Vinyl wraps are one of the best ways to promote your business no matter where you go. According to ad experts ARD Ventures the average wrapped vehicle is viewed tens of thousands of times daily and those viewings hold attention three times better than a stationary billboard according to Perception Research.

It’s simple. Vinyl wrapped cars generate a lot of attention for your business. Vinyl wraps and graphics are one of the easiest ways to generate passive promotion, but what type of care and maintenance is required for a vehicle wrap? Is it worth wrapping your car if you have to treat it delicately?

Can You Wash Vinyl Wrapped Cars?

One of the most asked questions about wraps is can you wash vinyl wrapped cars and how to take care of a vinyl wrapped car. To help you determine if a wrap is worth it let’s look at their cleaning needs and how to keep your vinyl wrapped car looking as fresh as the day the wrap was put on.

Can You Wash Vinyl Wrapped Cars?

How to Clean Vinyl a Wrapped Car

Good news – you can wash vinyl wrapped cars. Not only is washing wrapped vehicles okay, but it’s also one of the best ways to keep your wrap looking great for years instead of months. However, how to wash a vinyl wrap car does take a little extra care and different products. Let’s learn the best step-by-step method on how to take care of a vinyl wrapped car.

Before anything else you need to get information on your wrap by calling the company who installed it. You want to know what type of wrap was installed including the brand, and if they have specific cleaning instructions for that wrap available for you. If possible, try to get this information before driving home from your wrap installation. Some vinyl companies or installers may have special requirements you need to know so you don’t void the manufacturers or installation warranty. It’s best to know that information upfront.

If you can get your hands on care instructions from the wrap manufacturer they will have information on products recommended for their products. If you can’t find that information you want to look for a vehicle wash compound formulated for vinyl vehicle wraps. Luckily, vinyl-appropriate car wash solution is available at most auto parts stores or online. Remember, standard car wash solution is made to clean painted metal, not vinyl.

Once you have the proper cleaning products you should follow their directions for application. In most cases a simple two-bucket method will help you accomplish the wash. Two bucket means one bucket is filled with water, and the other is filled with your vinyl washing solution. Dip your wash mitt in the cleaning solution, wash a small section of the vehicle, then dip the mitt into the water bucket before repeating the process. Work a section at a time until you’ve washed the entire vehicle.

Protectants like waxes and polishes are meant to be applied to metal, not vinyl. Instead of turtle wax or a clearcoat, look for a polish manufactured exclusively for vinyl wraps. Like a vinyl cleaning solution, you should be able to find this at your local auto store, online, or you can call your wrap installer for tips on where to find it. If you’re looking for the best protectant for your vinyl wrap, consider using a ceramic coating.

Most vinyl wrap manufacturers recommend washing your vinyl wrap every week or anytime it becomes visibly dirty. The longer grime and other contaminants sit on your wrap, the shorter lifespan it’s likely to have.

Quick Tips on How to Clean Vinyl Wrap Car

  • Careful with Pressure – Pressure washers aren’t recommended for vinyl wrap cleaning, but they can be used on very low-pressure settings.
  • Watch the Heat – The warmer your vehicle, the more likely the wrap could become damaged during washing. Try to use cold water and don’t wash the vehicle in direct sun during warmer months. Remember, heat is used to remove vehicle graphics.
  • When in Doubt, Call Your Installer – The company who installed your wrap are the experts on its care and maintenance. When in doubt, call them for recommendations.

Can a Wrapped Car Go Through the Carwash?

The Artworks recommends hand washing over automated car washes. However, according to vinyl wrap magnate 3M, vinyl wraps can generally be run through both a touchless car wash and a car wash that uses brushes (though this is not ideal).

Most vinyl wrap manufacturers and installers recommend you stay away from automatic car washes and only wash your wrap by hand. In short, an automatic car wash every now and then probably won’t hurt but don’t make a habit of it. If you must run your wrapped vehicle through an automated wash, try to choose a touchless wash and never choose any protectants or wash cycles with finishing products. The pressure and angle at which automatic car washes spray can be unpredictable and lead to premature failure of the graphics.

Taking Care of Your Vinyl Wrapped Car

Vinyl wraps look great, are 100% customizable, and while they do take a little extra care, the exposure it gives your business or service is well worth it. Call your wrap installer, purchase the appropriate cleaning agents, and wash your wrap frequently to keep it looking great. When your wrap looks bright and clean, your business will benefit.