Cleaning a Vehicle Before Wrapping

Before you wrap a vehicle, it is important to make sure that you clean it properly. If you don’t clean it properly, you will run into a lot of problems both during and after the application.

Materials Needed

  • Soap and water solution (a couple drops in a spray bottle)
  • Alcohol solution (70% Isopropyl Alcohol(IPA)/30% Water)
  • Microfiber Towels


The first step in prepping for the perfect vehicle wrap is washing your vehicle to remove any wax and debris. Wax will negatively affect vinyl adhesion and will not allow the vinyl to properly bond. Handwashing is the most thorough way to ensure all areas and surfaces of the vehicle have been properly cleaned. First, clean with a simple dish soap and water solution; just a couple drops of dish soap to a squirt bottle of water. This will remove 90% of the dirt. Then, clean with an alcohol solution; 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% water. This will cut most oil based surface contaminates as well as evaporate any water left on the vehicle from the initial clean.

Trouble Areas

Areas like grills, wheel wells and fog lights accumulate a lot of road grit. Throughout the duration of your application, each time you open and close the doors, hood and trunk, a little of this road grit shakes loose and sticks to the adhesive of your graphic.

One way to prevent this is by applying masking tape to these areas. The masking tape will help catch any road grit that happens to come loose with the opening and closing of doors. Also, the masking tape will protect highly polished surfaces like chrome from the threat of wandering knife blades.

After the application is complete the masking tape can be removed.