How to Clean a Sticky Dashboard

How to Clean a Sticky Dashboard

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If you own an auto, then it’s pretty obvious you care a lot about its health from the body, the engine, the interior to the exterior. By maintaining top-notch care for your car, what you create is a first-class impression that improves the value of your dear auto. Now, while maintaining the health of your car, one of the areas that demand a regular inspection is the dashboard. Since it’s the one resting right on the face of your car’s interior, any issues can result in both structural and aesthetic damage to your auto. For that reason, it’s absolutely important that you learn how to clean a sticky dashboard.

A dashboard is a front panel that rests directly on the driver’s seat. Its main purpose is to display the instrumentation and the controls that operate your vehicle. For aesthetic reasons, the dashboard can be made using different materials such as vinyl, rubber, plastic, or leather. Coincidentally, the dashboard happens to be close to the engine compartment. So, due to the heat that’s generated by the engine, dirt, and debris resting on the surface of the dashboard can easily get sticky creating gunks. Since this adhesive residue is likely to ruin your car’s interior, this guide will discuss a step-by-step procedure on how to clean it.


But First, What Causes a Sticky Dashboard?


Now, the best thing about a melted dashboard is that it’s quite easy to see as it rests right in front of you. The bad thing, however, is that your dashboard is not supposed to melt. So, if it does, then it’s considered a defect that should be taken care of immediately. However, if you detect a sticky dashboard, here are some reasons that can be pointed out.

  • Excessive Heat: One of the factors that can cause a sticky dashboard is leaving your vehicle out in the direct sun for too long. This causes the dashboard to melt leaving a sticky residue that can be identified by touch or smell.
  • Your Car’s Age: Another major culprit that can be pointed out to a sticky dashboard is your car’s age. As your auto ages, the protective vinyl coating on the dashboard begins to wear out leaving it naturally stripped over time. This natural wear due to age is responsible for the sticky nature of your dashboard.


So, How Do You Clean a Sticky Dashboard?


Now that you’re aware of the two main reasons that are responsible for a sticky dashboard, our next step is to discuss a detailed step-by-step procedure on how to clean it. But, before you commence, it’s always wise that you inspect your dashboard to check whether it’s eligible to be cleaned or severely damaged to be replaced. In case the situation isn’t worse off, then you can follow this detailed procedure.

Gather Your Supplies

  • Swabs of soft cloth
  • Cleaning detergent
  • Warm water
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Vinyl upholstery cleaner


Step One: Clear the Dashboard

So, once you’ve gathered all the supplies, the first step of cleaning your sticky dashboard is to remove everything that’s near the dashboard. Once you’ve cleared all pieces of trash and debris, pick a clean cloth and wipe the dashboard thoroughly to remove any dust, dirt, and tiny debris that might scratch your dashboard when cleaning.

Here, some people prefer to use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment which is also great if you want to remove dirt particles from crevices or between the moldings on your dashboard.

Step Two: Mix Warm Water With Cleaning Detergent

Once you’ve wiped your dashboard, mix warm water with cleaning detergent and stir the mixture gently. Pick another soft cloth and dip it into the soapy solution. Rinse it gently to get rid of excess water before you start wiping the dashboard.

Rub the cloth on the surface of the dashboard until you see a black oily residue on the cloth. Soak the cloth back into the soapy water and wash it before rinsing it once more. Continue rubbing the cloth on the surface of your dashboard until you’re sure every bit of the sticky residue is removed.

Important: When wiping your dashboard, make sure that you use a damp cloth as excess water can damage your car’s electrical components. Also, in case the sticky residue is too stubborn to get off, you can use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the residue off the dash.

Step Three: Wipe the Dashboard

Once you’re through cleaning. Touch the dashboard to ensure it’s no longer sticky. Pick another clean cloth and rub it against the dashboard. When doing the final touches, don’t forget to run the cloth on the steering wheel, the radio system, the gear shift, and the glass dash cover. Once you’re done, leave the dashboard to dry up naturally.

Step Four: Apply a Vinyl Protectant

Once your dashboard is entirely dry, it’s time to give it an extra shine to improve its aesthetic appeal. Here, you’ll need to use a water-based vinyl protectant. So, pick a clean dry cloth and apply the protectant. Rub it gently against the dashboard until it looks shiny and appealing.

Important: Always avoid using silicone-based sealers as they can damage your dashboard or make the stickiness even worse.

Once you’re through, allow your dashboard to rest for some time to dry up entirely.



Now that you’ve cleaned your sticky dashboard to give it a new look, the last step is to protect it against harmful UV rays. To do that, we suggest parking your car under a shade or use a windshield cover to block heat and UV rays from getting to the dashboard.

Lastly, in case the procedure we’ve discussed here fails to work, then it’s advisable that you take your auto to a professional detailer. Here, they’ll access the severity of the situation to determine whether your dashboard will need to be repaired or replaced altogether.

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