In 2005, I had a Ford Focus which was my first car with PPF and I always use Hand Wash to clean my car. I do it to this day.

Can You Take PPF Through Car Wash?

Yes, you can take PPF (Paint Protection Film) through a car wash, although it is generally not recommended. The high-pressure water spraying every angle of your car can risk peeling the edges of the PPF.

Here are some of my Personal tips to keep in mind when washing your car with PPF:

  • Do not wash your car within the first seven days of having the PPF film applied (either hand wash or an automatic car wash).
  • Be diligent and remove any bug splatters and bird strikes immediately.
  • Wash with soapy water and a microfiber sponge.
  • Avoid using wax and polish products that contain solvents or petroleum.

Not to mention, if the car wash recycles water, it may contain mud, sand, and grime from previous washes, which can act like a sandblaster on your PPF.

I wouldn’t want that on my car and certainly not on my client’s car.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your PPF remains in top condition and continues to protect your car’s paint.

Types of Car Washes and Their Impact on PPF

When it comes to washing a car with paint protection film (PPF), you should know that it is important to choose the right type of car wash.

1. Touchless Car Wash

Recommend: Yes

A touchless car wash is the safest option for PPF.

Here is how it works: It uses high-pressure water and detergents to clean the car without touching the surface. So, your car will have no risk of damaging the PPF, which is a thin urethane film that is applied to the painted surfaces of a vehicle to protect the paint from scratches, chips, and other types of damage.

2. Brush Car Wash

Recommend: No

Next, we have the brush car wash which I personally avoid and will not recommend for your PPF Car.

For my current car which is a Hyundai Creta, I always go for hand wash as the brushes can scratch the surface of the PPF and cause damage.

Just for argument’s sake, let’s say the brushes are soft, but they can still cause damage over time.

3. Touch Car Wash

Recommend: Depends

I have this option for my own car wash and it depends on the customer’s preference.

We use soft cloths or brushes to clean the car and it is generally safe for regular paint, but it can cause damage to PPF over time.

So, my advice would be to avoid it but can be done once or twice in case of an emergency.

4. Hand Wash

Recommend: Yes (Best Option)

I personally only opt for hand wash and is the safest option for PPF.

You just have to use mild soap and a microfiber towel or sponge to gently clean the car.

Precautions For Pressure Washing a Car with PPF

Here are the precautions I take for my own car wash services:

  1. Use a low-pressure setting: Absolutely No high-pressure water as it can damage the PP. I always use a low-pressure setting no higher than 1200 PSI.
  2. Keep the nozzle at a safe distance: Try to keep the nozzle at least 12 inches away from the surface of the car.
  3. Use a wide-angle spray: I recommend using a 40-degree spray tip.
  4. Avoid using hot water: Please don’t use hot water. Use Common sense here
  5. Use a mild soap: When washing your car with PPF, it’s important to use a mild soap that won’t damage the PPF.
  6. Rinse thoroughly: I recommend rinsing it thoroughly and not just one time wipe down to remove any soap or dirt that may have accumulated on the PPF.
  7. Dry with a microfiber towel: Take a soft microfiber towel to dry your car after pressure washing it.

Pre-Wash Tips for PPF Care

  1. Rinse the car with water before washing to remove loose dirt and debris.
  2. Use a mild PPF cleaner to wash the car. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can damage the film. I use a microfiber mitt or sponge.
  3. Wash the car in a circular motion, starting from the top and working your way down. (Optional)
  4. Dry the car using a microfiber towel to prevent water spots.
  5. I always wash or wipe the film indoors and not in direct sunlight or when it’s hot. Basically, if you do this, The heat can cause the PPF to expand, making it more susceptible to damage.
  6. Apply wax every 3-6 months to protect the PPF.

Recommended Products for PPF Car Wash

I use these products daily on my car wash and you don’t have to buy all of them, but I will recommend having a few if you are gonna hand wash at home.

  1. A Bucket & Warm Water
  2. Q2M PPF Wash
  3. Q2M PPF Maintain
  4. Q2M PPF Renew
  5. Washpad
  6. Silk Dryer
  7. A Polisher or Finish Pad
  8. Microfiber Cloth
  9. pH Neutral Car Shampoo
  10. Sponge or Wash Mitt

Is hand washing recommended for cars with PPF?

Yes, Hand washing is recommended for cars with PPF because it’s a gentle way to remove dirt and debris without damaging the film. I Hand wash my car and all my client’s car.

That is the best option to avoid damage and please use a mild PPF cleaner and a soft sponge or mitt to gently wash the car in a circular motion.

Can an Automatic car wash damage PPF or ceramic coatings?

Yes and No. It depends on the type of automatic car wash you use. Some automatic car washes can damage PPF and ceramic coatings, while others are safe to use.

For my car wash, I have an automatic option, although I prefer hand wash.

You can also opt for touchless car washes or those that use soft cloth or foam brushes. These are typically safe options that won’t damage PPF or ceramic coatings.

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