How to Repair a Sticky Auto Dashboard

Written by brenda priddy
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How to Repair a Sticky Auto Dashboard
Remove the sticky residue from your dashboard with cleaning solutions. (dashboard kilometre rpm image by willem169 from

A sticky dashboard is an annoying side effect of an old and dirty dashboard. The stickiness typically is caused by gunk build-up on the surface of the dashboard but it also can be caused by peeling of the dashboard's vinyl cover, leaving an adhesive residue. Heat also can cause dyes and cleaners used to clean the dashboard to come to the surface. The best way to remove the sticky residue is to clean the surface thoroughly.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Foam cleaner
  • Soft cloths
  • Plastic scraper
  • Vinyl upholstery cleaner
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Water-based vinyl protectant

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  1. 1

    Wipe the surface of the dashboard to remove all large particles, such as dust and food.

  2. 2

    Dip a soft cloth into a solution of warm, soapy water that was made with a foam cleaner and warm water. Wring out the soft cloth until it is damp. Do not allow the solution to drip, as this can damage the vehicle's electronics.

  3. 3

    Wipe the surface of the dashboard with the damp cloth until the surface is no longer sticky. This is likely to take up to five applications of the cleaner. Use a new cloth each time to prevent the rag from contaminating the surface.

  4. 4

    Allow the dashboard to dry. In extreme circumstances, you can use a plastic scraper to peel away gunk from the surface of the dashboard.

  5. 5

    Spray the dashboard with a vinyl upholstery cleaner. Work the cleaner into the vinyl using a scrub brush. Wipe the cleaner away with a soft cloth. Allow the dashboard to dry.

  6. 6

    Protect the dashboard by rubbing it down with a water-based, vinyl protectant and a soft cloth. Do not use a silicone sealer, as this can worsen the stickiness.

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