How Do You Wash a Wrapped Car? Landmark Sign Company December 8, 2021

How Do You Wash a Wrapped Car?

Nothing is going to command attention to your vehicle more than an expertly designed and professionally applied vehicle wrap. However, if you let your vehicle collect grime, mud, salt, bird droppings, and other hazards of the highway, it might start turning heads for the wrong reasons. It’s important to regularly clean and maintain your car wrap. Taking proper care of your wrapped vehicle will ensure that you get the most life out of it (and subsequently, the most heads turned). And knowing how to wash a wrapped car (and how often to do it) will keep your wrapped vehicle looking great for a long time.

How to Clean Your Wrapped Car

If you buy a brand new leather jacket, you’re certainly going to want to care for it and keep it looking sharp for as long as you can. You’re not going to risk ruining it by getting it muddy or tossing it in the washing machine. The same goes for your vehicle wrap. While there’s nothing you can do to avoid dirt, bugs, bird droppings, and other outdoor elements apart from simply keeping it locked in a garage and out of harm’s way (no thanks), you can take extra care when it comes to washing your car.

Use soft sponges or cloths

Before you reach for any tough brushes or scrapers, think twice about using abrasive cleaning tools on vehicle wraps. Instead, we recommend using the classic soft sponge and soapy water! Hand washing will help remove dirt without damaging the integrity of the vinyl wrap.

Use proper soap

When it comes to washing wrapped vehicles, soapy water will be your best friend. Most soaps that you’d use to wash an unwrapped vehicle are fine for wrapped vehicles as well as long as they’re non-abrasive. Meguiar’s NXT Generation Car Wash or 3M Car Wash Soap 39000 are always two safe bets.

Use proper pressure

You shouldn’t run into any issues regarding water pressure with a regular garden hose and spray nozzle. However, if you want to pressure wash your vehicle wrap, keep the PSI under 2,000 and use a wide-angle spray nozzle attachment. Pressure washing is a great way to achieve an even clean and remove stubborn contaminants like tree sap or bug splatter.

Use lukewarm water

Hot water exceeding roughly 140 degrees can potentially damage your wrap, so lukewarm water is always preferred.

Use proper stain removers

Generally, we recommend isopropyl rubbing alcohol for isolated stains and spot cleaning. Apply an appropriate amount to a microfiber cloth and rub until the spot is cleared up. Then rinse with cold water. Do not use abrasive chemicals.

Use gentle drying methods

After you’ve washed your vinyl car wrap, make sure to dry the excess water to avoid water spotting. Use gentle fabric such as a clean microfiber cloth or a silicone squeegee!

How Often Can You Wash A Wrapped Car?

Just as you would with any vehicle, you’ll want to hand wash your wrapped car semi-regularly (every two weeks or so) or basically whenever it gets dirty. As long as you’re adhering to the guidelines listed below, you don’t have to worry about OVER-washing your wrapped vehicle. If you notice bird droppings, dead insects, or other irritating and noticeable contaminants on the surface of your wrap, be sure to take care of them promptly. If they stick around too long, they may leave difficult stains or permanent blemishes in the wrap.

Can I take a wrapped car through a car wash?

Can you take a vehicle with vinyl wrap into a car wash? Technically yes. Should you? Probably not. Car wash brushes can potentially damage your wrap and even brushless options might use a bit too much pressure or water that’s a bit too hot. And while the soap and chemicals used by your local car wash are probably fine, there’s just no way to know for sure. Basically, the convenience is not worth the risk. We always recommend only hand washing your wrapped vehicle.


A car wrap can be a significant financial investment and like anything worth your investment, it is worth protecting if you really want to get your money’s worth out of it. Keep your vehicle wrap in pristine condition for as long as you can by knowing how to wash a wrapped car and addressing minor blemishes as they pop up. For more information on car wraps and proper car wrap care, contact Landmark.