How You Can Clean Your Graphics Without Damaging Them
Originally authored By David Morgan, Technical Assistance, Drytac Europe
For anyone giving their site a deep clean, or simply sprucing things up during downtime, it’s important that disinfectant chemicals don’t cause damage to signage and displays. Museums, photo studios, retailers, schools and many more sites will have a range of graphics materials installed that will need to remain safely intact and in a good visual condition after cleaning.
Wall murals, decals, floor graphics, window displays and signage may all need cleaning, but how to approach this will depend on the graphics material, especially that of its overlaminate product. An overlaminate is used to enhance graphics but is also essential to protect an underlying image or surface from damage caused by UV exposure, scratches, graffiti and indeed cleaning chemicals.
Drytac’s range includes several types of overlaminating films, all of which will withstand cleaning with everyday commercially available cleaning agents and disinfectants, but for more intense cleaning it’s important to check the film’s chemical resistance. The majority of customers will be using a PVC, polyester or polypropylene film – all of which have different levels of chemical resistance.
PVC has good resistance to aliphatic alcohols such as isopropanol, a widely used disinfectant within pharmaceutics and hospitals and dilute acids/bases found in common cleaners like bleach. However, organic solvents such as ketones (for example acetone), aromatics like toluene, and esters should be avoided as they will damage the PVC material.
Polypropylene (PP) has a similar resistance to that of PVC and is also durable against esters. PET can withstand cleaning with all of the above, including organic solvents.
Regardless of your type of film, ensure that you wash your graphic with a soft non-abrasive wipe to avoid surface damage and scratches. Even the toughest overlaminate will suffer from attention with a rough brush. Be sure to take care with exposed edges; chemicals and liquids can detrimentally affect adhesives if given the opportunity to get underneath. This is especially crucial on floor graphics, as reduced adhesion could result in a tripping hazard – and of course these are the graphics likely to be cleaned more often.