How to Wash a Wrapped Car? – 6 Steps You Need to Do

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to wash a wrapped car

A vinyl car wrap can make your car look unique and eye-catching. Since it’s not like the typical paintwork, how to wash a wrapped car would be different from how you would wash a normal car and should be done very carefully to avoid scratches, marks, etc.

To start, you’d have to park the wrapped car away from the sun. Then you’d work on the contaminants, soaking and scrubbing them off before pre-rinsing and handwashing. Hand washing is done section by section, and each section is immediately dried with a squeegee. It’s not a difficult task, as long as you follow our tips below.

What You Need to Follow This Tutorial


The proper cleaning products for wrapped cars must be used for the job in order to avoid causing damages. Make sure to get the right items, which you can see in the list below.

1. Mild Car Wash Soap

Use only a mild soap that’s recommended for cleaning car wraps. Pick one that is non-abrasive and doesn’t contain silicone emulsion to avoid damaging the car wrap on your vehicle.

2. Soft, Non-Abrasive Washcloth or Soft Sponge

To be safe on the car wrap, use a soft, non-abrasive washcloth or soft sponge when hand washing.

3. Two Buckets With Grit Guards or Pressure Washer

When you wash a vinyl wrapped car, It’s best to use the two bucket method to avoid damaging the car wrap. It would also help to use grit guards to get rid of the grits that may have stuck to the washcloth or sponge that you are using for hand washing.

You should only use a pressure washer if your car is very dirty, but it must have a PSI of below 2000, and only the 40-degree nozzle should be used.

4. Squeegee

The car wrap must be dried immediately so you would need a squeegee.

5. Microfiber Towel

A microfiber towel can be used for drying the car.

6. Low-pressure Water Hose

Step by Step Instructions


Washing a wrapped car requires caution. Carefully follow the steps on how to wash a vinyl wrapped car below, and you’ll have no problems but a spotless damage-free wrapped car.

Step 1: Park the Wrapped Car in an Area Away From the Sun

Heat can be damaging to car wrap. In fact, heat is actually used for removing vehicle graphics. When the car wrap is exposed to heat, it becomes malleable. Generally, a wrapped car must be kept away from the heat of the sun, especially when washing it.

Avoid washing your car when its surface is hot because it can cause marks, indents, and worse, wrinkles.

So when washing your wrapped car, it’s best to park it in a garage. Or if not, look for a shady area for washing your wrapped car.

Step 2: See if There Are Stubborn Contaminants and Soak and Scrub Them

Thoroughly inspect the wrapped car for tree sap, bird droppings, and other stubborn contaminants. If you found some, soak the contaminants with hot soapy water for just a few minutes to soften them up and scrub them off with a washcloth. You can repeat the soaking and scrubbing as needed.

Step 3: Pre-rinse the Wrapped Car Using Only Low Pressure

To avoid causing damage when you clean a wrapped car, it’s best to use a low-pressure hose nozzle when pre-rinsing and make sure that the water is below 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Hose down the car to dislodge as much of the dirt and grit as possible so that the car wrap will not get scratched by any contaminant when you hand wash it.

A pressure washer can be used only if your car is very dirty, and make sure you follow our advice above when selecting one. Also, spray the water from at least a foot away from the car. Do not spray water at an angle, as it may peel the car wrap’s edges, but rather spray it perpendicularly.

Step 4: Prepare the Cleaning Solution

You must use a mild car wash soap and dilute it with cold water. Follow the instructions for diluting on the product’s label.

Step 5: Wash the Car With the Soft, Non-abrasive Washcloth or Soft Sponge and the Solution

The safest way to wash a wrapped car would be to hand wash it using the two bucket method with a soft, non-abrasive washcloth or soft sponge, especially if it’s not that dirty. And remember to use grit guards in the buckets to be able to remove the grits from your washcloth or sponge; this prevents scratches from forming on the car wrap.

When hand washing, work in one section at a time, scrubbing with the solution, rinsing, and drying the area with a squeegee. That way, the solution won’t seep into the vinyl and there won’t be any water spots.

Step 6: Let the Wrapped Car Air Dry

You can let the car completely dry by air drying it. You may also help in the drying by wiping the car using a microfiber towel.

Can You Take a Wrapped Car Through a Carwash?

Yes, you may take your wrapped car to a drive-through car wash, but you must only go for a touchless car wash, wherein brushes are not used for car washing. Avoid going to an automated car wash that uses brushes, as the brushes may degrade the car wrap and peel it off at the edges.

But even if a touchless car wash is safer than an automated car wash with brushes, don’t make it a habit to always take your wrapped car to a touchless car wash. Hand washing is still the safest and best option.


The perks of a vinyl-wrapped car come with the responsibility of properly and carefully practicing how to wash a wrapped car. Follow the earlier mentioned steps, and you’ll be able to fully enjoy a clean and aesthetic vehicle.

What do you think about this article? Any thoughts are welcome in the comments section. We’d also appreciate it if you shared this article to help other wrapped car owners.

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