There are numerous reasons cleaning the vinyl dashboard in your car is recommended, whether it be for increasing its value or just visually improving its aesthetic. The amount of force and type of cleaners used matter greatly so you do not do more harm than good when it is all said and done.
Have The Proper Tools
While wiping a tissue over vinyl may clear the surface initially, this will provide zero protection and not help in restoration either. Having the right pieces to help you along will make the process worthwhile. Having a low suction vacuum is recommended, but not a deal breaker. Some dashboards are more awkward in their shape than others, so a solid vacuum is effective. In addition, it is always a good idea to have a few microfiber towels on hand. Not only are these great for applying cleaners, they are soft and very forgiving on these surfaces. Finally, having the right ingredients in your vinyl cleaner is crucial. You always want to avoid brands that use alcohols or anything petroleum based, as they will leave a greasy residue even after it has been rubbed in.
“Spraying a dashboard directly will create unwanted streaks, as well as have the mist end up on your windows, center console and steering wheel… these chemicals will make these additional areas harder to clean later”
Vacuum The Vinyl
Using either a Shop Vac or Dustbuster, vacuum the vinyl on your dashboard to get rid of the dust and dirt that has accumulated. This is especially important in areas where they vinyl is wrapped and there
are cracks and crevices present.
Never Spray Directly On The Dashboard
When you feel the surface is clean enough to wipe cleaner onto, spray or apply the substance to a microfiber towel. Spraying a dashboard directly will create unwanted streaks, as well as have the mist end up on your windows, center console and steering wheel. These chemicals will make these additional areas harder to clean later. When applying medium pressure on the towel, rub in tiny circular sections until all of the vinyl has been addressed. It should begin to appear shiny and be smooth to the touch. After the cleaner of your choice has dried entirely after 20-30 minutes, do a final wipe down of the dash with your towel to promote its healthy finish.
Cleaning On A Budget
If you do not have access to detergent, a vacuum, or a microfiber towel, you can still do a serviceable job for your dashboard until you can let a professional take care of it. Using soapy cool water in a spray bottle can suffice if handled carefully. If you have the choice between a cloth or paper towels for wiping, the cloth is typically recommended. The more abrasive the applicator, the less successful the process will be. If you come across deeply embedded dirt, a soft bristled toothbrush can lift up the debris efficiently.
No matter how much time you spend on the interior of your vehicle, professional car detailers are the most foolproof plan to protect and restore your vinyl. Mixing their ingenuity and knowledge in conjunction with technique, they can make any dashboard look as if it is brand new. Additionally, these pros are experts at spotting potential vinyl cracking problems and solving them before they become an issue.