I have an alpine white bmw with a clear bra. The edges are of the mask have turned black. I wash the car at least once a week but the edges never clean up. I haven’t tried polish or anything on them in fear of ruining the mask… what’s the best way to clean them? Great site btw….thanks -jc
Clear bra technology has given drivers a clear alternative to those bulky, black vinyl versions of the 80′s. While the protection is comparable, the upkeep is a little more involved. The problem is that by being made to look crystal clear, any imperfections can quickly draw one’s negative attention. But with some attention every now and then, and some careful maintenance, clear protective films can go on providing invisible protection for many years.
It isn’t uncommon for residue to build up along the edges in the film (where the film meets the paint). It can come from built up wax residue combined with a little bit of adhesive trapping all kinds of little contaminants resulting in the black line around edges. Luckily, you should be relatively easy to cleanup with some simple products and some patience. The only time it would require some expert attention is if the edges have started to lift from the paint. In which case I will offer a suggestion, but should probably be taken back to the installer so they can fix it.
You will need: Q-Tips, Toothpicks, 1 Microfiber, and some Isopropyl Alcohol “IPA” (at about 30% strength). Beging by using your toothpicks break loose any wax residue that may be left crusting up the edge. Do not push hard into the film to avoid lifting it from the paint. You just want to run it back in forth in short strokes without jamming it under the film.
Next, soak 5-10 Q-Tips in the IPA. With light pressure, work the Q-Tips along the edge. Be careful not to apply too much force as you will induce marring to both the film and the paint.
Finally, use your microfiber to wipe up the area and move on to the next. Take your time and don’t be afraid to use as many Q-Tips as you have to ensure a nice finish.
Unfortunately, if the edge of the film has started to lift, and the dirt is underneath it, you will need to remove that portion of the film. For this I recommend expert attention (the person that installed it). If, though, you want to do it yourself, you will need an Exact-O Knife. Using a fine tip market, draw your trim line. Carefully trim the lifted area with the blade following the line you’ve drawn. Use only enough pressure to cut through the film and not damage the paint. You can see where the installer might be a better choice for this problem.
When finished, think about the future. When waxing the film, be very careful as you get close to the edge. One way to prevent wax build up is to apply 1/4-inch tape over the edge of the film. Another way is to use application strokes that move front to back only (off the film towards the windshield but not back towards the film). By using this technique, you would push any wax back into the edge causing residue to build up and make that Clear Bra look more like something from the 80′s.
Thanks for your question and let me know if you have any questions or comments.
Wishing you many distinctive miles!