How to Clean Your Car for a Vinyl Wrap.

a car that is being cleaned in preparation for a vinyl wrap

Clean car is essential for a great looking wrap. A multi-stage washing process must be performed in order to ensure the surface is well prepared. In this blog post we outline how to properly clean your car for a vinyl wrap job.

Step 1: General Wash.

The very first step in preparation for Vinyl Installation is a general wash. This step helps to get rid of any loose contaminants, and is performed outside. First, the car is thoroughly rinsed with water. Second, soap and water solution is applied to the surface of the car, and the car is being washed with microfibre towels. We always recommend using microfibre towels, since they won’t scratch or damage the paint. Also, aim for a soap with a neutral pH balance. High pH balance may lead to corrosion, and low pH balance tends to damage the surface. The process is finished with another thorough rinse to flush the soap residue and get the car ready for the next step.

Step 2: Degreasing.

After the general wash is performed, and the car is free of loose contaminants, it is time for a more thorough cleaning. In this next step the car is moved inside the shop. We then use isopropyl alcohol to remove oils and grease from the surface of the car. Extra attention is needed for panel edges and corners. This step removes excessive soap residue, as well as oils that lower surface energy of the car. Since vinyl is under some tension on edges and corners, it is crucial to pay special attention to the cleanliness of those areas to ensure vinyl sticks properly, and to avoid lifting off of the material.

Step 3: Clay Bar.

After the surface of the car is completely free of loose contaminants and grease, we move on to clay bar. Clay bar helps to further clean the surface of the car and gets rid of any particles stuck on the surface. This is especially common on lower sections of the car and close to the wheels, where the car gets the most exposure to dirt. Clay bar is also essential to ensure the complete smoothness of the surface. We always recommend to use a soap solution to allow clay bar to glide better.

Step 4: Isopropyl Wipedown.

In this final step we wipe the whole car with more Isopropyl Alcohol. This step is needed to remove all the soapy residue and also helps to increase the surface energy.

As you can see, it is a multi-step process that must be performed prior to any Vinyl Wrap Installation. This cleaning process ensures the surface of the car is ready for a wrap, and helps to avoid any installation related issues and mistakes.