How to Maintain your wrap

Key points for maintaining vehicle wraps

  • Upon completion of the vehicle wrap it is standard procedure to wipe down the wrap to remove any fingerprints, streaks, or other surface contaminates. Isopropyl alcohol is generally used for this step. It is recommended that in addition to the isopropyl wipe that a waterless cleaner or spray wax also be applied at this time. This step will provide a protective layer and make it difficult for dirt, bird droppings, tree sap and other contaminates from damaging the wrap.
  • During the winter months it is important to allow the newly wrapped vehicle to dwell at room temperature for at least 24 hours before being moved back out into the cold environment.
  • Regular cleaning of the wrap is required to maintain the overall appearance of the wrap as well as help prolong the life of the wrap. Below is a list of recommendations for cleaning.

Clean the vehicle every 2 weeks

  • PVC films behave similar to automotive paint if left in constant contact with dirt, grime and contaminants, it will eventually degrade, especially if left un-clean, exposed to UV light and/or heat.
  • It is recommended that vehicle graphics should be cleaned on a regular basis or whenever it appears dirty. Ideally, a vehicle wrap should be cleaned every 2 weeks. This ensures that optimal visual appearance is maintained for the life of the wrap.

Spot Cleaning & Difficult Stains 

  • Spot cleaning of surface contaminants like bugs, bird droppings, tree sap and tar is required immediately after it appears, as it can stain and damage the PVC film. This is also true of gasoline and other fuels.
  • Spot cleaning with Isopropyl Alcohol and a clean non-abrasive rag.
  • Moisten a clean non-abrasive rag with a cleaner such as Isopropyl Alcohol or Croftgate Surface Cleaner and wipe down the affected area. For very difficult stains use Croftgate’s Heavy Duty Surface Cleaner. After cleaning, use clean water to rinse area thoroughly.

 

Always test first

  • It is crucial to remember that chemicals can damage a wrap or even paint.
  • Always test these solvents in an inconspicuous area prior to cleaning the wrap.
  • Always rinse the surface with clean water following the use of any cleaning agent.
  • Chemicals should be free from abrasive components.
  • pH balance of the chemicals should be between 5 and 9.
  • Do not use any aromatic solvents such as acetone, M.E.K., toluene, paint thinner or lacquer thinner

 

Environmental Factors

  • Park the vehicle in shade, garage, or under cover whenever possible.
  • At high elevations such as mountain areas, the UV damage is increased versus exposure at sea level. Because the air is thinner and there is less UV filtering, damage increases significantly.
  • In congested urban or industrial areas, increased smog, pollutants and particulates in the atmosphere will cause reduced durability on the horizontal areas of the wrap. The horizontal areas trap the chemicals on the surface of the material and the increased UV exposure results in shorter durability.
  • Vinyl films are not designed to be permanently submerged in water, fresh or salt. It is recommended that water craft graphics are cleaned with fresh water after each use.

 

 Removal of Difficult Air Pollutants or Debris from Vinyl Graphics

  • On occasion environmental pollutants or dirt may cause water mark stains that do not remove using standard detergents and water. Seasonal air pollutants vary per geographical area and vinyl graphics can be exposed to air pollutants caused by industrial areas as well. It has been found that the Spartan Graffiti Remover SAC™ listed below works well to remove water spots caused by the air pollutants that mix with seasonal dew. Read & follow manufactures recommended usage instructions before using. Use a clean soft rag to wipe solution off and repeat if necessary to remove stains.

Removing Fingerprints 

  • The matte and satin products may show fingerprints, however they can be cleaned by saturating a clean, lint free towel with a 2:1 mixture of Isopropyl Alcohol and water or straight rubbing alcohol, and then wipe the film dry.

Methods of washing vehicle wraps 

  • Hand Wash
  • When hand washing, the first step is to pre-rinse the vehicle with clean water, thus avoiding scratching the surface.
  • Gently wash with a mild soapy water solution and a sponge, start at the top of the vehicle and work down. Avoid abrading the film surface with unnecessary scrubbing.
  • Rinse the wrap thoroughly with clean water when finished.
  • Allow the wrap to dry naturally or to aviod water spotting immediately use a silicone squeegee to remove water and then finish drying with a Chamois, micro-fiber towel or soft non-abrasive towel.

• NOTE: o Be careful to not lift the film edges. o Detergent should be free from abrasive components, strong solvents and alcohols. o Detergents should have a pH balance between 5 and 9. Always test the detergent in an inconspicuous spot on the vehicle wrap before using.

 

Waterless Wash / Spray Wax

  • A great option as long as the vehicle isn’t too dirty. These products can help maintain the gloss level and performance of the film. If the vehicle is not overly dirty, this is the preferred method. See chart in section 4 for recommended products.
    • NOTE: Before using any new product on any wrap, be sure to test them in an inconspicuous area of the wrapped vehicle before using on the entire wrap.
  • Using a spray wax to care for the Wrap Film is great for protecting the vinyl wrap from being damaged by environmental pollutants or seasonal airborne pollutants.
      • NOTE: Make sure the wax used does not contain petroleum distillates or abrasive components. Always test the wax in an inconspicuous area prior to waxing the whole wrap. Any wax residue can be removed with all-purpose cleaner.

Automatic Car Wash

  • A brushless automatic car wash with just spray is acceptable.
  • The automated brush wash is not recommended as the brushes may scratch the vinyl surface, catch and lift the edges of the vinyl wrap, reduce the gloss finish and/or create a failure point.
  • Skip the wax options at the car wash to avoid wax that that contains petroleum distillates which can damage the wrap.
  • Let the wrap dry naturally or dab dry with micro-fiber towel.

Power Washer

  • The use of a pressure or power washer should only be used when all other cleaning methods have been used or tested and did not properly work.
    • NOTE: Pressure washing could have negative effects on the vehicle wrap including but not limited to edge-lifting and face degradation.
  • Keep water pressure below 1200 psi (8- bars or 84 kg/cm2 )
  • Keep water temperature below 180˚F (80˚C)
  • Keep the nozzle at least 12 inches away from the edges
  • Keep the nozzle perpendicular to the graphic. This will avoid lifting edges of the wrap.
  • Use a nozzle with a 40˚ angle wide spray pattern
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