When cleaning out your car, don’t forget the dashboard, or instrument panel. Your vehicle’s gauges, meters, and buttons should be well maintained and free of dust or grime to facilitate their use and operation.
Although you can simply wipe off these surfaces with a damp cloth and let it go at that, take a few extra minutes to give this area your full attention to make it as clean as possible.
- Remove all debris from the dashboard area, including wrappers, napkins, and empty containers from the cup holder that is usually located below the radio or CD player. If you use the ashtray, remove and empty it, along with any other sections or parts that are detachable. The idea is to get extraneous loose items out of the way so you can focus on cleaning the car’s interior front fixtures.
- Fill a bucket half-way with hot water, adding a few drops of mild dish detergent or another suitable vinyl cleaner. Dip a clean scrub cloth into the water, open your car door and keep it open for fresh air as you clean, and begin wiping the instrument panel surfaces. If the cloth leaves a visible soapy residue, add more water to the bucket and start again, removing the initial soapy trail.
- Use the cloth to wipe off the plastic vent grilles and speedometer panels, following with a dry paper towel to remove streaks. Run the cloth over the top and bottom of the dashboard and glove box section. Fold the cloth and focus on smaller, hard-to-reach areas like the steering column, gear shift, turn signal, and steering wheel. Rinse your cloth, fold it again, and wipe the radio dials and buttons, clock, and temperature gauge.
- Place detachable items like the ashtray and cup holder in the bucket of water to soak while you clean the rest of the console. Don’t overlook less-obvious functions like the cruise control switch or the windshield wiper lever. After running the cloth overall visible areas, use a cotton swab to wipe thin ledges, grille panels, and tiny grooves in the console’s design.
- Rinse your cleaning cloth with fresh water and wipe the soapy residue from the console surfaces. Make sure that the moist trail is free of dirt and soap. Remove the detachable pieces from the bucket of soapy water and rinse them with clear water. Allow the pieces to air-dry before returning them to the car. Use an old towel or cleaning cloth to dry off the instrument panel, and a paper towel for the window-type areas showing the speedometer and care temperature, etc.
- For grease spots or stains, use a mild degreasing solution mixed according to the container instructions. Use a clean cloth, wearing gloves if indicated, to apply this substance sparingly to the hard-to-clean areas. Rinse with clear water afterward.
Your car will feel much fresher and be more enjoyable to drive when the control panel is clean and dust-free. Clean the rest of the car and you will feel like you are driving a new vehicle.