Tips for washing a wrapped vehicle

18 February 2021By Turbo Images

Tips for washing a wrapped vehicle

The reason for getting your buses, trailers, trucks and cars wrapped is so they spread brand awareness and attract attention, right? Absolutely. And the goal is to keep them doing this — for as long as possible! One of these ways is by washing your wrapped vehicles properly.

So, how do you wash a vehicle with a vinyl wrap?

As a 3M Platinum Provider, we adhere to 3M’s recommended cleaning procedures. Accordingly, here are our recommendations for cleaning your wrapped vehicle.

First, choose your cleaner carefully.

Ideally you want to use a wet cleaner suited for high-quality painted surfaces. This cleaner should be non-abrasive, have a PH value between 3 and 11 (so it’s not too acidic or alkaline) and be free from strong solvents and alcohol.

4 tips for cleaning your wrapped vehicle

1. Do not use cold water. The water temperature should be 21-82℃ (70-180℉). This is especially important when trailers and vehicles are cold, as cold water may shock the adhesive and cause it to lose adhesion!

2. Rinse dirt and particles. Use a trigger-type hose nozzle to spray the surface of the vehicle and remove loose dirt particles. If using a pressure washer, take extra care. If using a pressure wash system, hold the nozzle at least 12 inches away from — and perpendicular to — the graphic. The pressure must not exceed 1500 PSI. Always ensure the water stream is perpendicular to the graphic. Never direct the water stream at a sharp angle towards the edge of a graphic.

3. Wash carefully, by hand. Using a soft brush, rag or sponge and a solution of water and mild liquid detergent (chosen from the guidance above), wash from the top down. Do not scrub. Once soap has been applied, keep a steady stream of water flowing to wash away the dirt.

4. Rinse thoroughly. Finally, rinse the entire surface thoroughly and let the vehicle air dry. If tar, oil or dirt remain, repeat steps 1-3, always using an appropriate cleaner.


If these specifications are not followed, serious damage, edge-lifting or loss of adhesion may occur. Wraps damaged by improper cleaning are not covered by your 3M Warranty.

Remember, proper washing is one of the most effective ways to keep your vehicle graphics looking great while protecting the lifespan of your investment!

Want a fleet graphics company that makes your image our priority? Working with Turbo Images will ensure vehicle graphics that get your brand noticed. Get in touch.