When it comes to car care, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions. One of the most common is the use of Windex to clean your dashboard. People seem to think that because Windex is a glass cleaner, it will also work on other surfaces in their car. In this article, we will explore whether or not you can use Windex to clean your dashboard and provide some tips for proper car care.
To answer the question Can I use Windex to clean my dashboard? The answer is yes and No. Yes because Windex is a cleaner and can be used as a cleaning agent, No because Windex can cause damage to dashboards.
I would not recommend using it on your dashboard because the cons outweigh the pros. Keep reading to find out about using Windex on your dashboard
Cons of using Windex on your dashboard
There are several reasons why I would not recommend using Windex on your dashboards. Examples are:
1. Cracking and fading
The first and most important reason why I would not recommend using Windex on your dashboard is that Windex contains chemicals such as ammonia.
Ammonia is a chemical that can cause cracking and fading on some surfaces like wood, leather, and plastic and since most dashboards are made of these surfaces using Windex on them can cause damage.
Let’s take an example of a glossy wooden designed dashboard, using Windex on it will wipe away the glossy texture leaving your dashboard looking super old and unattractive and will decrease the resale value of your car if you intend to sell it.
2. Damage displays
Another reason not to use Windex on your dashboard is that it can damage displays. For example, if you have a navigation system or an infotainment system in your car, the chemicals in Windex can damage the display.
These displays are made of plastic and glass, and the chemicals can cause them to crack or fade. The systems are very delicate and not cheap and also replacing and can be very frustrating if they are not working properly.
3. Windex leaves streaks
Another reason why I wouldn’t recommend using Windex to clean your dashboard is that it leaves streaks. This is because Windex is a water-based cleaner designed to be used on smooth surfaces like glass. when it dries, it leaves behind a film of water. This film can attract dust and dirt, and it can also cause the surface to look cloudy.
Because your dashboard surface isn’t suitable, Windex will not work as well and will likely leave streaks.
4. Dissolves some adhesives
Again Windex can dissolve some adhesives like the ones used to hold your air vents in place or the buttons on your dash. If these adhesives are dissolved, it can cause your vents and buttons to fall off.
With the continuous use of Windex the adhesives gradually get weaker and one day you may find your air vents or buttons on the floor of your car. Imagine the horror on your face if you wake up one morning to find parts of your dashboard falling off.
5. Leaves a sticky residue
Again another con of using Windex is that it will leave a sticky residue on your dashboard if not wiped off immediately. The sticky residue will attract more dust and dirt making your dashboard look dirtier than before you used Windex. It will also leave so many fingerprints on your dash that you’ll go crazy trying to clean them all off.
Also, sticky residue on your dashboard might make you feel uncomfortable, If you are like me and you like to keep your car clean and free of any dirt, then you will not be happy about this at all.
6. Hard to control
Another reason why I wouldn’t recommend using Windex on your dashboard is that it’s hard to control. When you use it on other surfaces, the chemicals in Windex can seep into cracks and crevices and be difficult to remove. This can cause damage to your dashboard over time.
The chemicals can also get into the ventilation system and cause problems with the air quality in your car. If you have asthma or allergies, this can be a serious problem because of the chemicals that your ventilation system is emitting.
7. Can remove paint
Finally, the last reason I don’t recommend using Windex on your dashboard is that it can remove paint. This is because Windex is a solvent and it will strip away the paint from your dashboard if you’re not careful.
If you have a car with a painted dashboard, using Windex can damage the paint and cause it to peel. This can be a very expensive repair, and it’s not worth the risk just to clean your dashboard.
These are some of the reasons why I wouldn’t recommend using Windex on your dashboard. But if you still want to try because you have no other option, then keep reading to find out how to safely use Windex on your dash
How to safely use Windex to clean your dashboard
If you have decided to use Windex on your dashboard, here are some tips:
1. Dilute the Windex with water
To avoid damaging your dashboard, it is important to dilute the Windex with water. This will help to reduce the concentration of chemicals on the surface and minimize the risk of damage.
Dilute about ¼ cup of Windex with one gallon of water to create a safe solution. Too much water will make it difficult to remove streaks, Whilst too little water will make the solution very strong to use. So be sure to add the right amount of water.
2. Test on a small area first
Before using the Windex solution on your entire dashboard, it is important to test it on a small area first. This will help you to see how the Windex reacts with the surface of your dashboard and whether or not fades the surface of your dashboard.
I will recommend testing it out on a place that is not so visible like the side of the dashboard. If it is safe to use, then you can proceed to clean the rest of your dashboard.
3. Wipe in one direction
When cleaning your dashboard with Windex, be sure to wipe it in one direction. This will help to avoid streaks and make it easier to see where you have already cleaned.
Also wiping it in one direction will help keep the fading even when you accidentally go over the same area more than once.
4. Use a soft cloth
It is important to use a soft cloth when cleaning your dashboard with Windex. This will help to avoid scratching the surface of your dashboard.
You can use a microfiber cloth or an old t-shirt that is soft and won’t scratch the surface. Avoid using a bristle brush or a scrubby pad as this can damage the surface of your dashboard.
5. Avoid using paper towels
Paper towels are not as soft as cloths and they can leave behind lint or other debris that can scratch your dashboard. They are also known to absorb too much of the solution which can make it difficult to remove streaks.
6. Clean the dashboard after using Windex
After you have cleaned the surface of your dashboard with Windex, be sure to remove any excess solution with a clean, soft cloth.
You can also use a hairdryer on the low setting to help speed up the drying process and avoid streaks.
Use these tips if you have decided to clean your dashboard with Windex. But remember, it is always best to avoid using harsh chemicals on your dashboard to avoid damage.
Alternative cleaning products for your dashboard
Below are some alternative ways to clean your dashboard
1. Soap and water solution
This simple soap and water solution is suitable for leather dashboards especially. I will however recommend an oil-based soap that can restore the shine of your dashboard after it is cleaned.
2. Vinegar, detergent, and water solution
This cleaning solution is best on plastic, vinyl, and rubber dashboards. After dusting your dashboard, apply some vinegar on a cloth and wipe your dashboard. Then, dampen another clean cloth with the detergent and water solution and wipe the dashboard clean.
Also, after applying the vinegar, you can allow it to sit for a few minutes before proceeding. Once again, ensure your soap or detergent is oil-based.
To be honest, any oil will do when cleaning your car’s dashboard. Olive oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, and even petroleum jelly can be used to clean your dashboard.
4. Other Commercial products
There are several products on the market suitable for cleaning dashboards apart from Windex. Be sure however to consider material-specific cleaners so as not to damage your dashboard in the long run. Therefore, before you apply any of those products, read about them on the internet or read their labels.
For all these alternatives, be sure to know which material your dashboard is made of, wipe off the dirt from the dashboard first before cleaning and do a spot check of the product on any corner of your dashboard first before applying it to the whole surface.
To conclude, I personally think it is best to avoid using harsh chemicals on your dashboard as they can damage the surface. If you must use Windex, be sure to follow the tips I have provided above.
And always remember to test any cleaning solution on a small, unnoticeable area of your dashboard first before proceeding.
I hope this article was helpful and that you found the information you were looking for. If you have any other questions about cleaning your dashboard, feel free to send an email and I will be happy to help.