Cleaning Vinyl Dashboards

by Charlotte Wood
(last updated January 23, 2012)

Your car may look just amazing when you first purchase it; the exterior is shiny and sparkling, the hubcaps gleam in the sun, the interior smells sensational, and the seats are crumb free and perfect. After a while however, you'll begin to notice signs of use, wear, and tear. The paint will start to look dull underneath that thin film of freeway grit, the hubcaps will collect mud splashes, the interior "new" smell will combine with a faint musty smell, the seats will begin collecting salt from French fries, and your dashboard will start to look a little neglected.

Now it's time to clean up that car and make it look great again! One of the big things you can do to make your car look new again is to clean that vinyl dashboard. It's pretty simple, and you just need to keep a few tips and tricks in mind. You will need the following supplies:

  • soft cleaning cloths
  • regular towel
  • microfiber towel
  • warm water
  • liquid car cleaner
  • toothbrush
  • vinyl protective spray

You need to prep your dashboard first by wiping it down with a towel wetted in warm water. Use the liquid car cleaner and spray it onto the dashboard, making sure to work the cleaner in with a soft cloth. Be sure that you get every area of the dashboard, and then let it dry before proceeding to the next step. (The liquid car cleaner can be found in any automotive store.)

If you have stubborn cracks and crevices where it is hard to reach the collected dust and dirt, use an old toothbrush to carefully do the cleaning. The toothbrush can also come in handy when cleaning around the defroster vents present in most dashboards.

Next, spray some vinyl protective solution onto a clean cloth and wipe down your entire vinyl dashboard. Keep spraying and wiping until you've covered the entire dashboard. You want to make sure you really cover the entire dashboard, so it's completely protected. You want to spray the solution onto the cloth first so that you can concentrate the cleaning on the dashboard; you don't want the spray to get onto the windshield or steering wheel. Let the spray sit on the dashboard for five to ten minutes; you want it to dry and be completely ready to go.

Finally, use the microfiber towel and give the dashboard a final wipe down. The microfiber towel picks up any lingering dust or fibers and will give the smooth and polished look.

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