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Maintenance for Vinyl Graphics and Vehicle Wraps

Keep your graphics looking as good as the day you installed them.

The Do's and Do Not's of Caring for Vinyl Graphics

Caring for vinyl graphics, specifically on appliance and vehicle applications, must follow a specific set of rules to maximize the lifespan of the graphics. No matter the quality of the graphics, without proper maintenance there will be disappointment in the application. The greatest car in the world, manufactured with superior quality, will quickly deteriorate without maintenance as simple as an oil change.

THE DO’s

The important thing to remember when caring for vinyl graphics is to treat them like you would a fine paint finish. Follow these steps to maximize the life and quality of your graphics. 

  • Hand wash applied vinyl graphics with a blend of mild detergent and clean water. Pressure washing is not recommended as it can cause vinyl wrap to lift around the edges and degrade the face film. Once that happens, the graphics lose luster, fade, crack and can come away from the substrate.
  • Test any cleaning solution on a small section of the vinyl graphic before using. Even with products designed for washing vehicles, it is still good practice to test on a small area. If possible, use products that are easy on the vehicle vinyl and the environment.
  • Always read the warning labels on car care products for proper safety instructions.
  • Wash the vehicle from the top down with a soapy water blend, rinse with clean water. This allows dirt and contaminants to run off the vinyl. A standard garden hose and nozzle, a clean, grit free bucket (to avoid scratching the vinyl), mild soap like Dove or Joy, soft microfiber sponges or cloths are all you need.
  • Let the vehicle air dry or dry off with a microfiber cloth. If time allows, let the vehicle air dry and touch up with soft cloth for spotting. If the vehicle wrap is dried by hand, be sure to use clean, microfiber towels and light pressure. Take care that not to lift edges or scratch vinyl.
  • Store Indoors or Under Cover Whenever Possible. Vinyl graphics (just like paint) are degraded by prolonged exposure to sun and atmospheric pollutants, particularly on the horizontal surfaces such as hood, trunk lid and roof. Whenever possible, store in a garage or at least in a shaded area during the day. At night protect the car from dew or rain, which may contain acidic pollutants (a common problem in many large metropolitan areas). When a garage is not available, consider using a cloth car cover at night. If your graphics start to discolor or turn brown, immediately remove the graphics from the vehicle to avoid staining the underlying paint. To keep side graphics from degrading differently (one side faster than the other), alternate parking arrangement every other day. This way one side of the vehicle does not get full exposure to the sun and elements at all times, allowing the material to degrade at an accelerated rate.

THE DO NOT’S

The important thing to remember when caring for vinyl graphics is to treat them like you would a fine paint finish. Follow these steps to maximize the life and quality of your graphics. 

  • Hand wash applied vinyl graphics with a blend of mild detergent and clean water. Pressure washing is not recommended as it can cause vinyl wrap to lift around the edges and degrade the face film. Once that happens, the graphics lose luster, fade, crack and can come away from the substrate.
  • Test any cleaning solution on a small section of the vinyl graphic before using. Even with products designed for washing vehicles, it is still good practice to test on a small area. If possible, use products that are easy on the vehicle vinyl and the environment.
  • Always read the warning labels on car care products for proper safety instructions.
  • Wash the vehicle from the top down with a soapy water blend, rinse with clean water. This allows dirt and contaminants to run off the vinyl. A standard garden hose and nozzle, a clean, grit free bucket (to avoid scratching the vinyl), mild soap like Dove or Joy, soft microfiber sponges or cloths are all you need.
  • Let the vehicle air dry or dry off with a microfiber cloth. If time allows, let the vehicle air dry and touch up with soft cloth for spotting. If the vehicle wrap is dried by hand, be sure to use clean, microfiber towels and light pressure. Take care that not to lift edges or scratch vinyl.
  • Store Indoors or Under Cover Whenever Possible. Vinyl graphics (just like paint) are degraded by prolonged exposure to sun and atmospheric pollutants, particularly on the horizontal surfaces such as hood, trunk lid and roof. Whenever possible, store in a garage or at least in a shaded area during the day. At night protect the car from dew or rain, which may contain acidic pollutants (a common problem in many large metropolitan areas). When a garage is not available, consider using a cloth car cover at night. If your graphics start to discolor or turn brown, immediately remove the graphics from the vehicle to avoid staining the underlying paint. To keep side graphics from degrading differently (one side faster than the other), alternate parking arrangement every other day. This way one side of the vehicle does not get full exposure to the sun and elements at all times, allowing the material to degrade at an accelerated rate.

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