Dashboard Cleaner That Won’t Leave a Residue


In this article, you will learn:

  • Why you should use a dashboard cleaner that’s specifically formulated for car interiors

  • How to use a cleaning product with built-in protectants

  • When to clean your dashboard area for the neatest results

In most cars and trucks, the dashboard is one of the biggest trouble spots for dirt. It has large, horizontal surfaces that catch dust and debris, so it tends to get dirty faster than other areas of your car’s interior. To make matters worse, it’s a highly visible area of your car, so you and your passengers get a front row seat for every speck of dust, dirt and grime and every smudge or smear that happens to collect there. Those soils just sit there, center stage for everyone to see, under the spotlight of the sunshine coming through your windshield.

Cleaning messes from this area can bring its own set of issues, particularly if you use a cleaning product that isn’t designed for the job. Standard household or multi-purpose cleaners may get the surface clean, but they’ll likely leave streaks on the surface of your dash. In the end, your dashboard may be clean but still look as bad as it did before.

So how do you get your dashboard sparkling clean with zero streaks? Simple! Just follow these expert detailing tips!

What you need to know

When it comes interior surfaces, a lot of car owners grab a bottle of household cleaner and a roll of paper towels and start spraying. On one hand, this makes sense. The kinds of soils in your car are often the same kinds of messes you have in your house – dust, food and drink stains, fingerprints, oils from your skin, etc. However, if you only consider the soils you’re trying to remove, you’re overlooking the other half of the issue. You also need to consider the interior surfaces where those soils reside.

Look around your home. It’s filled with nonporous surfaces like glass, stone, ceramic tile, laminate materials and sealed woods. Your car interior and dashboard, on the other hand, are the opposite. They’re covered with porous materials, plastics and vinyl that will absorb the wrong kinds of cleaning solutions, leaving behind streaks, spots and residue.

Choosing a car dashboard cleaner that was specifically formulated for these porous, automotive interiors is the number-one way you can avoid leaving a new mess of residue on your dashboard as you wipe away the old one.

Unwanted residue versus wanted residue

When cleaning your dashboard, keep in mind there are two types of residue left by cleaning products. There’s the kind of residue that leaves streaks and smears from using the wrong type of cleaner, and then there’s the kind that comes from using automotive cleaners with integrated protectants, often called interior detailers. The residue these products leave behind is intentional. They don’t look smeared or streaked. In fact, they look shiny. As they clean your dash, interior detailers lay down a slick barrier of UV protection.

If you’ve used an interior detailer to clean your dashboard, you may prefer a less glossy finish. That’s okay. After you’ve finished cleaning, wipe the surface with a clean, dry microfiber cloth until you get the sheen you prefer. You’ll leave a thin layer of protectant to do its job while knocking down the level of shine.

Pro Tip: Always choose a soft, thick microfiber cloth over a paper towel when cleaning your dashboard, door panels and center console. The quality of paper towels varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some leave lint on the surface as you clean, and no paper towel is as soft or as absorbent as a high-quality microfiber cloth.

wipe the surface with a clean, dry microfiber cloth

Interior detailers for the win

Here at Turtle Wax, we’re big believers in using interior detailers to clean interior surfaces. Detailers protect your dashboard from the sun as it beats down on your car all day, every day. If left unprotected and unconditioned, interior plastics can dry out, fade and crack. Products like Hybrid Solutions Streak Free Mist Interior Detailer and Dash & Glass Interior Detailer get your dash showroom clean and help keep it looking great with outstanding UV protection.

Another huge advantage with both of these Turtle Wax detailers is that they’re formulated to clean all surfaces inside your car with no streaks. They’re safe and effective on glass, plastic, vinyl, wood and leather!

hybrid solutions streak free mist interior detailer

The right time for the job

The best time to clean your dashboard and surrounding plastic surfaces is after you’ve cleaned your upholstery and carpet and before you finish with the glass. Vacuuming and cleaning seats and carpet can stir up dust particles, which land on your dashboard and other horizontal surfaces. If you wait until after you finish these tasks, you’ll need only one pass to clean your dash. And because spraying your dashboard with a cleaning solution may get overspray on your windshield and windows, always clean the glass after the dash. This will ensure a super clean, streak-free finish on both surfaces.

There you have it – a simple way to clean and protect your dashboard with no streaks, smears or unwanted residue. The next time you climb behind the wheel, take a look at your beautifully clean dashboard and enjoy a job well-done!

clean car carpet


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