How to Clean Black Car Interior? (Door Panels, Dashboard,…)

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to clean black car interior

Black is definitely an elegant car color. It’s just rather demanding when it comes to keeping clean. But how to clean black car interior doesn’t differ from cleaning any other color interior. You just need to clean and care for it a lot more often, because contaminants stand out more against black.

And, the best way to clean black plastic on cars is to use not only a cleaner but also protectant and plastic polish to preserve the plastic’s clean good looks with enhanced richness in color and shine.

Ways to Clean Black Car Interior

What to Prepare

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Vacuum attachments: crevice tool and soft brush attachments
  • Some pieces of clean cloth – You need several for wiping with water, with cleaner, wiping dry, and applying protectant and polish.
  • Handheld dust mop (optional)
  • Small, soft-bristle paint brush or toothbrush
  • Q-tips
  • Cleaner:
    • Commercial option: all-purpose cleaner
    • Homemade option:
      • Vinegar
      • Warm water
      • Dawn dishwashing liquid (optional)
      • Baby oil or mineral (optional)
      • Spray bottle
    • Detailing brush – if you have a textured plastic interior
    • Protectant
    • Foam applicator
    • Polish, olive oil, coconut oil, or vegetable oil (Tip: If you want to save money and effort, you can buy a two-in-one protectant and polish)

Step 1: Clear Away the Garbage and Clutter


Before cleaning your car interior, you’ll have to rid the car interior of garbage and clutter first. With that, you’ll be able to do the vacuum cleaning and stain removal without any obstruction and not miss any spots to clean dirty plastic car interior.

Pick up the wrappers, plastic bottles, and other things the vacuum couldn’t suck in. And store your personal belongings somewhere.

Step 2: Vacuum Clean the Car Interior


Dust is visible on black cars, therefore, to clean black interior of car, vaccuming the dust, dirt, and debris on the interior plastic before using a cleaner is a must.

Then, you’ll need to take out the mats to shake off loose particles on them and thoroughly clean the floor.

The other parts of the car interior will most likely need vacuum cleaning as well, so vacuum clean the entire car interior for immaculate results.

Use vacuum attachments to help you work more efficiently and carefully. The crevice tool attachment will help you clean tight spaces, and with the soft brush attachment when you clean car interior plastic scratches can be prevented as you vacuum over surfaces.

Also, you must be careful when going around delicate parts such as vents and knobs.

Step 3: Dust the Plastic Interior


After vacuum cleaning, stubborn particles may be left on the interior plastic. So you would need to wipe them off using a cloth or handheld dust mop that’s dampened with water only.

  • Crevices in areas like the buttons and knobs on the dashboard, gearshift, handbrake, cupholders, etc, would require using a damp small, soft-bristle paint brush or soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Areas that are harder to reach and have little, stubborn contaminants can be cleaned with damp Q-tips.

Once you’re done, go over the damp surfaces with a dry cloth to wipe the moisture off.

Step 4: Get Rid of Stains With a Cleaner

You can buy a commercial cleaner for black car interior if you wish. Or if you prefer a cheap way and go for a cleaner homemade cleaning solution. Refer to the instructions below, whichever one you choose.

 01 Cleaning Safety Measures

Whether you’re using a commercial cleaner or homemade cleaner, checking if the cleaner won’t damage the interior is to apply a small amount of it on a hidden area before cleaning.

Also, you have to spray the cleaner on your cloth, then wipe it on the interior to avoid over-spraying it and damaging other surfaces.

 02 Using a Commercial Cleaner


It’s recommendable to use a versatile and effective product that can clean off all kinds of contaminants. It applies to spillage stains or scuff marks on any car interior surface, be it on plastic, rubber, or leather. Just see the back label of your commercial cleaner for plastic car interior to know how to use it.

After wiping surfaces with the cleaner, wipe away the moisture with a dry cloth.

 03 Using a Homemade Cleaner


Making homemade plastic interior cleaner is as easy as combining equal parts vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. You may also add a few drops of Dawn dishwashing soap to enhance its grease and grime-removing properties and baby oil or mineral oil to add shine to the interior plastic.

After using the cleaner on the plastic surfaces, go over them again with a dry cloth to wipe them dry.

 04 Tip if You’re Going to Clean Textured Plastic Car Interior

For cleaning a textured plastic interior, you can use a detailing brush or soft-bristled brush to tackle the contaminants in the grooves.

Step 5: Apply a Protectant on the Interior Plastic

An additional step you can do to keep a black car clean and in excellent condition is to apply a protectant after cleaning. 

The protective layer will keep it from getting stained, fading, and cracking.

Apply the protectant using a soft cloth or foam applicator. Avoid putting it directly on the plastic, as that would result in the formation of spots and over-treatment on certain areas.

Step 6: Apply Polish on the Interior Plastic


One more step you can do to make car interior plastic look new is to apply a plastic polish. Or olive oil, coconut oil, or vegetable oil, which you might have in your pantry, can also restore black plastic car interior.

Using a soft cloth, rub the polish or oil on the plastic interior. Then with another soft cloth, rub the surface again to remove excess moisture.


What is the best thing to clean interior of car with?

The best product would be one that’s suitable for whatever surface you will clean. Even better would be one that applies to various car interior surfaces. Moreover, added protection for interior surfaces would be a plus.

For cleaning plastic car interiors, you can use commercial products or home remedies. However, for plastic hardware, it’s best you use an automotive plastic cleaner.

What household products can I use to clean my car interior?

You must use products that are mild enough and safe for your car. Examples of these are vinegar, Dawn dish soap, baby soap, baby shampoo, and chlorine-free laundry soap. For more details on clean car interiors with household products, please take a look at this post.


Be it a gray, brown and black car interior, the cleaning process involves:

  • Clearing away your garbage and clutter.
  • Vacuuming
  • Removing stains with a cleaner.
  • Applying protectant.
  • Finalizing with a polish.

But remember that black plastic requires more care than any other color plastic interior. Next time that you’re going to detail a black car interior, just remember the steps and tips from this article on how to clean black car interior for best results.

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