How to Take Care of Matte Vinyl Wraps

Matte, Wraps. Vinyl, Cleaning, How-To

Taking care of matte wraps isn’t all that different than taking care of a matte painted car. The surface needs to be cleaned and you don’t want to add a shine. It’s not difficult or meticulous, it’s just a frequent car wash routine and a particular set of products.

Let’s Start With the Products…

With any matte surface you’re simply trying to clean it and keep it as original as possible. That removes any need to purchase waxes or polishes. The reason being is that the purpose of a wax or polish is to make cars shine better. NOT our intent here.

Using a traditional car wash soap or detail spray is a bad idea as well. Many of them contain slight amounts of waxes, silicones, and optical brighteners to help give glossy cars a better shine when cleaned. It’s important to choose products that don’t have any waxes, silicone, or any other glossing agents in them. Only use dedicated matte care products that adhere to these specifications.

Because we’re not using a wax doesn’t mean that we can’t protect the surface! Using a liquid paint coating (dedicated to matte finishes) will effectively protect the surface from staining, fading, and etching. Essentially it has all the properties of a poly-sealant for glossy cars, it just doesn’t produce a shine on the finish.

Cleaning Matte Vinyl Wraps

Cleaning a matte vinyl wrap isn’t all that different than cleaning any other car. We recommend the two bucket wash system for effective cleaning without contamination. Stick to using your matte car wash soap and some plush wash mitts. Wash the car like you would any other car.

There’s no need to be particular in how you wash your car in terms of washing in straight lines or anything like that. When drying the car, always use clean microfiber towels. Dirty towels can track contaminants back onto the finish. Some people choose to dry the car with compressed air to minimize abrasion on the car.

For stuck on contaminants like bugs, bird droppings, or water spots, using a chemical cleaner will safely break down the contaminants and allow them to be removed with a microfiber towel.

It’s best practice to never try and wipe down any surface, let alone a matte wrap surface, without some sort of cleaner or lubricant. Having a quick detail spray allows you to clean up soft contaminants like finger prints, fresh bird droppings, and dust without risking damage to the surface.

Matte Wrap Damage

One of the best and maybe one of the worst things about a vinyl wrap is how they can be damaged. It’s one of the worst things because of how it’s so seemingly easy to damage any wrap, regardless of color. However, it’s one of the best things because it protects the paint underneath and when desired, can be stripped off and replaced.

Certain matte vinyl materials, like those of 3M and XPEL, are what are called “self healing wraps”. When someone leans up against a wrapped car and their bag or jeans scrape against the surface, it can leave indents in the wrap. However, these can be reversed with the use of a heat gun or a hot day.

Because of the way that wraps adhere to the surface and flatten out with heat, that same technology is used to correct imperfections in the wrap. Simply take a heat gun (or hair dryer) and keep it 6-12 inches away from the surface and heat up the wrap, the wrap will eventually smooth back out. This can also be done by leaving your car in the sun on a hot day, same idea.


If you have any thoughts or concerns about cleaning or protecting matte wrapped vehicles, feel free to reach out to us by leaving a comment below!