Vinyl and rubber trim have special cleaning needs because they get hazy films of oxidation and can have wax build-up, especially in the seams. Follow these steps to keep your plastic auto trim in top condition.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Car wash or mild detergent
- Water hose
- Sponges or cleaning mitt
- Soft toothbrush
- Vinyl cleaner
- Vinyl protectant
Remove surface dirt from the whole vehicle with a car wash solution or a gentle detergent solution, using a large sponge or a sheepskin wash mitt. Textured vinyl trim can be scrubbed with a plastic brush to remove stubborn grime. Rinse vehicle thoroughly with a hose.
Use a specifically designed product for cleaning vinyl and rubber trim, like GR-40 Trim Cleaner or Vinylex, to remove wax residue and oxidation. For clear plastic trim pieces, use a product like Meguiar’s PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner. Clean wax and grime out of seams with a soft toothbrush.
Treat faded black trim with a product like Forever Black or Mother’s Back-to-Black. These products contain rubber conditioners that keep trim dark for many months.
Protect plastic and vinyl trim with a protectant like Meguiar’s Gold Class Trim Detailer, Turtle Wax Protectant or 303 Aerospace Protectant. Most of these products spray on and are then wiped dry with a soft cloth.
Tips and warnings
- Many vinyl and rubber cleaning products are dual-purpose, cleaning and protecting trim in one application. Choose one of these products to make the job easier.