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Applying Vinyl Decals on Car Window, Boats, & Before Car Waxing

waxing and washing after putting decals

Vinyl decals versus window wipers, & installing them on boats and prior to car wax application.

Question: Is it OK for my windshield wipers to hit my car window decal?

It isn’t probably going to do much good for it, but it depends on how much road grime and dirt is under your wipers. Over time, the wipers act like sandpaper in pushing grit over the decal repeatedly.

If your area gets a lot of rain, say an area like Seattle, Washington, it is likely that the water and spray off the road is relatively clean, so it’s not likely that, other than the very light abrasiveness of your windshield wiper, that the decal will be damaged too much in the short term.

Long term may be a different story, of course. But then you may have a hard time deciding whether the sun or the wipers did the actual damage.

Generally, though, you can put your car decals on the lower left or right of the rear window, so it won’t really be contacted by your windshield wiper, or you can even put in on the inside of the glass if your windows aren’t too darkly tinted.

Question:  Can vinyl graphics be applied to a boat?

Decals designed for BoatsAbsolutely. We’ve covered entire race boats with some very cool graphics, and even at high speeds, the vinyl boat graphics stay on without any trouble.

For Salt Water Contact

If your boat will be in salt water, you will want to make sure that whomever you contract to put vinyl decals or graphics on your boat knows that you’ll be boating on salt water, and uses the appropriate materials for that application.

Vinyl Boat Graphics are Waterproof

By their nature, vinyl graphic stickers that you put on your boat are waterproof. Vinyl is actually short for polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, and is a plastic that is also used to make water pipe, so contact with water is no problem for vinyl stickers and decals in the long haul. On the link above, you can see samples of the graphics you can apply to any sort of boat you may have.

Question:  Can I wax or wash my vehicle right after I install the decals?

That is a good question and the answer is yes, but with a caveat.

Decals on the WindshieldMost vinyl decals have an acrylic adhesive glue that reaches 95% of maximum strength within about 72 hours. So, when I say that yes, you can wash your car after installing decals, I also am strongly suggesting that you wait 3 days, or 2 if you’re as impatient as I am.

Take Note of This First

One thing to note about acrylic adhesives is that they do continue to harden over time, and if you have an auto decal you’ve applied to your vehicle, particularly if you put it on a painted area of your car, it will be easier to remove using a heat gun when you do decide to remove it.

When to Wax or Wash

As to waxing your car and your vehicle’s stickers or decals, that should really be no problem at all, at least after the initial 72 hours. In fact, it is probably more likely that your decals will be protected by the wax, just as your car’s paint job is also protected by waxing it.

Click here for custom printing of removable decals and stickers designed for cars and other types of vehicles. If you have more questions related to the topics above, feel free to leave them in the comment form below.


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Barry K. Brown

Barry Brown has been in the Sign, Banner, Decal and Display Business for over 20 years. It isn't what he thought he'd do with his life, but he says he knows too much now to do anything else!

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