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Caring for Your Vehicle Graphics

Care for your vehicle graphics like you would any fine paint finish. Using high quality 3M products designed specifically for car care and these cleaning and maintenance procedures will help keep your 3M vehicle graphics looking their best.

Film Restoration
Pressure Washing
Wash Regularly
Automated Car Washes
Difficult Contaminants
Fuel Spills
Store Indoors

Wash Regularly


• Wash whenever the car appears dirty. Contaminants allowed to remain on the                   graphic may be more difficult to remove during cleaning.


• Rinse off as much dirt and grit as possible with a spray of water.


• See "Difficult Contaminants" on page 1, for spot cleaning bird droppings, tar, etc.


• Use a wet, non-abrasive detergent such as 3M™ Car Wash Soap 39000 or Meguiar’s       NXT Generation® Car Wash or Deep Crystal® Car Wash and a soft, clean cloth or                 sponge.


• Rinse thoroughly with clean water. To reduce water spotting, immediately use a               silicone squeegee to remove water and finish with a clean microfiber cloth.



Automated Car Washes


Vinyl wraps may be run through car washes. Touchless car washes are the best for graphic care. Use of brush car washes (depending upon the frequency and quality of brush) may cause dulling/scratching/lifting edge of the graphics.



Pressure Washing


Although hand washing is the preferred cleaning method, pressure washing may be used under these conditions.

• Ensure the water pressure is kept below 2000 psi (14 MPa).


• Keep water temperature below 180 °F (80 °C).


• Use a spray nozzle with a 40 degree wide angle spray pattern.


• Keep the nozzle at least 1 foot (300 mm) away from and perpendicular (at 90 degrees)     to the graphic.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Holding the nozzle of a pressure washer at an angle to graphic may lift the edges of the film.


Difficult Contaminants


Soften difficult contaminants such as bug splatter, bird droppings, tree sap and similar contaminants by soaking them for several minutes with very hot, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and dry.


If further cleaning is needed, test one of these products in an inconspicuous area to ensure no damage to the graphics: Meguiar’s Gold Class™ Bug and Tar Remover or 3M™ Citrus Base Cleaner.  Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) (two parts IPA to 1 part water) or denatured alcohol may also help. Spot clean the contaminants.  Do not use rough scrubbing or abrasive tools, which will scratch the film.  Wash and rinse off all residue immediately.



Fuel Spills


Wipe off immediately to avoid degrading the vinyl and adhesive.  Then wash, rinse and dry as in "Wash Regularly" on page 1 as soon as possible.



Film Restoration


The following restoration recommendations will help keep your vehicle wraps looking their best.

• Do no use any abrasive polishes or cutting compounds.

• Do not use any polishing or wax products on matte or textured films.

• Use if there is wax or wax residue on the surface, remove with an all-purpose cleaner.

• Table A shows some available products to help restore your vehicle wrap. Before               using, always test and approve in an inconspicuous area


Table A. Restoration Alternatives






















IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not allow the cleaning solution to soak and immediately rinse with clear water.



Store Indoors or Under Cover Whenever Possible


Vinyl graphics (just like paint) are degraded by prolonged exposure to sun and atmospheric pollutants, particularly on the horizontal surfaces such as the hood, trunk lid, and roof. Whenever possible, store in a garage or at least in a shaded area during the day. At night protect the car from dew or rain, which may contain acidic pollutants (a common problem in many large metropolitan areas). When a garage is not available, consider using a cloth car cover at night. If your graphics start to discolor or turn brown, immediately remove the graphics from the vehicle to avoid staining the underlying paint.

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