If you have ever searched the internet seeking the answer to this question, you have likely come across both ‘yes’ and ‘no’, which can be incredibly frustrating as a car owner. There are a few factors that come into play to accurately resolve this conundrum, so it is wise to know what exactly you are doing.
What Kind Of Wash?
To be clear, you CAN wash your car after tinting your windows, within reason. This is because window tint is applied to the inside of the windows, not the exterior. So if this is the case, why the caveat? A simple car wash on the outside can be applied immediately after a window tint, only if the seal around each window is secure. Moisture is its enemy, and will undo an expensive job in minutes if exposed. If you want to be extremely careful not to negatively affect the tint, it is smart to have professionals manage all cleaning activities.
“After the tinting has been applied, do not even think about washing the interior of your vehicle. The grace period for which one should wait is at least a week, and even that can be conservative depending on the type of application you received”
You can also wash your car after tinting if you do not plan to move your windows up and down. It cannot be stressed enough that this should be avoided. Not only will it damage the tint, it will be harder to fix as well.
How Is The Wash Applied?
You may have hand washing in mind, or be planning to go through a drive-thru wash, but of paramount importance is that whatever cleaner or detergent used is not ammonia based. Those that incorporate ammonia are the enemy of tinting, and even if you are clearing the outside only, can get through the seal and ruin your job.
Take Your Time
While coin washes are fine, you are playing with fire a bit if you are unsure of how well your vehicle shields soap and water. Washing by hand using a microfiber towel is the most beneficial way to clean the car, and this is also true of the interior when the grace period has passed.
Some people incorrectly assume that just using water to wash the inside is reasonable if it is absent of ammonia. Water alone will not destroy a tint, but will certainly compromise its application if it was freshly placed.
Pros Are Pros For A Reason
If you feel there is any gray area to applying a wash but are too proud of your tint to risk its longevity, it is recommended that you have an auto detailer complete the process for you. Not only do they have the right cleaners that do not affect the job (even through broken seals), they will also provide you more information on just how long you can wait with your particular type of tint before cleaning the interior as well.