How to Clean Paint Protection Film

April 26, 2021

Just because the paint protection film on your vehicle is really special doesn't mean maintaining it is a complicated process. Cleaning paint protection film is easy. The high-quality 3M paint protection film that we use here at Auto Super Shield comes with an especially tough high-gloss clear-coat layer on the surface that makes it resistant to almost all surface mars and scratches. Keeping it clean and in good condition is just a matter of soap, water and a little common sense.

Things to avoid

Before you give your vehicle the first wash, there are some things I recommend you avoid when cleaning paint protection film. If you just had your film installed, do not wash your vehicle for 48 hours. This time is needed to allow the adhesive to set. After that, you can wash normally. I recommend a gentle hand wash in the shade. Pressure washers and commercial car washes can lift the edges of the film, so don't use these. You also want to avoid using harsh degreasers or bug and tar removers. Carefully wipe off any insect residue or bird dropping as soon as possible. The longer it remains on the film, the more acid it generates and the harder it is to remove. Make sure to lubricate a microfiber towel or a microfiber wash mitt with water or spray detail wax before you use it on protective film. Never wipe the film with a dry towel when it is dirty. Doing this is a sure way to create scratches on the surface. Paper towels and terry cloth are also too abrasive to use.

Gather your equipment

Your basic equipment should include one bucket filled with cold, soapy water and another bucket filled with cold, clean water. Use good-quality car wash soap. You should also have one or two microfiber towels or mitts for washing and another couple for drying. If there is a stiff tag on any of your towels you should tear it off to avoid scratching.

McLaren MP-4 Exotic Super Car

Rinse, wash, repeat

Begin by parking in the shade. Then, rinse the vehicle with a hose to remove dust and large debris. Start at the top of the vehicle and rinse downward. Keep the whole vehicle wet during the wash. Next, liberally apply soapy water to the top surface using the washing cloth or mitt. Once you've thoroughly soaped and wiped the top section, rinse the cleaning cloth in the bucket of clean water and put it into the soapy bucket. Use a generous amount of clean water to rinse the section. Repeat the procedure for each section. Just remember to work from top to bottom. If any dirt or residue remains, refill your wash bucket with water and a generous amount of Dawn liquid soap and repeat on the problem areas. If not, a clean clay bar will take care of any left over bug debris. Just be sure to use lubricant with the clay bar and only use a new piece of clay.


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