What Do Detailers Clean Dashes With?

Looking to clean your car dashboard like a professional detailer? Discover the tools and techniques they use to achieve a pristine, showroom-worthy result.

Have you ever wondered what professional detailers use to clean car dashes? When it comes to getting that pristine, showroom-worthy look for your vehicle’s interior, detailers rely on a range of specialized products and techniques to tackle all the nooks and crannies. From specially formulated cleaning solutions to microfiber cloths, these experts know just what it takes to restore your dashboard to its original brilliance. In this article, we’ll explore the must-have tools and secrets of detailers, helping you achieve that same level of clean and shine for your own car.

Significance of Cleaning Car Dashboard

Understanding the importance of a clean dashboard

Keeping your car’s dashboard clean is not just about aesthetics, it’s also about maintaining the overall condition and value of your vehicle. A clean dashboard not only enhances the appearance of your car’s interior, but it also promotes a healthier and safer driving experience. Dust, dirt, and grime can accumulate on your dashboard, which can create a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Regularly cleaning your dashboard helps to eliminate these contaminants, creating a cleaner and more hygienic environment inside your car.

In addition to hygiene, a clean dashboard also plays a role in the longevity of your vehicle. Dust and dirt particles can eventually find their way into the intricate components of your car’s electronics, such as buttons, switches, and control panels. Over time, this can lead to malfunctioning or even permanent damage. By regularly cleaning your dashboard, you are not only ensuring a visually appealing interior, but also protecting the essential systems of your car from potential harm.

Impact of neglecting dashboard cleanliness

Neglecting the cleanliness of your car’s dashboard can have several negative consequences. Firstly, a dirty and cluttered dashboard can be distracting while driving. Dust and debris on the dashboard can reflect sunlight and cause glare, hampering your visibility and increasing the risk of accidents. Additionally, items left on the dashboard can become projectiles in the event of sudden stops or collisions, posing a safety hazard to both the driver and passengers.

Furthermore, neglecting to clean your dashboard on a regular basis can result in the build-up of grime and dirt that becomes difficult to remove. Stains and discoloration may occur, diminishing the aesthetic appeal of your car’s interior. This can also decrease the resale value of your vehicle, as potential buyers are likely to be deterred by an unkempt and unappealing dashboard. Taking the time to clean your dashboard regularly can help to prevent these issues and maintain the value of your car.

Common Materials Dashboard Detailers Use

Description of common dashboard materials

Car dashboards are typically made from a variety of materials, each requiring specific cleaning methods and products. Common materials used in car dashboards include:

  1. Plastic: Most dashboards are made of plastic, which is durable and resistant to damage. Plastic dashboards can be easily cleaned using mild cleaner solutions and microfiber cloths.
  2. Vinyl: Vinyl dashboards have a glossy finish and are commonly found in older cars. They are prone to fading and cracking over time if not properly cared for. Cleaning vinyl dashboards involves using gentle cleaners and conditioners specifically designed for vinyl surfaces.
  3. Leather: Some high-end cars feature leather dashboards, which add a touch of luxury to the interior. Cleaning leather dashboards requires specialized leather cleaners and conditioners to maintain their suppleness and prevent cracking.
  4. Wood Trim: Some luxury or classic cars have wood trim on their dashboards, adding a sophisticated look. Cleaning wood trim involves using non-abrasive cleaners and wood polish to maintain its natural shine and preserve its beauty.

Engineered materials used in car dashboard

Apart from the traditional materials mentioned above, modern car dashboards are also made using engineered materials. These materials are designed to be durable, resistant to fading, and easy to clean. Common engineered materials used in car dashboards include:

  1. Polyurethane: Polyurethane dashboards are often found in newer vehicles. They are highly resistant to damage and wear, making them easy to clean and maintain.
  2. Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO): TPO dashboards are known for their flexibility and impact resistance. They are commonly used in SUVs and trucks due to their resilience and ability to handle rough conditions.
  3. Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE): TPE dashboards offer a soft-touch feel while being resistant to scuffs and scratches. They require gentle cleaning to avoid damaging the material.
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Understanding the materials used in your car’s dashboard is crucial as it helps you choose the right cleaning products and methods to ensure effective and safe cleaning.

What Do Detailers Clean Dashes With?

Pre-Cleaning Process of Dashboard Detailing

Inspection of the dashboard

Before starting the cleaning process, it is essential to inspect your dashboard thoroughly. Remove any loose items such as papers, trash, or small objects that may have accumulated on the surface. Check for any cracks, scratches, or damage that may require specific attention or repair. This inspection allows you to assess the condition of your dashboard and determine the best approach for cleaning.

Pre-cleaning with a microfiber cloth

Once you have completed the initial inspection, it is time to pre-clean your dashboard to remove loose dust and debris. Start by using a soft microfiber cloth to gently wipe the entire dashboard. Microfiber cloths are ideal for this task as they are lint-free and designed to trap dust particles effectively. Ensure that you cover all areas, including vents, buttons, and crevices. This pre-cleaning step helps to prepare the surface for deeper cleaning and ensures that loose dirt does not get spread around during the subsequent cleaning process.

Role of Vacuum Cleaner in Dashboard Detailing

Benefits of using a vacuum cleaner

The use of a vacuum cleaner is highly beneficial when it comes to dashboard detailing. A vacuum cleaner equipped with a soft brush attachment helps to remove stubborn dirt, dust, and debris that may have settled into crevices and hard-to-reach areas of your dashboard. The suction power of the vacuum effectively pulls out these particles without damaging the surface.

Using a vacuum cleaner also eliminates the need for excessive wiping or brushing, reducing the risk of scratches or abrasion on delicate dashboard surfaces. This time-saving tool is especially handy for cleaning textured surfaces, such as those with intricate patterns or grooves. By efficiently removing dirt and debris, a vacuum cleaner ensures a thorough cleaning and helps restore the pristine condition of your dashboard.

Precautions while using vacuum cleaner on dashboard

While a vacuum cleaner is an effective tool for cleaning your dashboard, it is important to take certain precautions to avoid any potential damage:

  1. Use a soft brush attachment: Ensure that the brush attachment of the vacuum cleaner is soft and gentle. Avoid using attachments with stiff bristles that may scratch or scuff the surface of your dashboard.
  2. Adjust the suction power: If your vacuum cleaner allows for adjustable suction power, set it to a lower setting to avoid excessive force on the delicate dashboard materials.
  3. Avoid sharp edges: Be cautious not to drag sharp edges or parts of the vacuum cleaner against the dashboard as this can cause scratches or other damage.

By following these precautions, you can effectively use a vacuum cleaner to clean your dashboard without causing any harm.

What Do Detailers Clean Dashes With?

Usage of Detailing Brushes in Dashboard Cleaning

Different types of detailing brushes

Detailing brushes are versatile tools that can be used to deep clean your dashboard effectively. Various types of detailing brushes are available, each suited for different purposes:

  1. Soft-bristle brush: This type of brush is designed for delicate surfaces like leather or wood. It gently lifts dust and grime without causing any scratches or damage.
  2. Medium- or stiff-bristle brush: These brushes are ideal for textured or hard surfaces like plastic or vinyl. They efficiently remove dirt from nooks and crannies.
  3. Wheel brush: A wheel brush with firm bristles can be repurposed for cleaning dashboard vents that can be challenging to reach. The bristles can access tight spaces and dislodge dust particles for easy removal.
  4. Detailing swabs: These small, cotton-tipped swabs are handy for cleaning small crevices and buttons where brushes might not reach easily.

Using a combination of these detailing brushes ensures thorough cleaning and prevents the accumulation of hidden dirt and dust on your dashboard.

Techniques with the detailing brush

When using detailing brushes, it’s important to employ the proper techniques to achieve the best results:

  1. Start with dry brushing: Begin by gently dry brushing the dashboard surface to remove loose dust and debris. This helps prevent scratching when using cleaning agents later on.
  2. Detail in sections: Work in small sections, focusing on one area at a time. This ensures a systematic approach and allows you to give attention to intricate details and hard-to-reach places.
  3. Use light pressure: Apply gentle pressure while using the detailing brush to avoid damaging the surface.
  4. In circular motions: Use circular motions while brushing to effectively lift dirt and grime. This motion helps dislodge particles from the surface and ensures a thorough clean.
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By employing these techniques, you can effectively utilize detailing brushes to achieve a spotless and well-maintained dashboard.

Non-Abrasive Soaps and Dashboard Cleaning

Why it is important to use non-abrasive soaps

Choosing the right soap for cleaning your dashboard is crucial to prevent any damage to the delicate materials. Non-abrasive soaps are specifically formulated to clean without scratching or dulling the dashboard surface. They effectively remove dirt, grease, and stains, while leaving the dashboard looking fresh and clean.

Abrasive soaps, on the other hand, contain harsh chemicals or abrasive particles that can cause scratches and remove the protective coating on your dashboard. Avoid using dishwashing detergents, household cleaners, or any soap that is not specifically designed for automotive surfaces. Opt for non-abrasive soaps that are gentle yet effective in lifting dirt and grime without compromising the integrity of the materials.

Process of applying soap on dashboard

To clean your dashboard using a non-abrasive soap, follow these steps:

  1. Dilute the soap: Mix the non-abrasive soap with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This ensures proper dilution and prevents any excessive residue that may be difficult to remove.
  2. Wet the microfiber cloth: Soak a microfiber cloth in the soapy solution and wring out any excess liquid.
  3. Gently clean the dashboard: Starting from the top, wipe the dashboard in a gentle, circular motion. Ensure that you cover all areas, including buttons, knobs, and vents.
  4. Rinse the cloth: Rinse the cloth in clean water and wring out the excess moisture. Wipe the dashboard again to remove any soapy residue.
  5. Dry the dashboard: Once the cleaning is complete, use a dry microfiber cloth to gently pat the dashboard dry. This helps prevent any water spots or streaks from forming.

By using non-abrasive soaps and following the proper cleaning process, you can effectively remove dirt and grime from your dashboard without causing any damage.

What Do Detailers Clean Dashes With?

Significance of Conditioning in Dashboard Cleaning

Types of dashboard conditioners

Conditioning your dashboard is a crucial step in maintaining its cleanliness and longevity. There are different types of dashboard conditioners available, each aiming to nourish and protect specific materials:

  1. Vinyl conditioner: Vinyl conditioners help restore color, add shine, and prevent cracking or fading of vinyl dashboards. They provide a protective layer that shields the material from harmful UV rays and general wear and tear.
  2. Leather conditioner: Leather conditioners moisturize and replenish the natural oils of leather dashboards, preventing them from drying out and becoming brittle. They help maintain the suppleness, color, and sheen of the leather while protecting it from cracking and discoloration.
  3. Multi-surface conditioner: Multi-surface conditioners are designed to work on various materials, including plastics, vinyl, and rubber. They offer a versatile solution for conditioning different parts of your dashboard, ensuring uniform protection and a well-maintained appearance.

How to properly apply conditioner on dashboard

To properly apply conditioner on your dashboard, follow these steps:

  1. Choose the appropriate conditioner: Select a conditioner that suits the material of your dashboard.
  2. Clean the dashboard: Before applying the conditioner, ensure that the dashboard is thoroughly clean and free from dust or debris.
  3. Apply a small amount: Take a small amount of conditioner on a clean, soft cloth or applicator pad. Start with a dime-sized amount and add more if necessary.
  4. Spread the conditioner: Gently spread the conditioner on the dashboard, using circular motions. Ensure that you cover all areas uniformly, including corners and edges.
  5. Allow the conditioner to absorb: Let the conditioner sit on the dashboard as per the manufacturer’s instructions. This allows it to penetrate the materials and provide optimal protection.
  6. Wipe off excess: After the recommended time, use a clean cloth to wipe off any excess conditioner. This helps avoid a sticky or greasy residue.

By regularly conditioning your dashboard, you can prolong its lifespan, enhance its appearance, and protect it from wear and tear.

Importance of Microfiber Cloth in Dashboard Detailing

Characteristics of microfiber cloth

Microfiber cloths are an essential tool for dashboard detailing due to their unique characteristics and benefits:

  1. Superior absorbency: Microfiber cloths are designed to absorb moisture efficiently, making them ideal for wiping down surfaces without leaving streaks or water spots.
  2. Gentle and non-abrasive: The fibers of a microfiber cloth are extremely fine and soft, making them safe to use on delicate surfaces. They won’t cause scratches or damage, even on polished or glossy materials.
  3. Lint-free: Microfiber cloths are lint-free, which means they won’t leave behind any fibers or particles when cleaning. This ensures a thorough and spotless finish.
  4. Versatile: Microfiber cloths can be used for both dry and wet cleaning. They can easily pick up dust, dirt, and grime when dry, and effectively absorb cleaning agents when dampened.

Techniques of using microfiber cloth in dashboard detailing

To make the most of your microfiber cloth during dashboard detailing, follow these techniques:

  1. Dry dusting: For routine maintenance or minor dusting, use a dry microfiber cloth to gently wipe the dashboard surface. Start from the top and work your way down, ensuring that you cover all areas.
  2. Damp cleaning: For deeper cleaning, lightly dampen a microfiber cloth with water or a cleaning solution. Wipe the dashboard in gentle, circular motions, applying even pressure. Rinse the cloth frequently to prevent dirt from spreading.
  3. Absorbing spills: In the event of spills or stains, immediately use a dry microfiber cloth to gently blot the affected area. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing, as this may spread the spill or push it deeper into the material.
  4. Polishing: To add a final touch of shine, use a clean, dry microfiber cloth to gently buff the dashboard surface. This helps remove any remaining streaks or smudges, leaving a polished finish.
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By utilizing the characteristics and techniques of microfiber cloth, you can achieve a thoroughly cleaned and well-maintained dashboard.

Final Inspection after Dashboard Cleaning

What to look for in a clean dashboard

After completing the cleaning process, it is important to conduct a final inspection to ensure that your dashboard is spotless and in optimal condition. During the final inspection, pay attention to the following aspects:

  1. Dust and grime: Check for any remaining dust or grime that may have been missed during the cleaning process. Wipe down any areas that require additional cleaning.
  2. Streaks and smudges: Look for streaks or smudges on the dashboard surface, especially in areas with glossy or reflective finishes. Use a dry microfiber cloth to gently buff out any imperfections.
  3. Lingering odors: Sniff the interior of your car and ensure there are no lingering odors. If necessary, use an odor-eliminating spray or an air freshener to maintain a pleasant scent.
  4. Loose items: Check for any loose items that may have been left behind or repositioned during the cleaning process. Remove any objects that are not necessary or may become a distraction while driving.

Possible issues and their solutions after cleaning

During the final inspection, you may come across some potential issues that require attention. Here are a few common problems and suggested solutions:

  1. Stains or discoloration: If you notice any stubborn stains or discoloration on your dashboard, consider using a specialized cleaner or stain remover that is suitable for your dashboard material. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and apply the cleaner sparingly to avoid damaging the surface.
  2. Scratches or scuffs: Minor scratches or scuffs can sometimes occur during the cleaning process. To rectify this, use a scratch remover or a small amount of toothpaste on a soft cloth to gently buff the affected area. Be cautious not to apply excessive force or use abrasive materials that could make the damage worse.
  3. Lingering dust or debris: If you notice any lingering dust or debris, use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to remove it. Ensure that you cover all areas, including seams, crevices, and vents.
  4. Faded or worn-out appearance: For dashboards that appear faded or worn-out, consider using a protective dressing or conditioner. These products help restore the vibrancy and shine of your dashboard, making it look fresh and rejuvenated.

By conducting a final inspection and addressing any potential issues promptly, you can ensure a clean, flawless, and well-preserved dashboard.

Maintaining Cleanliness of Dashboard

Regular maintenance tips for dashboard

Maintaining the cleanliness of your dashboard requires regular care and attention. Here are some tips to help keep your dashboard in pristine condition:

  1. Regular dusting: Dust your dashboard at least once a week using a dry microfiber cloth. This prevents the accumulation of dust and keeps your dashboard looking fresh.
  2. Prompt spill cleanup: Immediately clean up any spills or stains to prevent them from seeping into the materials and causing damage. Use a clean microfiber cloth to blot the spill and avoid rubbing.
  3. Avoid direct sunlight: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause fading and cracking of your dashboard. Whenever possible, park in shaded areas or use a windshield sunshade to protect your dashboard.
  4. Use protective mats: Place a non-slip mat or dashboard cover on your dashboard to protect it from scratches, spills, and sun damage caused by items like keys, sunglasses, or mobile phones.
  5. Avoid harsh cleaners: Stick to non-abrasive cleaners specifically designed for automotive surfaces. Harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners can damage or fade your dashboard materials.
  6. Regular conditioning: Depending on the material of your dashboard, regularly condition it using appropriate products to replenish moisture, restore luster, and protect against cracking or discoloration.

Do’s and don’ts of dashboard upkeep

To effectively upkeep your dashboard, keep these do’s and don’ts in mind:


  • Do clean your dashboard regularly to prevent dirt and grime buildup.
  • Do use appropriate cleaning tools such as microfiber cloths, detailing brushes, and vacuum cleaners.
  • Do follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using cleaning products and conditioners.
  • Do address spills and stains promptly to avoid permanent damage.
  • Do protect your dashboard from direct sunlight and excessive heat.


  • Don’t use abrasive materials or harsh chemicals on your dashboard.
  • Don’t neglect regular maintenance, as it can lead to permanent damage or deterioration.
  • Don’t ignore warning signs of damage or wear. Address them promptly to avoid further issues.
  • Don’t leave loose items or clutter on your dashboard, as they can become projectiles during sudden stops or collisions.
  • Don’t use excessive force or apply excessive pressure when cleaning, as it can cause scratches or damage.

By following these maintenance tips and adhering to the do’s and don’ts, you can ensure that your dashboard remains clean, visually appealing, and in optimal condition over time.

In conclusion, cleaning your car’s dashboard is not just about aesthetics, but also about maintaining hygiene, preserving its value, and enhancing your overall driving experience. By understanding the significance of a clean dashboard, recognizing the common materials used, and employing the right cleaning techniques and tools, you can enjoy a spotless and well-maintained dashboard for years to come. Remember to conduct regular inspections, address any issues promptly, and follow the do’s and don’ts of dashboard upkeep to ensure a consistently clean and appealing interior in your car.