Clean Sticky and Stained Dashboards


In this article you will learn:

  • How to remove stains and sticky residue from your vehicle’s dashboard

  • Which cleaners are safe to use on your dashboard

  • When to clean your dashboard in your interior detailing routine

Accidents happen; we’ve all been there. Maybe you spilled food or coffee in the car and got it all over your plastic dash, or maybe you had a mishap with the pets or kids, and now you have a mess to clean. While you may just want to walk away from that sticky dashboard, it’s important to clean up spills and accidents sooner rather than later to prevent permanent stains and damage to your car interior. Plus, the mess will be much easier to clean the sooner you get to it!

In this guide, we’ll show you how to get rid of sticky stains on your dashboard to quickly spruce up the inside of your car. You’ll be shocked at what a huge difference a clean dash can make!

What you need to know

Keeping your dashboard clean is a great way to prolong that factory-fresh feel inside your car. If stains and sticky soils are allowed to dwell on your dash, they can magnify the damage caused by the sun’s harsh UV rays, putting extra stress on these surfaces. Plus, any chemicals from the food or drink you spilled will start to react with the plastic of your dashboard, potentially causing it to crack, fade and oxidize more quickly.

You should make a habit of cleaning your dashboard, along with the rest of your car interior, at least once a month to prevent this sort of damage. It’s also important to clean up any spills or mishaps that occur as soon as you can. The longer these sticky stains are allowed to dwell on your dash, the more difficult they are to remove.

Sometimes people make the mistake of using cleaners and protectants designed for car windows on their plastic dashboard and trim. Some may contain silicone polymers, alcohol and other chemicals that can make your dashboard slick and greasy or cause it to dry out and begin cracking and peeling. Instead, always use a purpose-built, interior cleaner like Turtle Wax Dash & Glass or Oxy Interior 1 to wipe down stains and soils on your plastic dash after vacuuming your floor mats and carpet. You’ll also need a gentle scrubbing pad like the Scrub Ninja or multiple cleaning cloths to encapsulate dirt and grime without scratching the inside of your car.

dash & glass cleaner

Start with a damp cloth and warm water

Your dashboard is a soft surface, so you should always start with the gentlest cleaning approach first to prevent further wear and tear to your interior plastics. Start by getting your microfiber cloth damp with warm water and wiping down the surface of your dashboard. If the stains and soils come clean, all you have to do is apply a protectant and call it a day!

However, if there are still stains stuck to your dash, you’ll need to switch to an interior detailer to get the job done.

start with a damp cloth and warm water

Apply an interior detailing spray

Spray an even layer of Dash & Glass all over your plastic panels. Use light, circular motions to agitate stains with your scrubbing pad or microfiber towel to allow the formula to break down these stubborn soils.

Once you’ve gotten rid of all the stains, soils and fingerprints on your dashboard, flip your microfiber cloth to a fresh side to wipe away any excess product and soils.

apply an interior detailing spray

Protect and condition your dashboard

Take a moment to admire your handiwork. Notice how much a spotless dashboard changes the atmosphere inside your car. Wouldn’t it be nice to make it last as long as possible?

That’s what an interior protectant is for. Interior protectants contain conditioning agents and UV inhibitors that keep your dashboard from drying, protecting it from the sun to make it easier to clean and maintain your car. We recommend a conventional protectant spray like Quick & Easy Inside & Out Protectant to keep that showroom look fresh while giving your dashboard a little extra shine.

Spray your protectant all over the surface of your dashboard and use a separate lint-free microfiber cloth to massage this product into every nook and cranny. Then, turn over your microfiber cloth and buff these surfaces to a nice, glossy sheen.

There you have. In just a few minutes, you cleaned up that sticky mess and protected futures ones from happening again!

protect and condition your dashboard


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