You’re probably aware that your wrapped car needs to be treated a little differently to a ‘regular’ car; however there’s a lot of misinformation out there. At The Mobile Detailing Company we have extensive experience working with vinyl wraps, and today we’re sharing our top cleaning and maintenance tips for keeping matte vinyl wraps in five-star condition.
This is probably the biggest source of confusion for people new to matte vinyl wraps. Can I use the same cleaning products I used pre-vinyl? Will I damage the vinyl using a car wash? What if I need to scrub off a stain?
Fortunately, cleaning your matte vinyl wrap is actually pretty simple. We’ve broken it down into five steps below:
- Purchase a car wash soap that is specifically designed for cleaning vinyl wraps. There are a number of products on the market and you’ll find they clearly state their application on the label. NB we know it’s tempting to use up your pre-vinyl car wash soap but please don’t! You’ll likely fade and damage the wrap, plus many traditional products also contain trace amounts of waxes, optical brighteners and silicones. It kind of defeats the purpose of getting a beautiful matte finish if you then apply products that promote shine!
- Wash the vinyl wrap using scratch free extra soft wash mitts and lukewarm water. Apply the soap with water (unless you’re using a waterless product) and give the car a good wash like you would any vehicle. The main thing to avoid is harsh rubbing; never use a brush on vinyl (see step 3). The lukewarm water is important too. Avoid hot water like the plague. Vinyl wraps respond to heat and you may cause indents and wrinkles if your wrap gets too hot.
- Avoid scrubbing at stains – this is a sure way to mark and fade the vinyl. Instead purchase a stain remover product specifically designed for car wraps. You may need to leave the product on for a little while to remove tough stains like bat droppings.
- Dry your car with microfiber towels and, for extra protection, add a liquid paint coating. Make sure the coating specifies it’s suitability for use on matte vinyl wraps.
- Don’t buff – if you do so, you may notice tiny scratches in your vinyl wrap. This is because even after you’ve washed your car, small gritty particles likely remain on the surface. Buffing just grinds them into the vinyl and marks it.
Note we don’t recommend you take a vinyl wrap through an automated car wash, unless the car wash specifically states they offer a vinyl-wrap suitable wash. The reason is that fully automated car washes often rely on big brushes (which can scratch your wrap) and/or high pressure hoses (which can indent your wrap).
While cleaning is normally the biggest issue when it comes to matte vinyl wraps, there are a couple of every-day maintenance requirements you should be aware of. Here are our tips below:
- Park in the shade or undercover wherever possible. This is especially important if you’re parking on a busy street in summer. Vinyl is affected by the heat and when people touch hot vinyl or bump into it, the vinyl is likely to indent and wrinkle.
- Forgot to park in the shade? Grab a hairdryer – Many but not all vinyl wraps possess ‘self healing’ capabilities. If you do notice indents in your vinyl, apply a hair dryer (or heat gun) at least six inches away from the vinyl and it should smooth out as it heats.
- Has your wrap started to turn brown or stain? Seek professional advice ASAP as the wrap could actually be starting to stain the paint work underneath.
Contact The Mobile Detailing Company today for a professional, quality detail on all wrapped (and unwrapped!) cars