Wrap Aftercare Products
It wasn't so long ago that there were precious few options when it came to
cleaning and maintenance products for vinyl wraps. And yet, if you want your
wrap to hold up well over time and weather the elements like the sun, acid rain,
grease, oils and just plain dirt builds up you have to do so something. It used
to be that soap and water were the only real option to clean dust and dirt and
alcohol was the only thing you could use as a degreaser but we can't say this
enough: DO NOT USE ALCOHOL TO CLEAN YOUR WRAP.
Wrap Aftercare Products for Regular Use
In recent years, a number of products have come on the scene that are specifically formulated for wrap care and cleaning. Many of them are deep cleaners which require you to apply a sealant on top. In general, you will need to use these wrap care products on a weekly or biweekly basis. For gloss films we recommend the following products:
Gloss Vinyl Wrap Products
- Turtle Wax Ice
- Aquinil Waterless Wash by Croftgate
- Croftgate Wrap Care After Care JP
- Whoosh Tint & Vinyl Cleaner
- Four Star Ultimate Spray Wax Plus
- Rapid Clear
Naturally, you don't want to use a wax sealant on matte films as it will mar the surface. Instead, try the following products for cleaning and aftercare:
Matte Vinyl Wrap Products
- Aquinil Waterless Wash by Croftgate (matte film formulation)
- Simple Green
There are other cleaners and sealants in addition to those above that have come onto the market in recent years but all of the above require regular and consistent application. This is great for installers as this turns into an upsell but what if you're the type who's more of a one and done type? Luckily for you, all-new ceramic coatings have just been released that cater just to you.
Single Application Ceramic Wrap Coatings
The newest and, in our opinion, coolest form of wrap cleaner and sealants are made using the latest advancements in nanotechnology. Even though these aftercare products have been used in Europe for a while, they're just starting to really catch on for wraps here in the US. The benefit of these Nano sealants is that they really sink into the vinyl and creates a hyper low surface energy protection from UV rays and all kinds of weather and pollutants. Best of all, you don't have to constantly put it on — it's a one time deal. You can get between to one to five coatings and then once that's on the wrap it seals it.
In general, these coatings cost around 25 to 30 dollars a bottle. In other words, Ceramic Pro and products like it are definitely more expensive but you don't have to maintain it so over time it's actually one of those things where it stays in the wrap pretty much the only thing that takes it off is abrasion. So generally for three years or however long the wrap is guaranteed to last, the ceramic coating might be a good option.
Why Clean Your Vinyl Wrap?
Surprisingly, many of us in the industry hear about wraps that are not cared for properly (if at all)
and this is even more the case when the wraps in question are being used for
commercial purposes. We've all heard stories from wrap installers who have had
to do a wrap repair after six months and discovered grease pencil marks used by the
used during the initial install that were still on the vehicle. Obviously, this is a
pretty good indication that the owner of the wrapped vehicle isn't cleaning and
maintaining the vinyl wrap. But, why, aside from the simple aesthetics, should
you regularly clean your wrap?
Regular cleaning of a wrapped vehicle will not only help keep the wrap looking good for longer,
it's also a sign of your pride in your vehicle — and, just think about it this
way: if a person doesn't care enough to clean their company's wrapped vehicle what
quality of work can you expect them to do for you?
Naturally, in addition to keeping the vehicle looking great, regular cleaning of a wrap is important because it can help prolong the life of the
film. Cleaning and maintenance is especially important at high elevations and
high pollution urban or industrial areas.
At high elevations, UV damage becomes a real concern due to the increased exposure
as compared to sea level. This is due to the fact that the air is thinner
resulting in less UV filtering.
In high-traffic urban or industrial areas, smog, pollutants and particulates in the atmosphere
can shorten the life of the wrap, especially on the horizontal areas. These horizontal areas trap the chemicals on the surface of the material and,
in conjunction with the increased UV exposure, result in significantly shorter
durability and decreased performance. Regular cleaning can mitigate these
effects as it removes pollutants and particulates that would otherwise damage the wrap. Applying an approved waxes
such as Turtle Wax Ice, after cleaning, helps to provide added UV and pollutant
Do Not Use Alcohol to Clean Wraps
As we said above, it used to be that installers only head one option to remove oil
from a matte wrap or just clean a commercial wrap. The problem with alcohol though, is
that it just dries the wrap film. In addition, it also takes off a lot of good stuff that the manufacturers put in the vinyl to keep it fresh and
maintain its luster. So again alcohol was never a great option but again it
pretty much was the only option or maybe soap and water. So, we'll say it again:
do not use alcohol to clean or degrease your wrap.