Right after getting the keys from the dealership, our cars look stunningly beautiful, both inside and out. However, over the months (or days, in some cases), dust and other fine contaminants find a to latch onto the dashboard and other plastic components, resulting in a dull, unsatisfying appearance.
The solution isn’t to buy a new car. Instead, with one of the best cleaner for car interior plastic, you can restore your car’s inner appeal with just a few spritz and wipe-downs. Keep reading to find out which car interior cleaner is best for your vehicle needs.
Top 5 Best Cleaner for Car Interior Plastic
CarGuys Super Cleaner is hands down the best cleaner for car interior. Not only is the Super Cleaner super-easy to use, but it’s also super-fast-working and super-safe. This cleaner eliminates nearly all contaminants from your car’s plastic interior, including dust, dirt specks, and airborne fibers. In the end, your car will look as new as the day you first brought it home.
Best of all, CarGuys Super Cleaner is a multipurpose cleaning agent that works on plastic as well as rubber, vinyl, and fabrics. Instead of getting a separate cleaning solution for your leather seats, a single, versatile container of CarGuys Super Cleaner will do the trick. Just be sure to keep it away from glass and delicate screen panels.
The Super Cleaner cleans plastic and nearly all materials at a molecular level. This means dirt and debris lodged inside of plastic trim and dashboards are easily removed, leaving a smooth surface and pleasant touch. The versatility of this car interior cleaner allows it to replace more than 80% (per the manufacturer’s estimates) of all cleaning solutions.
One of the best things about this, and many other top-rated plastic interior cleaner options, is that you don’t’ need to rinse the solution away. Simply spray it onto the surface, let it sit for a few moments, and wipe it away with a microfiber cloth.
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- Free of harsh chemicals
- Removes deep stains on plastic interior
- Multipurpose cleaner, can be used on leather
- No rinsing or wiping away necessary
- Easy-to-apply sprayer
- Excellent after-sales service
- Can be time-consuming to use effectively
- May leave white residue
The 303 Aerospace Protectant 30313CSR is a close runner-up to the CarGuys Super Cleaner. In fact, it cleans just as well as our best overall pick and much better than most of the diluted products people try to pass off as a car interior cleaner. The spray doesn’t just loosen dust, but it also adds a thin protective coating on the newly sprayed surface to prevent cracking, discoloring, and fading.
Like CarGuys, 303 works on a number of different surfaces, including rubber, vinyl, leather, fiberglass, and gel-coated surfaces. A single container of 30313CSR can replace many of your car’s interior and exterior cleaning supplies, allowing you to work quickly without fumbling around with fewer items.
You might be happy to learn that this car interior cleaner also offers UV protection. So, if you leave your car on the driveway, your dashboard and plastic trim will not become damaged by harsh sunbeams for several weeks at a time. Make sure you spray a thin coating of this protectant on every plastic and fiberglass component inside of your vehicle to protect them from discoloration.
However, some users have noticed that using the 303 protectant spray doesn’t hide blemishes or scuff marks at all. Also, the bottle is prone to leaking, so you might want to consider moving it to another container to salvage as much as possible.
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- Rinse-free formula leaves a non-greasy, dry matte finish…
- Offers UV protection
- Great for cleaning auto interior and exterior
- Repels dirt, dust, and other fine contaminants
- Odorless and toxin-free
- Available in several size options
- There’s also a towelette version
- May leave dull look if used improperly
- Not waterproof (exterior use)
A bottle of SPI22016 by Chemical Guys is another fancy car cleaner spray that works wonderfully at preserving the sheen of the plastic interior. Like the models earlier, this is a multi-purpose cleaner that works on more than just plastic, but what might surprise you is that it’s an all-in-one cleaner that works on any part, inside or outside, of your car.
Plastic car panels? Chrome rims? Rubber tires and mats? These aren’t even a challenge for the Chemical Guys SPI22016, per customer reports. Outdoorsmen-type people will thoroughly enjoy using this spray bottle to clear their headlamps of bugs and remove splotches of tar on the front bumper. Basically, whatever parts are a pain to clean, Chemical Guys makes it easy!
For those that leave their cars to tan under the scorching-hot sun, you’ll want to give your dashboard a quick spritz of SPI22016 and make use of its UV-protection properties. This significant upside should convince those living in warm climates that Chemical Guys is for them.
However, while spraying your dashboard and other plastic parts with this car interior cleaner, make sure to keep your car under the shade or parked inside of your garage. Using this solution on a hot surface can lead to streaking, which can take more of this spray to wipe away in ideal conditions. Also, make sure you crack a window, so the odors have somewhere to escape.
- Cleans and protects virtually all car interior surfaces
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- Fast-working cleaner
- Usable on many surface types
- Thin coat repels dirt for a long time
- Provides resistance to harmful sun rays
- No white streaks when wiped away
- Available in 1-gallon option
- May leave splotches if not wiped away properly
- May have unpleasant odor
The Carfidant Ultimate Car Interior Cleaner can easily make any top-5 list of the best cleaner for car plastic interior. Before we even get into this review, take a look at what customers have to say about this ultimate cleaning product. High-quality doesn’t even explain half of what the Carfidant cleaner is about.
If you want a multipurpose cleaner for plastic, leather, and glass, the Ultimate Car Interior Cleaner is for you. This car interior cleaner works instantly and in three easy steps: spray, wait, and wipe away. Simple and efficient, as all things should be.
Don’t be afraid to give your car’s exterior a quick spray with the Ultimate Car Interior Cleaner. Whether you’re dealing with bird droppings, grease stains, tar splotches, or other sticky, caked-on materials, this wiper will loosen anything and everything from your car’s panels, lights, rims, and tires. Best of all, you don’t need to worry about discoloration as the easy-to-follow instructions will ensure you wipe everything away in fewer swipes.
For those with an aversion to scents and odors, you’ll be more than happy to learn that Carfidant Ultimate Car Interior leaves neither of them. However, what it might leave is tiny droplets on the ground. Many customers got a leaky product, but by no means is this a deal-breaker.
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- Multipurpose interior and exterior cleaner
- Incredibly easy to use without leaving streaks
- Does not strip clear coat finish
- Odorless and free of harsh chemicals
- Works well on leather upholstery
- Effective in cleaning engine bay
- Some customers experienced leaking issues
- Not the best for cleaning carpet mats
Since 1990, Griot’s Garage has been producing some top-of-the-line products that have left customers in awe. Today, nothing has changed; the company is still quite on top of the auto cleaning supplies game. Whether you’re looking for a wax or a plastic interior cleaner, Griot’s Garage is a brand you can trust.
The 11104 is one of the most reliable plastic interior cleaners you can get your hands on. It’s widely popular for its quick-working effects and ability to leave virtually streak-free dashboards with minimal effort. If you want to restore your car’s interior to near-brand-new levels, 11104 Interior Cleaner can do it for you.
The 11104 cleaning solution is probably most well-known for its ability to loosen and remove the toughest stains. Many water-based solutions can’t come close to doing what a bottle of Griot’s Garage is capable of, and this includes removing dried gum and mud, let alone dirt, from your car’s trimming and mats.
There are also plenty of size options to choose from, though many users have felt the tapered design (small head, wide bottom) is uncomfortable to hold. Also, there’s no smell to the 11104, so you may need to pop in an air freshener for a much-needed fragrance.
- Safe for all fabrics, vinyl, and leather
- No dyes and fragrance free
- Leaves no residue behind
- Multipurpose cleaner for plastic, vinyl, and leather
- Stain-free after wiping
- Can remove old, stubborn stains
- Streak-free finish after drying
- Even usable on delicate electronics (stereo, laptop, mouse, etc.)
- Does not cause discoloration
- Bottle can be uncomfortable to hold
- Unscented (if you want a fragrance from your car cleaner)
Buying Guides of Best Cleaner for Car Interior
If you thought any plain bottle of car interior plastic cleaner would do, you’re sorely mistaken. Out of the hundreds upon hundreds of cleaners available, you might not know which bottle contains the right chemicals or which will actually strip your dashboard of its protective finish. Here, we’ll briefly go over what sort of things you need to keep an eye out for when shopping for a car interior cleaner.
Even though car interior plastic cleaners are for, well, plastic, it’d be nice if it could clean all sorts of materials. Thankfully, many of them do, so you don’t need to worry about swapping between different cleaning agents and accidentally using one on an unintended surface.
However, be mindful of what surfaces they can clean. For instance, if it’s not designed to clean glass, make sure you don’t spray it on your windshield or other windows. It can create a hard-to-remove fog or leave an unsightly discolored mark that will require more than just elbow grease to get rid of.
- Plastic or multipurpose
- Avoid using on surfaces not intended for the cleaner
- Many of these cleaners can replace other types, reducing clutter in your garage and car’s trunk
Not all car interior cleaners can block harmful UV rays from drying out and cracking your dashboard. If you frequently park your car out in the sun (while shopping or leaving it in your driveway), then make sure that the plastic cleaner is rated to block UV beams.
- UV protection not available in every model
- Bottle will clearly indicate whether it can protect against UV rays or not
- Not effective alone, may still require the use of UV film or a windshield screen
You’ll have to decide whether you want a plastic cleaner to leave a fragrant smell or not. The cleaner can be fragrant or not, depending on the model. In general, fragrances used in car cleaners are lemony, refreshing, and can somewhat emulate the smell of a brand-new car.
However, for those that don’t want a lingering scent in their car, make sure the bottle clearly says odorless or fragrance-free. The smells can stay for quite a long time and mask other scents you may prefer.
- Some come with fragrances, others don’t
- Lemony smell that’s nice on the nostrils
- Can be overpowering (based on customer feedback)
Finally, you’ll have to choose how large or small of a container you want to try out. If this is your first time using one of these brands, we recommend trying out a smaller container (16 to 32 fl. oz.), just to see whether you like the product or not.
Even though these are the best cleaners for car plastic interior, they perform quite differently from each other, so you shouldn’t purchase an entire gallon of a particular cleaning agent unless you’re absolutely satisfied with the product.
- Available from 16 fl. oz. to one-gallon jugs
- Start small, then go large
- Better value per fl. oz. if you purchase a larger container
How We Picked the Best Cleaner for Car Plastic Interior
The following points are the criteria we used to determine whether a cleaner for car interior plastic belongs on our list or not.
Ease of Application
All of the products mentioned on our list are easy to use. Simply spray, wait, and wipe away. They don’t require rinsing or double-coating your car’s interior (though you might want to do so for good measure).
None of the products listed above contains harmful chemicals. This means you won’t find a trace of ammonia or gasoline, both of which can ruin plastic and your lungs. However, if you aren’t a fan of fragrances, then you might consider them harmful in a sense.
By fast-working, we mean the cleaners are easy to use (already mentioned above) and don’t take much time to loosen dirt. Many other car interior cleaners need to stay on the surface for minutes at a time, which increases the risk of it drying and leaving splotches on your dashboard. You won’t have to worry about this with any of the chosen products above.
We tried to include products that contained the least nose-wrinkling odors (fragrances not included). However, even some of the best cleaners contain odors. That’s just the way the product is made. Make sure to crack a window after cleaning so the odors can escape easily.
All You Need to Know About Cleaner for Car Plastic Interior
Here’s what you need to know about car interior cleaners for plastic.
How to use a cleaner for car interior plastic
- Vacuum all of the visible specks of dust. This will stop them from going airborne and littering your dashboard and other plastic components.
- Use a brush attachment to get into cracks and crevices
- Go over all plastic components with a microfiber cloth. A duster will just push the dust away, causing it land back onto your car’s mats and seat.
- If using a damp cloth to remove dust, quickly go over the area with a dry cloth. Dust will have a harder time adhering to dry surfaces as opposed to wet ones.
- Spray the car plastic interior cleaner onto every plastic part. Let it sit for a couple of seconds before wiping away.
- If there are old stains or caked-on bits (chewing gum, chocolate, etc.), spray with a bit more of the cleaner, let it sit for between 30-60 seconds, then the area vigorously with a microfiber cloth or long-bristled brush.
How often you should use a cleaner on plastic components
The general rule is that the longer you let the stain sit, the harder it will be to remove. Regular cleanup is key for smoother cleaning.
- The more frequent the better
- Try and incorporate the cleaner into your regular car-cleaning routine
- Do not let stains set. Remove them immediately with the cleaner.
Advantages of cleaner for car interior plastic
- Fast-working (at least the products mentioned above)
- No harsh chemicals
- Leaves your car’s interior looking like new
- Can be used on multiple surfaces, replaces numerous other cleaning sprays/supplies
- No water necessary (for the models mentioned above)
Downsides of cleaner for car interior plastic
- Does not remove scratches
- If used on unintended surface, it can lead to discoloration or fogginess
- Wear a mask when using this spray
- Remove all floor mats and objects in your car that can cause dust to go airborne
- Park your car in a shaded area before applying car cleaner
- Use a microfiber cloth (soft, does not leave scratches)
- Have multiple microfiber cloths on hand (if they catch dirt, they will leave scratches)
- Remove all jewelry before cleaning since its hard material can cause scratches
Important Q/A About Car Interior Cleaner
1. With a car interior cleaner remove scratches?
No, it will not, nor is a car cleaner for plastic designed to. At most, it will hide the scratches and any blemishes for a period of a couple of weeks. However, you may need to get your car detailed or replace components completely if their scratches cannot be removed.
2. What else can I clean with a car interior cleaner for plastic?
It depends on what the bottle of car cleaner can do. They all work well on plastic, but some can even be used to clean leather, metal, electronics, and rubber. They can also remove dust, dirt, caked-on messes, tar, and grease.
3. Do I need special cleaning tools?
Not really. A microfiber cloth and probably a long-bristled brush are all you need to make the best use out of a bottle of car cleaner for plastic.
4. Can I use this to clean my headlamps?
It’s possible, but check the caution label on the product before doing so. Even though headlamps are made of plastic, some cleaners may leave a foggy residue or unsightly marks on your headlamps.
Today, we’ve shown you what the best cleaner for car interior plastic is. Our number-one pick is the CarGuys Super Cleaner for its excellent cleaning performance, versatility, and surprisingly friendly customer service reps. However, any of the models listed above will help you in achieving the perfect sheen on plastic parts inside of your vehicle.