Cleaning interior surfaces

ejyejy Member Posts: 62
What do people out there use for cleaning their
dash boards, inside door panels, etc.? I've
checked out treatments by STP, ArmourAll, but it
seems theres a con for every pro. I have a '99 and
want the dash to look as good in 10 years as it
does today and I do not want it to have an oily or
greasy look. What to do for vinyl/plastic
interior materials?


  • gusgus Member Posts: 254
    Be sure to check out these other topics, which include a little or a lot about interior maintenance:

    Topic 56, Cleaners, Dressings, etc.

    Topic 61, Leather Seat Maintenance

    Topic 89, Store Bought Car Waxes
  • jbeaverjbeaver Member Posts: 1
    I've used Pledge on most interior surfaces, except leather. I know it's inexpensive and doesn't claim to have secret ingredients derived from the space program, but it works fine.

  • GATESRGATESR Member Posts: 13
    I use Vinylix(sp?) put out by the Lexol people. It prevents UV damage to the plastic and does not create a greasy look which promotes dangerous glare in the windshield on a sunny day.
  • ejyejy Member Posts: 62
    I actually bought a bottle of 'Meguiar's Vinyl Protectant' the other day. I looked all over for the Lexol stuff to no avail (all the car places here never even heard of it). It seems to have done a good job, but is a little shiny-er than I wanted but it says there's no oil or grease in it on the bottle. it will be interesting to see how long it lasts.

    It was a little hard to apply. I don't like spraying things directly on the surfaces, but wetting a towel and rubbing it in that way. It was a little hard to get a uniform coating this way.

    Does pledge have oil in it? I remember it making my mom's wood furniture pretty slick?
  • GATESRGATESR Member Posts: 13
    The potential trouble with anything put on vinyl that leaves a greasy top coat is that it doesn't allow the vinyl to breath and thus makes it more prone to dry up and crack, or so I've heard.
  • vivonavivona Member Posts: 410
    Be real careful with any vinyl protectant around the plastic cover of your dash gauges. Many of them can permanently mar the clear plastic. For this reason, I worry about using spray bottles of the stuff. I use Vinylex, which does come in a spray bottle, but I first pour it into a squeeze bottle. Then I squeeze it into a small sponge and wipe it on. I have found Vinylex at Pep Boys, Builder's Square and on the web at
  • GroveGrove Member Posts: 9
    A little off topic but same idea: Does Armor All
    or Finish2000 produce fading. I really like the look of a Wrangler that I saw with Armor All on the soft top and fender flares. I saw this on Vacation so I do not know long term effects. I would like to aplly this to my new Wrangler or something comparable.
    Any help please !!!!
  • StillwaterStillwater Member Posts: 44
    DON'T use Armor All on vinyl or rubber; it leaches out the solvents causing premature cracking. To avoid the cracking, you would have to regularly reapply Armor All--you could say that the material becomes addicted: you have to replace the leached out chemicals with something else (i.e., Armor All). In short, don't use silicone based cleaners for rubber or vinyl.
  • ChingCChingC Member Posts: 11
    Lots of people place "sun shield" stuffs on the dash board in hope of preventing dash board cracking. Does it really work? Have anyone tried the stuffs for some times and conclude that they work?
  • scottblascottbla Member Posts: 3
    Just shiny new Solara has a two-tone dash with a large part of it being a light ivory type color that wraps around from door across the bottom part of the dash to the other door. At any rate, I notice various smudges and stuff in it and was wondering what a good cleaner would be for it. Just use something like 409? Or a damp cloth?

  • hohohoho Member Posts: 64
    I have a 1988 Taurus S/W. I have the same Dash mat there since I bought the car new. No cracks, no problems. I have only taken it off maybe 2 or 3 times a year to vaccum. I have a n 1985 P/U, no mat and the dash is all busted up. You be the judge. If you live in an sunny area you might consider a darker color for the mat. It will reduce the glare (reflection from the dash or mat back up to the windshield) alot. The first one i got was a grey color and it reflected the sunlight back unto the inside of my windshield and made things worse. I fixed that by purchasing one that was duller in shine. It still matched the interior and did not reflect the sunlight. I have had it for 11 years and it is still going strong.

  • ChingCChingC Member Posts: 11
    Thanks for your advise and experiences. I will consider to install one on mine.
  • ejyejy Member Posts: 62
    I generally just use some water with a very very small amount of dishwashing liquid in it. 409 is probably to harsh for the materials used inside the car. Also, stay away from armorall because your car will become "addicted" to it.

    I don't like a greasy looking dash and I have found that Meguires vinyl protectant works fairly well - without giving a super high gloss. I also use a roll-up (the spring metal ring kind) sun-shield on the windshield, when the car is parked, to keep the dash from baking in the sun and fading.
  • georgedegeorgede Member Posts: 40
    Does anybody know of a good product to clean
    tinted windows?? I have a 97 Maxima and the back
    window looks very hazy and very hard to look out
    of. It may be the tint (metal), but it also looks
  • hohohoho Member Posts: 64
    You did not say how old your tint was. Is it scratched as well as hazy? Some metalic tinting films do haze up after time. The best way is to use warm soapy water. Followed by a soft cotton towel. If the haze remains and it is new film, take it back to where you got it installed and complain. If it is older and out of warranty you have three choices,

    1. Get used to it...
    2. Replace it...
    3. Next time buy a vehicle with factory tint inside the glass.
  • waddleswaddles Member Posts: 3
    I'm now driving a new zx 2 and I would like to know what should I use to clean the inside and outside of the car.

    Thanks Waddles
  • georgedegeorgede Member Posts: 40
    Thanks for your input. The tint is 2 years old. I'll try to clean it this weekend, if it doesn't
    work, I'll take it back as you suggested.
  • hohohoho Member Posts: 64
  • asthar40asthar40 Member Posts: 5
    I have been using armorall for over 10 years in the same car on my dash, doors, rubber door seals,tires etc. I have never ever had any problems. That is the best product on the market for cars period. I live in Miami where temperature most of the year is 95 degrees. I have never noticed any cracking on my dashboard. I park my car outside on the streets trust me it is damn hot here armor all protects it all year round.
  • georgedegeorgede Member Posts: 40
    You have a point there.. My daughter also uses
    armorall for a long time and no problems at all.
    I'm also in S Florida but 95 degrees??? When did
    we ever pass 93?? While half the country is over
    100, we got a little secret, The GULF BREEZE. This
    is the COOLEST spot right now....
  • asthar40asthar40 Member Posts: 5
    Well I had to exagerate a little about the temp, but hey inside the car it can reach up to 110 degrees.
  • Daniel13Daniel13 Member Posts: 3
    I also use Armorall for dashboard, rubberseals
    and weather stripping to keep them moist and
    hopefully protect them from the searing New York
    sun. However I read on another message
    board (vans) not to use Armorall because its
    made with petrolleum destillates and will cause
    interior items to crack.
    Dont know, Ive been using the stuff for many years with no problems.
  • khakiboykhakiboy Member Posts: 4
    I thought I'd be nice and clean my sister's car for her since I had been borrowing it. I used Armorall Interior cleaner and although I tried to be careful I ended up getting some on the plastic instrument panel cover! Now there's a haze over it. Any ideas how to get this off? Also, I just bought a 2000 Neon ES and am wondering what I should use to keep the interior in perfect condition. I think my Armorall days are done! There doesn't seem to be a clear consensus of what is best on here. Thanks!
  • coffeebizcoffeebiz Member Posts: 13
    Hi. I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to clean the headliner of a car? I'm afraid to use any chemicals on it being that it's so thin. Why about tips on cleaning the wood trim around the dashboard area? Any suggestions? Thanks.
  • csb1csb1 Member Posts: 16
    Hi...I'm trying to get rid of a lingering cigarette smell in a car that I'm thinking about purchasing. Have any of you had to do this in your car ?? I've contacted local carpet cleaning people, and they want 140 - 200 bucks for an interior disenfect and deoderize, and there are no guarantees that they can get the odor out. I know there are product available that you treat the carpet with and then vacuum up, but do these odor eater crystals really work ? One guy said he would "Ozone" the interior of the car...any idea about that ??? Thanks !!!!!
  • pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    No personal experience, but I've read around here several times that Febreeze will do the trick.
  • ejyejy Member Posts: 62
    Wood trim? I think Pledge was mentioned before- its what I use on my wood furniture... is it real or plastic? I use Meguires vinyl/plastic cleaner on the dash and 'plastic' wood in my car - it works well.

    Headliner: Would an drapery attachment on a vacuum work? I would try to use a very, very light touch.

    Febreeze, if it works as advertized, sounds promising, please let us know if you decide to use it and your results. Why, oh why, do people have to smoke in their cars, or even smoke at all??? (oops, we'll save that for another topic...)
  • pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    Off-topic, yes, but you made the swipe.

    People smoke in their cars because it is one of, if not THE only place left where they can do so in peace.

    Done right, it doesn't have to ruin the inside of a car, window cracked, cigarette held at the crack, blow the smoke out the crack, leave the a/c and heat on Fresh Air (not Recirc), and clean the ashtray regularly. Use interior cleaning products regularly, as one should do anyway.

    OTOH, if you smoke in a car like my parents used to do in the early fifties, windows closed, passengers just deal with it, you end up with a car like csb1 is dealing with.

    No need to be judgmental about an admittedly bad habit. I'm not judging you for any that you may have. Nor am I smoking in your space, only mine.

    Yes, I am sensitive about the constant criticism in this day and time of something that I wish I didn't do, but that I do happen to do, and I used to think I was free to make my own mistakes. Especially when I go to so much trouble to keep this particular mistake from affecting others.
    Any my smoking in my car is definitely not something you need to concern yourself with.
  • ejyejy Member Posts: 62
    No I am not judging you - it's your car, your habit, and not my problem. I just don't understand it because when you go to resell the car it will be worth even less smelling of smoke. I personally would not buy a car that was smoked in, but that is my problem (or the sellers problem, however you look at it)...

    Now the guy who flung his 'cig butt out his window this morning - and HIT MY CAR WITH IT - I have a problem with. Thank goodness for Zanio - there was no mark even after bouncing off my hood w/ sparks flying. Why can't all (not just some) smokers use ash trays? I'm not saying all smokers fling butts, but even one bad apple can sometimes make them all look rotten.

    Pat455, I am sorry if I offended you, but I am sensitive about my cars too.
  • guitarzanguitarzan Member Posts: 873
    Csb1, I have an ozone machine. It destroys any smell. Period. How much is the charge for it? I would recommend for anyone to buy one of these things. You can use it for any smell, anywhere, any time.

    Community Leader/Vans Conference
  • pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    Apology accepted. On Zaino we agree, awesome stuff! Also we agree on using the ashtray vs. flinging it out the window. But it is always a mistake to judge all by the actions of some. What you said about the bad apple wouldn't be acceptable if it were applied to some other group, say an ethnic group, than smokers. Hence my sensitivity.

    And I do believe that had you inspected my ten year old Accord when I sold it in April, you would not have known a smoker drove it for ten years. So I'm a lot less worried about the resale down the road than I am about my health down the road, believe it or not!!

    (I keep hiding my responses to you because they are off topic.)
  • coffeebizcoffeebiz Member Posts: 13
    For my headliner question, I was wondering how I could get stains out of it. Thanks.
  • gagpgagp Member Posts: 32
    Hey !

    This is an MPV 2000 forum, not a Mr. Net or Tide one ! Don't think your posts will help anyone who's wondering which minivan fits their needs...
  • gagpgagp Member Posts: 32
    Sorry... I thought I was on an MPV forum; just jumped from there. I apologize.
  • gspinelligspinelli Member Posts: 2
    If it were truly 'ozone' gas, it would be terrible stuff on a car, it is a very reactive gas and causes seriour oxidation of rubber and plastic and the like.

    What is this process really?
  • jeffewjeffew Member Posts: 8
    Re smoking in vehicles, it does become my problem when someone smokes in my vehicle or one that I am assigned to use. I am employed with a company that has a fleet of vehicle with multiple shifts therefore different users. Part of the union contract states that an employee can refuse to operate a vehicle that has been "smoked in" within the previous 48 hours. That includes smoking with the window or door open, as long as the odor can be detected, also the offending party can, after three warnings be suspended for three days. In the workplace smoking can only be done in certain desiginated areas, and those area do not include any lunchrooms. The penalty is the same for breaking that rule both supervisors and hourly employees have been suspended, usually loss of pay for three days is a good reason to quit smoking for good.
  • pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    This subject needs to be dropped, but your comments are irrelevant to mine. I was speaking of smoking in my own vehicle and did not say anything at all about a vehicle I do not own.
  • maxim5maxim5 Member Posts: 6
    What should I use for dashboard cleaning if I don't wand to get any changes of the original look? This is a new car and I don't want any extra shining, etc. I just would like to find something that will help to clean dashboard and also make some protection helping to keep it clean longer (e.g., antistatic effect to reduce dust). I tried couple things with my old car and they left some kind of wet look and shining which I don't want to get at new car. Thanks a lot.
  • pocahontaspocahontas Member Posts: 802
    Some of you wondering through here, may also be interested this new topic: Removing (dealer) stickers, labels, decals... topic #554 that is, without scratching the exterior/interior surfaces of your vehicle. If you have any questions, or advise, on this subject please stop by. Thanks.

    Community Leader/Coupe, Convertibles, and Sports Cars
  • cdg19cdg19 Member Posts: 15
    Has anyone heard of using baby oil on interior parts such as the dash? Someone told me that it was better than armorall which is water based and evaporates which leaves the dash faded. My dash is faded and was wondering if baby oil would bring the color back into it. Anyone with any experience? Thanks
  • michele1dmichele1d Member Posts: 1
    Does anyone know of how to remove a few ballpoint ink marks off a vinyl dashboard? Would appreciate any help - I called the car dealer but of course, they were of not much help.
  • pocahontaspocahontas Member Posts: 802
    It really depends how indelible the ink is and how long it's been there... and how small/large the area is? If it doesn't come off easily with a product like "Tuff Stuff" (be careful not to do more damage than is already there), you may want to try covering it with a matching vinyl touch up paint. Or have this done professionally... for a perfect match, would cost about $25 in our area (Florida).

    Btw, we had a couple very small spots on our Altima steering wheel front cover, and we purchased a vinyl repair kit at Pep Boys. We had to mix the paints to get a good match. Do this outside in broad day light.

    Anyway, someone else may have a better suggestion... but this worked for us. Good luck. ;-)

    Community Leader/Coupes, Convertibles, and Sports Cars
  • rikster1rikster1 Member Posts: 1
    I purchased a Cabrio convertible this past year
    and the inside of the top has gotten very dirty
    from driver/passenger hands when opening. Also
    dust and dirt from not using the boot during
    short trips. Any ideas on how to clean the inside
    top of the car? I was told not to use a toothbrush 'cause it would create the "balls" on the roof.
    Any other suggestions?
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    My wife gave me a part can of lemon Endust because her new furniture says not to use anything with silicone. Before I realized it had silicone I tried a little. I put a short spray on a synthetic wool wash mit (after I bought up a supply I learned that synthetic would scratch paint so now I use them as dusters) and wiped down the dash. It did leave a slight shine to the original, but really picked up the dust. Don't think I'll use anymore and search for something else even though the can recommends it for interiors. I've heard the Lexol vinyl and plastic stuff is pretty good.
  • coffeebizcoffeebiz Member Posts: 13
    What is the best carpet cleaning product that really deep cleans and removes old odors? Thanks in advance.
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    Coffeebiz, can't say that I've found one product that does this. Blue Coral Dri-Clean, Tuff Stuff, and Lifter 1 have done well on spots. There was a new product on one of the home shows this past week that appeared to work well for spots, but unfortunately, I didn't get the name. For deep cleaning I think my wife's steam vac will work reasonably well, but would require proper drying time and there are several products for odors on the market (Fabreze/Odor-X). I think you'll need some combination of the above.
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    I'm looking for a non-silicone protectant that is good for interior vinyl and rubber seals. Any suggestions?
  • ejyejy Member Posts: 62
    I've been using "Meguiars Clean, Shine, & Protect" on my 1 year old Solara since I started this topic. I like it - it works well and is not greasy and won't blind you with gloss. The reason I originally bought it was because it's not oil based like Armor All. Your dash will get addicted to oil based cleaners and will look dry and start to crack over time.
  • ejyejy Member Posts: 62
    Lexol Vinylex comes highly recommended from others at townhall, but no retailers in my area have ever heard of it... They should get out more.
  • rs_pettyrs_petty Member Posts: 423
    I looked at the Vinylex website and they say it has silicone. Several other chat sites have recommended it, but I don't understand its recommendation in light of the "don't use silicone" advice. I'm leaning towards Meguiar's #40 for routine use on most trim and rubber and then using a Zymol leather cream (had from a previous car, but never used it) on the dash several times a year. However, I can't find out if #40 also contains silicone. I'm leaning towards the assumption that if a product is good for leather it shouldn't hurt vinyl. Not sure that this means it is good for vinyl. Maybe I'm being too picky about it, but just looking for a good product that will protect the interior trim and not dry it out. My experience with Armor All is that it is ok as long as you use it, but you have to keep on using it once you start. BTW you should be able to mail order Vinylex from several different sites.
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