How to Clean Your Car's Dashboard

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One of the most fun parts of owning a car is keeping it clean. Sure, the actual process of cleaning a car might not be the most fun thing in the world, but having it clean? Well… few things can top that.
It’s easy to clean the outside of your car. If you are willing to pay money to save yourself time and effort, just go to a carwash, pay a few bucks, and you’re all set. If you’re looking to save cash, you can wash your vehicle at home with just a few supplies.
But cleaning the inside of your car is an entirely different ballgame. Unless you want to shell out a few hundred bucks for a detailer, the responsibility of keeping your car’s interior looking spick and span falls on your shoulders.
Thankfully, cleaning your car’s interior is a pretty easy task, and it doesn’t take much time or many materials to get your interior looking brand new. That process starts with the dashboard. You spend a lot of time looking at your car’s dashboard and a lot of time touching it. This means it is both primed to get pretty filthy over time, and it’s also one the most important element of the interior to clean. Read on to find out how!

Materials to Clean Your Dashboard

Here is what you’ll want to have on hand before you begin cleaning your dash.

Step 1: Clean the Car and Get a Stack of Rags or Wipes

Start with a clean work surface. That doesn’t mean other parts of the car need to be perfectly clean, but make sure that you don’t have stacks of paper on the dashboard and drinks in the cupholders.
You also want to make sure you have a nice supply of rags or wipes. A microfiber cloth is probably your best bet, since it won’t leave lint or fibers behind. Paper towels, on the other hand, just moves dust around vs removing it, and could possibly leave fibers behind. If you don’t have any microfiber rags on hand, you can also use automotive interior wipes.

Step 2: Wipe Everything Down With a Rag

Start by wiping down the main source of the dashboard with a damp rag or a wipe. Wipe it down back and forth, until the entire dashboard is looking clean and shiny. While you’re at it, wipe over the steering wheel and the flat parts of the center console, as well as your gear shifter and glove compartment.
If your dashboard is just dusty, it may be enough to just wipe everything down with warm water. However, if you’re facing tough stains or streaks, you should use both water and a mild soap when wiping down your dashboard.

Step 3: Use a Cotton Swab or a Soft Brush to Wipe Down the Vents

Now for the trickier bits. Getting the vents clean can be hard since a rag won’t fit, but you can use a cotton swab or a soft brush to wipe through the air vents and clean them out. Just be careful not to get the cotton stuck on any sticky pieces of dirt if you do use a swab.

Step 4: Wash and Dry the Buttons

Now we move onto the buttons on your center console. Give them a more thorough and detailed wiping than you did the main dashboard, since they have nooks and crannies where dust and dirt like to collect. Use a wet rag or a wipe to run along each button.

Step 5: Use a Toothbrush or Toothpick if Necessary

If you can’t get to some spots on the console, you can use a toothbrush or a toothpick. A toothbrush is great for getting around buttons and knows, and into corners and angles where you’re having a hard time getting a rag. And a toothpick works great for cracks between buttons if you see stuff stuck in there. If a toothpick is too wide, you can use a needle or a thumb tack.

Step 6: Clean the Gauge Glass

While the dashboard and console buttons dry from the damp rags and wipes, clean the glass that covers your gauge cluster. All you have to do is spray it with a spray bottle full of window cleaner, glass cleaner, or a water and vinegar solution. Once you’ve done that, wipe it away with a piece of newspaper.
If the other interior surfaces of your car and dashboard are still wet when you’re done cleaning the glass, you may use a dry, clean cloth to wipe the water up.

Step 7: Polish With a Specialty Product

Now, to make it shine. Use an automotive interior polish (you can find them at auto stores, online, or at department stores), and wipe down the dashboard and control console a second time. This will take your clean dashboard and make it look brand new.
Cleaning a car’s dashboard isn’t a hard process, and it can make your car look so much better when you’re inside it.

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