The first thing you look at when you climb into your car is the dashboard. Or, maybe it’s another piece of plastic trim such as the door card or center console.
Sitting in a vehicle that’s full of hairs, dirt, dust, and crumbs isn’t nice. In fact, it can even affect you mentally. It’s proven that men & women that live a cluttered or dirty life are more likely to be “fatigued” or “depressed”.
Okay, having a dirty dash may not make you depressed but it could make you feel unclean. It could also decrease the amount of time that you want to spend in your car.
In this article, I’m going to tell you the best car dashboard cleaners, polishes, and protectants. Using these will make keeping your dashboard and car interiors clean super easy.
The best car dashboard cleaners & interior cleaners are products that have been specifically designed to clean the interior of your car. They’re strong enough to clean almost any type of contamination, but not too strong that they damage anything.
This article will teach you what to look for when buying a dashboard or interior cleaner. I’ll also help you learn the differences between the products and the surfaces they should be used on, as well as how to protect the dashboard and interior of your car.
I’ve also added a safe “DIY” solution at the end for those not in a position to buy the products mentioned in this article.
What To Look For In A Car Dashboard Cleaner
Surface Type – A lot of dashboard cleaner are just all-purpose cleaners diluted with other additives mixed in to make them unique.
The majority of them will be useable on almost any surface whether it’s plastic, leather, PVC or vinyl. Some will even work on fabric and cloth too.
However, if you’re cleaning something like Alcantara you may want to use a specific Alcantara cleaner or even different cleaning methods altogether.
Pay attention to what the bottle says. Make sure they’re 100% safe to use on your interior before you even begin to use it. For example, there are many products that aren’t safe on leather such as Sonax.
If you want the best interior cleaner for your car buy the ones that are made for the exact material you’re trying to clean.
Cleaning Ability – Once you’ve found a product that’s suitable, the next most important thing is that it cleans well.
There’s no point in buying a product if it doesn’t clean well. Instead of cleaning your dash and interior, you’d be wasting time massaging it.
The cleaning power will change between products.
If you have a product from concentrate you can make the product stronger or weaker by changing the dilution. You don’t get this luxury using pre-diluted bottles, the only way is to use more product but that doesn’t always work.
Ingredients – The car dashboard and interior trims are easy to damage. Replacing a dashboard is a significant and expensive task, so taking harsh products to it is the last thing you want to do.
The harsher products could leave permanent stains, residue, or even discoloration on your interior. I’ve also found that they could start to have an effect on you and your passengers’ heads too.
(I had Bilt Hamber Wheel Cleaner in my room for a couple of weeks and for that whole time I woke up with a super sore head).
Research the ingredients list before you buy it.
Best Dashboard Cleaner For Cars
When I find a product good it doesn’t guarantee that you will. You may even need a different product. Not every product is going to suit your needs.
That said, most dashboard cleaners offer the same features. The main differences are cleaning power, scent, and value for money.
Many products also have protective qualities, but not all. Pay attention otherwise, you may have to buy twice.
Personally, I found these 3 products to be the dashboard and interior cleaners:
The Best Dashboard Cleaner: CarGuys Super Cleaner
Cheapest Solution: TurtleWax Dash & Glass Interior Cleaner
My Go-To: Meguiars Ultimate Interior Detailer
If you want to do more research, below is a review of every dashboard cleaner that I recommend. Try and use my reviews to educate yourself on each product and buy the right one for you.
CarGuys Super Cleaner
Safe on Surfaces: Upholstery, Fabric, Canvas, Leather, Vinyl, Plastic, Rubber, Trim & More
Buy on Amazon: 18oz
The CarGuys Super Cleaner is the highest-rated cleaner on Amazon with over 15000+ positive reviews.
Super Cleaner is easy to use and is an incredibly flexible product. It’s completely safe to use on your dashboard, interior, and upholstery. In fact it’s an “all-purpose cleaner” so can even be used to remove bugs and tar if you want.
Don’t use it on glass or instrument clusters though, it leaves a hazy finish behind. Even the CarGuys warn against it.
When used correctly, this product provides great cleaning power that cleans most, if not all types of dashboard and door card grime you may have.
Whether it’s wiping your dashboard, a door card, or even cleaning your car seats you can do it all with the Car Guys super cleaner.
The super cleaner claims to be completely streak-free and smell-free.
It seems to be the case, however, there is the odd report of customers being left with a streaky dashboard. Perhaps they were just using too much product?!
Unfortunately despite the “premium” price point, there are no added benefits to this product. It’s simply a cleaner, it doesn’t protect from UV Rays and it doesn’t offer anti-static qualities.
Because of this, you may choose to avoid the product or buy a trim dressing or protectant to accompany this product.
The “Super Cleaner” is a very nicely branded product that’s versatile and offers great cleaning power. It’s also completely free of any harmful substances and as a purchasing bonus, the 18oz bottle comes with a free towel.
Buy the Car Guys Super Cleaner Today From Amazon.com
Meguiar’s Ultimate Interior Detailer
Safe on Surfaces: Nav Screens, Clusters, Upholstery, Fabric, Leather, Vinyl, Plastic, Rubber, Trim, & More
Buy on Amazon: 15oz
Meguiars Ultimate Interior Detailer is a product that I use often myself.
If you’re not familiar, Meguiars is one of the leading detailing brands and they produce many great products.
The main selling point for this one has to be the fact that it’s so easy to use. It cleans and protects ALL interior surfaces. This includes clusters and sensitive screens!
When cleaning my car, the steering wheel is always the most contaminated part. The Ultimate Interior Detailer made it look brand new, leaving behind a non-greasy, streak-free finish.
Meguiars also claim that it’s safe to use on more delicate areas such as the instrument cluster and LCD Screens. I’ve not found any evidence to suggest otherwise.
As for the smell, it seems to be hit or miss. I’ve not had any problems with it, but out of the people I’ve spoken to, 50% say it smells alright, and the other 50% say it smells of puke.
The Added UV Protection seems to work well, not having to spend extra money on a protectant is definitely a bonus.
I’ve also found that despite not listing any “anti-static” features, the dry finish repels a lot of hairs and dust that may have otherwise stuck.
Meguiars Ultimate Interior Detailer is a versatile product that is also super convenient. The fact that it’s a leading detailing brand means that you can pick it up almost anywhere at very competitive price points.
Buy Meguiars Ultimate Interior Detailer From Amazon.com
Turtle Wax Dash & Glass Interior Cleaner
Safe on Surfaces: Dashboards, Glass, Navigation Screens, Plastic, Rubber, Trim, Gloss surfaces
Buy on Amazon: 12oz
Everybody knows TurtleWax. You can buy their products everywhere and they pride themselves on quick and easy car care.
This is exactly what the Dash & Glass cleaner promises. It’s a one-step product designed to deliver maximum shine and protection in a matter of minutes.
When using products that are only suitable for certain surfaces, it takes much longer. This is because you’re trying to avoid getting product on the surfaces it’s “not safe” for.
Ever tried cleaning products or grease off a windscreen? It can take more than many attempts to remove it.
Thankfully Turtlewax allows for a carefree application. You can spray it pretty much anywhere without worrying.
Using this dash cleaner will give you great cleaning power and little worry, leaving behind a dry, streak-free finish. It doesn’t smell too bad either!
The one thing I would say is despite it claiming to be a glass cleaner, it’s not the best at cleaning glass. There are definitely better products for cleaning windshields and windows.
Turtle Wax Dash Cleaner will make your dashboard shine for a reasonable price. It also offers extra UV Protection but is somewhat limited in applications.
It’s a great low-effort, carefree option for those that don’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning their cars.
Buy TurtleWax Dash & Glass Cleaner from Amazon.com
Adam’s Interior Detailer
Safe on Surfaces: Leather, Vinyl, Pleather, Navigation / Infotainment Screens, Plastic, and more.
Buy on Amazon: 16oz
If you’ve read any of my other articles, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Adams Polishes.
Adams Polishes is a US ran business. All their products are made in the states and they guarantee customer satisfaction.
For their interior detailer, they teamed up with Microban. This allowed them to include extra antimicrobial technology.
This means that long after the application of the product, it will continue to prevent the growth of bacteria. It also provides extra UV Blocking agents and prevents anti-static build-up.
As for the cleaning power, it’s exactly what you would expect.
Most leading dashboard cleaners have a similar level of cleaning power. They’re all very effective at removing grime, odor, and body oils.
The original Adams Interior Detailer does have a slight smell to it, but it wont change the smell of your car.
You are able to get sweet pea or sweet almond-scented ones if you want.
I prefer the original as it neutralizes odors, allowing for an air freshener to spice up the smell of your car.
I really like this product, it works great on all non-porous surfaces. Its also very competitively priced too.
If you were to buy a gallon of product, it’d work out cheaper than most of the other products on this list. That being said, your average weekend detailer will not need that much quantity.
Buy Adams Polishes Interior Detailer from Amazon.com
SHINE ARMOR Car Interior Cleaner
Safe on Surfaces: Leather, Pleather, Fabric, Cloth, Carpet, Vinyl, Canvas, Cloth, Plastic & More.
Buy on Amazon: 10oz
SHINE ARMOR’s Car Interior Cleaner is a promising product, but it doesn’t really fit in anywhere.
The branding is amazing. The bottle is very high quality and the product is formulated using the latest Nanotechnology. It’s a premium dashboard cleaner.
With that being said, you have to pay more for a premium product.
Shine Armors Car interior cleaner is by far the most expensive on this list. It’s also the smallest quantity of product. While it does everything you want an interior cleaner to do, is it that much better than the competition? Maybe.
It’s pleasantly smelling, leaves a streak-free finish, and even offers extra protection.
As well as enhanced UV Protection, it also has anti-static properties. This means it will prevent dust from sticking to your dashboard. Other than the price point, it seems as though this product has it all.
Shine Armor also guarantee a risk-free purchase. If you don’t like the product they’ll happily make it right. They can do this because the product is so great, they don’t get many returns.
If you’re detailing as a hobby and don’t mind spending the extra bit of money, it’s certainly a good product. It may even make for a nice gift. Though I wouldn’t choose it in a business setup or scenario where value for money matters.
Buy Shine Armor Car Interior Cleaner from Amazon.com
nextzett Cockpit Premium
Safe on Surfaces: Dashboards, Armrests, Plastic, Leather, Instrument Clusters, Trim, Gloss surfaces & Navigation/Infotainment screens. Buy on Amazon: 17oz / 17oz x2
Nextzett is a small German company that was founded way back in 1936.
Their original goal was to create a better polish. Later on they expanded into products like Cockpit Premium.
Cockpit premium is a little different from all the other products on this list. It’s not some hybrid, all-in-one car upholstery cleaner. No, It’s a true dashboard cleaner, that is made to clean everything on a car dashboard.
It’s 100% safe to use on your dashboard, steering wheel, instrument cluster, car speakers, vents, and even navigation screens.
Over time, Nextzett has developed this product to have 3-times as more cleaners. Killing grime, stains, and other contamination, leaving behind a streak-free anti-static finish.
Cockpit premium also comes with a nice citrus smell that stays around a while after application.
When applying this cleaner to your dashboard, it will offer added protection from UV Rays. Most windscreens are developed to protect your dashboard from these anyway, but it’s always a nice bonus to have.
I have to say that Nextzett has got a nice product on their hands. It’s more expensive than Meguiars and Chemical Guys, but, it’s still priced well and offers a lot to the everyday detailer.
Buy Nextzett Cockpit Premium from Amazon.com
TriNova Interior Detailer
Safe on Surfaces: Dashboards, Navigation Screens, Plastic, Rubber, Trim, Gloss surfaces, Fabric, Leather, Vinyl and More
Buy on Amazon: 18oz
TriNova is a brand that first caught my attention when looking at foam cannons. Since then, I’ve researched them further and have been excited to try out their products.
I love simple and sleek branding on my detailing products. It can really change how your detailing garage looks.
TriNovas interior detailer is safe to use on every non-porous interior surface. This means you’ll have no problem achieving a streak-free matte finish on most surfaces.
1 quick wipe of your dashboard using this product will remove any dirt, spills, or other unwanted grime.
Once applied, this interior detailer will repel dust with its added anti-static properties. Just like its competition, it also has extra UV protection.
The only potential risks you face when using this is getting it on the glass.
If you apply it to the glass, it will create a streak effect and you’ll have to clean it off.
Other than that, you’re getting a very nice, premium interior detailer. It works out at a competitive price, yes, it’s a slightly higher upfront cost, but at the same time, you get slightly more product too.
Buy TriNova Interior Detailer from Amazon.com
Best Dashboard & Interior Protectant
Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant
Safe on Surfaces: Windshields, Nav Screens, Leather, Vinyl, Cloth, Wood, Plastic, Rubber, Chrome & More Buy on Amazon: 16oz
Based in Southern California, Chemical Guys is one of the leading detailing brands. They manufacture many high-quality detailing products that almost always deliver.
The Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant is no different. It cleans and protects all car interior surfaces, as well as glass and navigation screens. The gentle formula is made to clean tough dirt and grime from your car interior, without leaving behind any spots, stains, or etching.
Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner is also safe to use on sensitive areas. Meaning you can use it on your cluster and it will not leave any streaks behind when used properly!
Most of the Chemical Guys products have a scent in them such as the Honey Dew foam, this one doesn’t though. The smell of this product is best described as a mild, clean, bathroom, baby powder smell. It’s not a desirable smell, but it’s definitely not harsh on the nose like some detailing products.
As any leading dashboard cleaner should, this has extra UV Blockers and protectants. Helping to prevent your car dashboard from discoloration and cracking.
It’s a very similar product to Meguiars Ultimate Interior Detailer, except this has a slightly less controversial odor.
Depending on where you are in the world, and how easy it is to access this product, it’s definitely one you should try out.
It’s priced similarly to Meguiars and offers a versatile all-in-one option that will help to maintain a lean detailing setup.
Buy The Chemical Guys Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant from Amazon.com
Armor All Ultra Shine Protectant
Safe on Surfaces: Vinyl, Rubber & Plastic
Buy on Amazon: 16oz
I’m going to be upfront with you on this one. ArmorAll Ultra Shine is probably one of the most limited products on this list, but, it’s also the cheapest.
If you’re looking for a cheap, all-in-one product that allows you to clean, shine & protect your car from UV damage, it’s not a bad shout.
It’s recommended to use ArmorAll on Vinyl, Rubber & Plastic surfaces.
This means you can clean the bulk of your interior with it. The dashboard, door cards, grab handles, vents, trim, and more.
I wouldn’t recommend taking it to any sensitive areas. I don’t trust it enough. The product dries very hard on leather and would likely interfere with any navigation screens.
That being said, when used on the correct surfaces, it leaves behind a matte finish that’s streak-free and protects your interior.
For its price point, you can’t really go wrong.
It is a limited product and there is a slight chemical smell during the application process, but it cleans and protects for a fraction of the cost.
Buy ArmorAll Ultra Shine Protectant from Amazon.com
Adams Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant
Since I wrote this article, Adams polishes have come out with another interior product. This is an all-in-one interior cleaner and protectant.
While I’m yet to try this product out myself, it does look very promising. It’s managed to maintain a 4 1/2* rating on amazon from the first 1000 reviews.
Adams claims that it’s the ultimate all-in-one solution.
The total interior cleaner cleans, conditions, and protects your dashboard using advanced SiO2 ceramic coating technology. This means it’s packed with UV blocking agents, neutralizes odors, and prevents dust build-up too.
Another huge plus is the fact that it’s completely safe to use on all surfaces. There aren’t many products that offer this feature (normally you can’t apply them to screens or glass).
I really like the idea of this product. It’s supposed to be really good at cleaning as well, removing dust, dirt, grime, and body oils with ease.
As for the finish, it leaves behind a darker “wet” look finish on plastic surfaces. I’d also assume it enhances shine on the other surfaces too.
This is a very competitively priced product and it could very well turn out to be the best on the market. I’ll definitely be picking myself a bottle up once I’ve finished with my car guys super cleaner.
Buy Adams Total Interior Cleaner & Protectant from Amazon.
Homemade Dashboard Cleaner For Cars
In all honesty, if you have an extra $5-10 on a dashboard cleaner, it’s going to give you much better results. However, I’m aware that not everyone can do this.
If you’re stuck at home, wanting to wash your car but can’t afford new products or simply don’t want to wait for them, you can make a homemade solution.
It’s very very simple.
- Grab a spray bottle or basin
- Use a small quantity of dish soap or all-purpose cleaner
- Dilute it heavily with luke-warm water
- Profit! Now you have a homemade dashboard cleaner.
You can use vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and other types of cleaning products if you want but I’d recommend sticking to the steps above, it’s much safer and less smelly.
When creating your homemade cleaner try to use as little cleaning product as possible. It’s better to have a solution that’s too weak because you can always add more product.
If the solution is too strong initially and causes irreversible damage, you may have to spend hours on restoration or pay to get the dashboard fixed.
Now that you’ve decided on a dashboard cleaner, you should learn how to clean your car dashboard properly!
Bring your dashboard and plastics back to life
After cleaning and protecting your dashboard or plastics, they may still not look as good as you want.
If you have damaged trims, the only thing to do is fix or replace them. You can learn how to remove scratches from your plastic car interior here.
If you have scuffed trims, they are also saveable. I’ve written about this too.
Finally, if your trim is starting to fade the best solution is to use Car Guys Plastic Restorer. This is a “polish” type product that brings life back to your faded trims.
After applying any dull, faded trim should look a lot closer to the trim that left the factory.
It’s made using advanced nano-technology and is mixed, bottled, and made in the United States.
As any good interior detailing product should be, this is non-greasy and completely dry to touch.
The Car Guys Plastic Restorer also has additional protective qualities that prevent your dashboard from drying, fading, and cracking.
Again, they offer a completely risk-free purchase. If the product doesn’t meet your expectations, the Car Guys will refund your money without question.
Worst case scenario you get your money back. In best case scenario you have a dashboard that looks fresh for months on end.
Buy Car Guys Plastic Restorer From Amazon.com