How to Care for Elevator WrapsDECEMBER 16, 2019| SpeedPro
Now that you have the perfect elevator wrap, what can you do to keep it in good-as-new condition?
Don’t sweat it. We’ve got cleaning and maintenance best practices for those custom graphics keeping your elevator a cut above the rest. Learn how to clean, treat and remove spot stains from elevator wraps and decals so they look pristine for years to come. If only maintaining your elevator was that straightforward.
Dos and Don’ts for Maintaining Your Custom Elevator Graphics
Keep these ten practices top-of-mind when it comes to maintaining and preserving your custom elevator wraps across applications. Whether on your doors, panel walls, floor tiles — even the elevator’s ceiling — these basic care and maintenance steps won’t damage graphics inks, tear substrates or remove its protective laminates — the trifecta of caring for your elevator graphics.
1. Do Use Soap and Water
To clean your elevator graphics, prepare the following materials:
- Lint-free or microfiber cleaning cloth
- Bucket of warm water
- Mild soap
Ensure soap and water have mixed thoroughly for a sudsy base. Dip your microfiber cloth into the base, taking care to wring out any excess water. Then, apply the cloth gently over your graphics, starting in an image’s center and moving outward. Ensure that with each application, the cloth is relatively moist but not soaked.
When done washing, dry graphics with a second microfiber cloth or silicone squeegee, again starting in the center and working your way outward in smooth, linear strokes.
Optimal cleaning schedules for your elevator graphics will vary. There is no set timeline for washing graphics, particularly since every elevator sees different traffic levels across various environments and applications. At the end of the day, be sensible with timing your routine cleanings, doing so only when there are visible scuffs, dirt or grime.
2. Do Not Use Harsh Polishes or Chemical Solvents
Never use chemical solvents, polishes or cleaning agents in your soap mixture. Applying chemical cleaners onto your graphics will likely remove protective outer laminates, as well as damage the ink itself. Pigments will become discolored and saturated, blurring your graphics and irreversibly shortening their lifespans.
It’s also important to note that any graphics layered with matte or textured films should never be polished. Avoid abrasive polishes or similar chemical waxing products on these media.
3. Do Test Your Cleaning Products
Test any cleaning products before applying them to the entirety of your elevator graphics. Pick a small, inconspicuous spot, then dab on your cleaning solution to ensure no surface damage or ink discoloration occurs.
Follow the same logic for spot treating difficult stains on your graphics, such as dirt, fingerprints, smudges, tracks and residues. Apply a generous amount of suds from your cleaning mixture directly onto the stain. Leave the suds soaking for thirty seconds to one minute, then wash and rinse the spot thoroughly but gently with clean, warm water. Dry the spot with a microfiber towel or silicone squeegee.
4. Do Not Use Water That’s Too Hot or Too Cold
Harness your inner Goldilocks when mixing your soap-and-water cleaning solution. Water that’s too hot or too cold is too harsh on laminates and inks. If used frequently, wrong-temperature water could strip your graphics of their colors and sheen. However, the overall durability of your elevator door wraps and decals depends on the base inks used for its graphics, the traffic amounts of that elevator as well as any protective liquid laminate or overlaminate coatings that were applied.
5. Do Schedule Graphic Re-Waxing for Floor Graphics
If your elevator contains custom floor graphics and receives a steady stream of traffic — including contact with equipment such as wheeled carts, wheelchairs, gurneys and other transportation equipment — you may need to consider waxing.
However, waxing is only advised for floor graphics — not elevator graphics for doors, interior wall paneling or ceilings. Waxing these surfaces is not recommended and will likely strip away these graphics’ inks and finishes.
Consult with the manufacturer of your graphics before any floor waxing treatments. In particular, consider floor waxes or finishes that exceed the OSHA-recommended minimum of 0.5 Floor Coefficient of Friction Value for work surfaces.
6. Do Not Use Buffing Equipment
Buffing equipment is generally not recommended, even on floor graphics installed inside high-traffic or industrial elevator cabs. High-speed buffers are particularly problematic and likely to strip away outer graphic seals, coatings and finishes while tearing the decal’s media base.
Graphics may be partially protected against buffers via wax coatings. However, it may take upwards of five or more layers of wax seal to even begin providing enough of a shield for your interior elevator floor graphics to withstand manual or mechanical buffing. It’s best to avoid prematurely wearing your custom graphics altogether.
7. Do Use Soft Cleaning Tools
Microfiber towels, lint-free towels, sponges and soft-bristled toothbrushes (for small spot stains) are the recommended cleaning tools to use when maintaining your elevator graphics. Each of these tools allows you to apply enough pressure during cleanings without scratching or tearing any portion of a graphic’s surface.
For particularly difficult stains, apply your soapy water mixture directly onto the spot via a soft-bristled toothbrush. Use short but firm strokes to loosen and remove dirt or residue. The toothbrush will soften the debris without stripping your graphic surface. Use a second soft-bristled toothbrush or microfiber towel to then wipe away the grime, rinsing with lukewarm water and drying thoroughly.
8. Don’t Start at the Edges
Begin all cleaning in the center of your graphics, using long, gentle strokes to wipe away stains or polish surfaces. Use the same motion for drying graphics as well.
Starting at a decals’ or wraps’ edges can cause graphics to curl. This results in poor adhesion, with graphic corners peeling away from the base. Perforated films are particularly vulnerable to edge peeling. Be extra careful if perforated or mesh films make up any part of your elevator wraps.
9. Do Check the Manufacturer’s Cleaning Recommendations
Consult manufacturer’s guidelines before cleaning your custom elevator door skins. Guidelines may outline special care instructions or specific cleaning tools to use during your maintenance routine, which you may not be aware of.
Checking any manufacturer’s recommendations is especially important when cleaning elevator decals or wraps that are not laminated. The exposed inks may require additional protective steps to maintain color purity, saturation and quality. Again, always conduct a small test prior to your full elevator graphics cleaning.
10. Don’t Overthink It
Cleaning your elevator wraps is a relatively straightforward process using basic cleaning materials. As always, use common sense and patience when taking care of all large-format environmental graphics — including those high-impact, custom elevator images.
Take Care of Your Elevator Graphics
SpeedPro’s nationwide network of large-format studios can help ensure your caring for your elevator graphics properly — and conveniently. We design and print G7 Master Qualified large-format graphics, one of the highest certifications in the printing industry.
Find your local SpeedPro studio to ask about elevator graphics in your space.