it’s an excellent way to market your business, so it would be wise to make it last as long as possible. Caring for your fleet wrap through regular washing and using the right cleaning products is key to ensuring its longevity.
We’ll be happy to give you more tips on how to care for your fleet at AZ Pros. When it’s time to change the design of your fleet, our team is ready to help, from the design to printing to installation.