HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR VINYL BOAT WRAP
THIS has to be one of our most frequently asked questions by customers.
We know that TLC is an important attribute in caring for a woman. So when caring for our boats we must treat her like a princess and keep her shining like a star! However, thankfully, vinyl is far easier to take care of!
Surprisingly, vinyl actually greatly reduces the clean up work you need to do on your boat. Many people who have had a vinyl wrap, including myself, have noticed how we can leave the surfaces unwashed and uncared for, and they seem to just naturally stay clean on their own with the occasional hose-down...unlike the original paint or gel coat that seems to hold dirt very easily. Like this racing yacht on the right...about 9 months on, the graphics are still glossy, and the owner confirms she doesn't wax them...that's just the way the vinyl rolls!
This is helped if you use a high-quality vinyl in the beginning, and also some protecting products, along with cleaning and rejuvenating products when required which are made specifically for vinyl wraps.
Here we have a step by step guide: (click on the sections to expand)
How to care for a matte vinyl wrap
- This should be done frequently. Never leave it up to the rain. Washing a boat as often as when it looks dirty can keep contaminants from becoming difficult to get off.
- Wipe off fuel spills immediately! This will prevent deterioration of the vinyl wrap and adhesive.
- Remove as much dirt and dust as possible with a spray of water.
- Do not use harsh detergents. Some safe solutions include 3M™ Car Wash Soap 39000 or Meguiar’s NXT Generation® Car Wash or Deep Crystal® Car Wash.
- Do NOT use stiff or hard brushes to scrub vinyl wrap. This can cause the wrap to chip and/or lift. It can also cause discoloration and scratching of the gloss.
- Rinse thoroughly with water directly after the use of detergent. Immediately dry with the use of a silicone squeegee and microfiber cloth to prevent water spots.
- We recommend you finish with a bottle of VViViD SHIELD Post-Wrap Gloss Shield/Enhancer. We provide this to our customers at the end of a vinyl boat wrap. This provides added protection for the vinyl film, much like a polish would for a gelcoat or marine paint. This helps to protect the film from UV and water spotting.
We recommend hand washing as the primary method of washing however pressure washing can be done under these measures:
- Water pressure must be kept under 2000 psi (14MPa)
- Temperature of water must be kept under 80°C (180°F).
- We recommend the use of a spray nozzle with a 40 degree wide angle spray pattern.
- Spray at a 90° angle and at least 1 foot (300mm) away from vinyl wrap.
- Keep in mind that spray at an angle toward the edge of vinyl wrap may cause edges to raise.
- Do NOT scrub, scrape or use harsh chemicals like Acetone.
- Use an approved Vinyl cleaner or restorer. See our online shop for products.
- Here are a list of products that can help:
1. Meguiar's Gold ClassTM Bug and Tar Remover or
2. 3MTM Citrus Base Cleaner.
3. Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) (two parts IPA to 1 part water) or denatured alcohol may also help.
- Always start by applying cleaner to a small inconspicuous section of the vinyl wrap to be sure no damage will be done.
- Spot clean only on section with contaminant and rinse off all residue immediately after cleaning.
To restore your vinyl wrap keep in mind the type of product used must work with the type of film used. Do not use abrasive polishes or cutting compounds. Here are a list of film types and the products that work best:
Smooth Gloss Texture - Use VViViD SHIELD Post-Wrap Gloss Shield/Enhancer available in our shop. You can also use Carnauba waxes.
Matte or Satin Texture - Isopropyl alcohol and water (2:1 ratio)
Download a step by step PDF guide on How To Care For Your Vinyl Boat Wrap.
Thanks to 3M for their great information bulletin on the subject which contributed to this article, and also to the image of Chris Cook explaining how to look after a matte vinyl wrap at their office in Sydney.