The dashboard houses all the major components that you will be operating in the car. From the steering wheel, HVAC, audio system, everything within your hand’s reach accumulates dust and grime. Since the dashboard occupies most of the view when you are seated on driver’s seat, it is important that you maintain and keep it clean. Even while selling your car, you are sure to impress the new buyer with your swiping clean dash which will surely fetch a higher resale value. Moreover, the dashboard is made out of plastic which will disintegrate faster, if care isn’t taken from time to time.

Here is our step by step guide to cleaning your dashboard.

Things you will need –

1. Vacuum cleaner
2. Microfibre cloth
3. Water
4. Dashboard cleaner and protect-ant
5. Mild shampoo
6. Glass cleaner
7. Cotton swabs
8. Toothbrush
9. Paint brush

1. Vacuum The Dashboard

Car Vacuum Cleaner
The first and foremost thing to a cleanup is removing the excess dirt and grime. Use a portable vacuum cleaner to remove the dirt from the small corners of the dashboard. Use the fabric extension with bristles to avoid any scratches on the dash. Make sure you clean the lower portions of the dash both the driver and passenger side, which usually go unnoticed.

2. Dust Using A Brush Or Cloth

Microfibre Duster
Even after vacuuming the dash, it’s a good idea to use a duster (not the Renault) to clean the surface of the dashboard. You could also use a micro fibre cloth, since it attracts dust and cleans the surface well. Make sure the buttons, centre console, instrument cluster are all dusted. Use a paint brush for the areas where access is difficult, like the instrument cluster.

3. The Steering Wheel

The steering wheel is one of the dirtiest places in a car. It is subjected to anything our palms could go through throughout the day. If two people are using the same car, you are actually exposed to alien elements from the other driver as well and vice versa.

Spray the dashboard cleaner on the cloth to clean the steering wheel. This includes the wheel, horn, buttons that are on the steering wheel. Be gentle and rub the grip and wipe until clean. Don’t be too hard, especially on leather wrapped steering wheels, as it could erase the dye itself. For leather wrapped steering wheels and dashboard parts, make sure you use leather cleaner for effective cleaning and protection. If there happen to be stains on the steering wheel, just scrub mildly using the cloth to remove the stain. For the button gaps and the logo, make sure you use a cotton swab that will give you better access and a more thorough cleanup.

4. Instrument Cluster

Your instrument cluster is located right behind the steering wheel, unless you drive a car with the cluster located in the centre (Spark, Etios, Vista, Nano). Reaching the instrument cluster can be difficult since it is behind the steering wheel. It is best to use a cloth and a paint brush to remove any excess dirt from the instrument cluster. Make sure you do not rub or wipe too hard that it affects the needle or any of the lights in any way. Be very gentle around this region. Apply the glass cleaner and wipe the surface, again gently.

5. The Centre Console

2012 Honda Civic Center Console
Your centre console houses the music system, air-con controls, multimedia screen (optional) and the 12-volt socket. Vacuuming this space thoroughly will make your work easier right now. Dust tends to settle in between the buttons of the console giving a shabby appearance to the dashboard. For removing the dust, you will get the best results with a paint brush that gives better access to the crevices on the console. Make sure you clean and wipe all the buttons and sides of the console. Spray some glass cleaner on the micro fibre cloth and wipe the console, now use another dry cloth to wipe the surface dry. Make sure you also clean the cup holders and other tit bits on the console. If there is an empty space which unlikely in newer cars, it is better to get it blocked in the long run.

6. Air-Con Vents

Cleaning in the air-con vents involves not only the surface cleanup, but cleaning of the vent line as well. Before you clean the vents, start the car, open the doors and put the heater on full blast to remove any fungi that was evolving in the line, especially during monsoons. You need to do this for 10 minutes at least to completely clean the vent. You now need to clean the air vent blower. Make sure you wipe the vents using a damp cloth and get the dust out of the vents. Use a paint brush if necessary.

7. Pedals

Fiat Punto Sport Pedals
Another over looked part of the dashboard are the pedals namely accelerator, brake and clutch. After constant use, especially during monsoons, mud tends to accumulate on the rubber of the pedals that lead to loss of grip for the foot. To ensure you can easily operate the pedals, get them cleaned every once in a while. Once the dust is off; clean the rubber using a brush dipped in soap water to give it a clean and new look. Ensure that your carpets are also thoroughly cleaned and put back.

8. Gear Knob

Another part where our left hand constantly spends most of its time while driving is holding the gear knob. Using a damp cloth, first clean the surface of the gear knob. Use the cotton swab to clean the gear shifts on top of the gear knob. Using the cloth, make sure you wipe the surface around the gear knob and remove the excess dust. Now spray some dashboard cleaner on the cloth, leather cleaner for the leather wrapped knobs and wipe the gear knob completely. Be gentle around the gear knob though and try to not tear the wrap around the gear stick.

9. Glove Box

VW Jetta - Glovebox
Firstly clean your glove box of all the unwanted things from your car. Remove any CD’s which you don’t use anymore, then comes any old toll tickets that need to be thrown. Put the other essentials in a bag temporarily till the glove box is cleaned. Spray some dashboard cleanser in the glove box compartment as well as the door and wipe it with a cloth to clean it up thoroughly. Make sure you put back all the necessary essentials in the glove box once cleaned. On a daily basis, be gentle to open and close the glove box lid to not loosen it over time.

10. Apply The Dashboard Protect-ant

Clean Your Dashboard
At the end of the cleaning process, it is about maintaining the life of the dashboard. Use a dashboard protect-ant to keep the plastics surfaces clean, protected and shiny. The protect-ant provides UV protection that slows down the process of aging for the plastic anywhere in the car. Apply some protect-ant and wipe it on the surface with the help of a cloth and let it dry naturally. And that is the end of cleaning your dashboard.

Be very gentle when cleaning the dashboard, some parts may be very delicate and could break upon being harsh. For the larger surfaces of the dashboard, it is best to use a sponge or cloth dipped in a mixture of a mild shampoo and water to clean the stains and dirt and then use the dashboard cleaner for tough stains. Don’t use too much of water that it seeps through into the air vents or on to the buttons damaging the electrical systems. It is best to clean your dashboard completely at least once in 3 months.