Car Exterior

How To Clean Exterior Plastic Car Parts

Introduction

How To Clean Exterior Plastic Car Parts: Cleaning exterior plastic car parts is an essential aspect of car maintenance that not only enhances the vehicle’s appearance but also prolongs the lifespan of the plastic components. Plastic parts such as bumpers, trim pieces and mirror housings are exposed to various environmental elements, including dirt, road grime, UV rays and pollution, which can cause them to become dirty, faded, or discolored over time. Therefore, knowing how to effectively clean and maintain these plastic surfaces is crucial for preserving the aesthetics and integrity of the vehicle.

How do I make my exterior car plastic look new?

To restore faded plastic trim to its original colour, all you’ll need is your preferred trim restorer and a good microfiber towel to massage the product into your car’s interior or exterior plastic. We highly recommend an edgeless detailing cloth with a 300 GSM microfiber blend.

Cleaning:

Start by thoroughly cleaning the exterior plastic surfaces of your car using a mild soap or automotive-specific plastic cleaner and water. Use a soft microfiber cloth or sponge to gently scrub the plastic, removing any dirt, grime, or residue that may have accumulated.

How To Clean Exterior Plastic Car Parts

Polishing:

Once the plastic surfaces are clean, consider using a plastic polish or restorer to restore shine and remove minor imperfections. Apply the polish to the plastic using a clean microfiber cloth or applicator pad, working in small sections. Buff the polish into the plastic using circular motions until the surface appears smooth and glossy.

Conditioning:

To further enhance the appearance of the exterior plastic and protect it from UV damage, consider applying a plastic conditioner or protectant. These products help nourish the plastic, restore moisture, and provide a layer of UV protection to prevent fading and discoloration. Apply the conditioner evenly to the plastic surfaces using a clean microfiber cloth, then buff to a high shine.

Preventive Maintenance:

To keep your exterior plastic looking new, it’s essential to incorporate regular preventive maintenance into your car care routine. Avoid parking in direct sunlight for extended periods, as UV rays can cause plastic to fade and become brittle over time. Additionally, consider applying a UV-resistant coating or sealant to the plastic surfaces to provide long-term protection against environmental damage.

How do you remove whiteness from car plastic?

Use mineral spirits for removing the white residue left behind on plastic trim. Car polishes and waxes contain a cleaner that will leave a haze on plastic trim. You may need to use a tooth brush or an applicator like a tooth brush that can get into the deep pores in the plastic.

Cleaning:

Start by thoroughly cleaning the affected plastic surfaces using a mild soap or automotive-specific plastic cleaner and water. Use a soft microfiber cloth or sponge to gently scrub the plastic, removing any dirt, grime, or residue that may be contributing to the whiteness.

Vinegar Solution:

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water to create a solution, then apply it to the whitened plastic using a clean microfiber cloth or sponge. Let the solution sit for a few minutes to penetrate the plastic, then rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Rubbing Alcohol:

Dampen a clean microfiber cloth with rubbing alcohol and gently rub it over the whitened plastic surfaces. Rubbing alcohol can help dissolve surface residues and restore the color and shine of the plastic.

Plastic Restorer:

Consider using a plastic restorer or trim renewing product specifically designed to restore faded or discolored plastic surfaces. Apply the restorer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using a clean microfiber cloth or applicator pad to ensure even coverage.

Protective Coating:

Once the whiteness has been removed and the plastic surfaces restored, consider applying a UV-resistant coating or protectant to prevent future fading and discoloration. Apply the coating evenly to the plastic surfaces using a clean microfiber cloth, then buff to a high shine.

What can I use to clean my car exterior?

Dish soap is designed to cut through grease, which means it will remove most paint or glass protection products previously applied. Mixing an ounce of dish soap per gallon of water creates a powerful car wash shampoo that can remove most contamination from the paint or glass.

Car Wash Soap:

Start by using a high-quality car wash soap specifically formulated for automotive surfaces. Mix the soap with water in a bucket according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then use a sponge or wash mitt to gently scrub the exterior surfaces of your car, working from the top down.

Microfiber Towels:

Use soft, lint-free microfiber towels to dry the exterior of your car after washing. Microfiber towels are highly absorbent and won’t scratch or damage the paint, making them ideal for drying and buffing the car’s surface to a streak-free shine.

Detailing Brushes:

Invest in a set of detailing brushes to clean hard-to-reach areas such as around emblems, badges, and trim pieces. Detailing brushes come in various sizes and shapes and are designed to gently agitate dirt and debris from tight spaces without scratching the paint.

Clay Bar:

Consider using a clay bar to remove embedded contaminants such as tar, bugs, and tree sap from the exterior surfaces of your car. Clay bars work by gently pulling contaminants out of the paint, leaving behind a smooth, clean surface.

Polishing and Waxing:

Finish by applying a coat of car polish or wax to protect the paint and enhance the shine of the exterior surfaces. Use a clean microfiber applicator pad to apply the polish or wax in small, circular motions, then buff to a high shine using a clean microfiber towel.

What cleans car plastic?

A mild soap, such as car wash soap, is typically used to clean car trim. You can also use protectant to clean the trim if it’s plastic, rubber, or vinyl.

Mild Soap and Water:

Start by using a mild soap or automotive-specific plastic cleaner and water to clean the plastic surfaces of your car. Mix the soap with water in a bucket according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then use a soft microfiber cloth or sponge to gently scrub the plastic, removing any dirt, grime, or residue.

Vinegar Solution:

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water to create a solution, then apply it to the plastic surfaces using a clean microfiber cloth or sponge. Let the solution sit for a few minutes to penetrate the plastic, then rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Rubbing Alcohol:

Dampen a clean microfiber cloth with rubbing alcohol and gently rub it over the plastic surfaces to remove stubborn stains or residues. Rubbing alcohol can help dissolve surface contaminants and restore the color and shine of the plastic.

Plastic Cleaner or Restorer:

Consider using a plastic cleaner or restorer specifically designed to clean and rejuvenate automotive plastic surfaces. Apply the cleaner or restorer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using a clean microfiber cloth or applicator pad to ensure even coverage.

How do you maintain plastic in a car?

Opting for a high-quality all-purpose cleaner, specifically designed for car interiors, ensures that it is both gentle on plastics and effective against the typical dirt and grime of cars. Spray your cleaner onto a microfiber cloth. Using this cloth, gently wipe down surfaces.

Regular Cleaning:

One of the most crucial aspects of maintaining plastic in a car is regular cleaning. Use a mild soap or automotive-specific plastic cleaner and water to clean the plastic surfaces of your car. Use a soft microfiber cloth or sponge to gently scrub the plastic, removing any dirt, grime, or residue that may have accumulated.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals:

When cleaning plastic surfaces, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage the plastic or cause discoloration. Stick to gentle, non-abrasive cleaners that are specifically formulated for automotive plastics.

Protect from UV Rays:

Plastic surfaces in a car are susceptible to damage from UV rays, which can cause fading, cracking, and deterioration over time. To protect plastic surfaces from UV damage, consider using a UV-resistant coating or protectant. Apply the coating evenly to the plastic surfaces using a clean microfiber cloth, then buff to a high shine.

Apply Plastic Conditioner:

To keep plastic surfaces looking their best, consider applying a plastic conditioner or protectant regularly. These products help nourish the plastic, restore moisture, and provide a layer of UV protection to prevent fading and discoloration. Apply the conditioner evenly to the plastic surfaces using a clean microfiber cloth, then buff to a high shine.

How To Clean Exterior Plastic Car Parts

What can I use to shine the plastic parts of my car?

No problem. If you’ve got a can of WD-40 Multi-Use Product in the garage, your plastic-cleaning problems are solved. Simply spray onto the area you want to clean and scrub a little with a rag until the plastic surface looks clean. As an added bonus, you can also use WD-40 to polish plastic surfaces on your car.

Plastic Polish:

One of the most effective ways to shine the plastic parts of your car is to use a plastic polish or restorer. These products are specifically formulated to restore shine and luster to plastic surfaces, leaving them looking clean and rejuvenated. Apply the polish to the plastic using a clean microfiber cloth or applicator pad, then buff to a high shine.

Vinyl Dressing:

Vinyl dressing products are another option for shining plastic parts of your car. These products typically come in spray or liquid form and are designed to provide a glossy finish to plastic, rubber, and vinyl surfaces. Simply spray or apply the dressing to the plastic surfaces, then use a clean microfiber cloth to buff to a high shine.

Silicone Spray:

Silicone spray can also be used to shine plastic parts of your car. Spray a small amount of silicone onto a clean microfiber cloth or applicator pad, then apply it to the plastic surfaces using circular motions. Silicone spray provides a long-lasting shine and helps protect plastic surfaces from UV damage and fading.

How do you remove oxidation from car plastic?

Fortunately, you can easily remove oxidation with sandpaper, vinegar, or a bleach solution. Plastic that has faded to a yellow or brown color was made with bromine, which causes the plastic to change color over time. However, you can reverse bromine discoloration with hydrogen peroxide.

Vinegar Solution:

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water to create a solution, then apply it to the oxidized plastic using a clean microfiber cloth or sponge. Let the solution sit for a few minutes to penetrate the plastic, then scrub the surface gently to remove the oxidation. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Baking Soda Paste:

Mix baking soda with water to create a paste, then apply it to the oxidized plastic using a clean microfiber cloth or sponge. Rub the paste into the plastic surface using circular motions, focusing on areas with heavy oxidation. Rinse thoroughly with clean water, then dry the plastic with a soft towel.

Rubbing Compound:

Rubbing compound can also be used to remove oxidation from car plastic. Apply a small amount of rubbing compound to a clean microfiber cloth or applicator pad, then rub it into the oxidized plastic using circular motions. Continue rubbing until the oxidation is removed, then wipe away any excess compound with a clean cloth.

Plastic Restorer:

Consider using a plastic restorer or trim renewing product specifically designed to remove oxidation from car plastic. Apply the restorer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using a clean microfiber cloth or applicator pad to ensure even coverage. Buff the surface to a high shine using a clean cloth.

What is the fastest way to clean car exterior?

Fill a bucket with a couple capfuls of concentrated car cleaning solution and water (check manufacturer’s directions for exact amount of cleaner to use). Wet down the entire surface of the car using a garden hose with a spray nozzle. Dip a sponge or washing mitt into the bucket and start on the roof of the car.

Waterless Wash and Wax:

One of the fastest ways to clean the car exterior is to use a waterless wash and wax product. Simply spray the product onto the surface of the car, then use a clean microfiber towel to wipe away dirt, grime, and residue. The wax in the product will leave a protective shine on the car’s paint, saving time on both cleaning and waxing.

Quick Detailing Spray:

Quick detailing spray is another fast and effective way to clean the car exterior. Spray the product onto the surface of the car, then use a clean microfiber towel to gently wipe away dirt, dust, and fingerprints. Quick detailing spray leaves behind a glossy finish and can be used on paint, glass, and plastic surfaces.

Pressure Washer:

Using a pressure washer is a quick and efficient way to clean the car exterior, especially if the car is heavily soiled or muddy. Simply spray the car with water using the pressure washer, then use a mild soap and water solution to scrub away dirt and grime. Rinse the car thoroughly with clean water, then dry it with a soft towel or chamois.

Foam Cannon:

A foam cannon attachment for a pressure washer can also speed up the cleaning process by creating thick foam that clings to the car’s surface, loosening dirt and grime for easier removal. Simply attach the foam cannon to the pressure washer, fill it with soap and water, then spray the foam onto the car and let it dwell for a few minutes before rinsing.

Automatic Car Wash:

For the fastest and most convenient car cleaning option, consider using an automatic car wash. Simply drive the car into the wash bay, select the desired wash package, and let the machine do the rest. Automatic car washes use high-pressure water jets and cleaning agents to quickly and efficiently clean the car exterior, saving time and effort.

How To Clean Exterior Plastic Car Parts

Conclusion

Maintaining clean exterior plastic car parts is essential for preserving the appearance and longevity of a vehicle. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prevent dirt buildup, fading, and discoloration, ensuring that the plastic components remain looking fresh and vibrant. By following the proper cleaning techniques and using suitable products, car owners can keep their plastic exterior parts in optimal condition for years to come. 

Additionally, incorporating protective measures such as applying UV-resistant coatings or dressings can further safeguard the plastic surfaces from environmental damage and prolong their lifespan. Overall, dedicating time and effort to clean and care for exterior plastic car parts not only enhances the vehicle’s aesthetic appeal but also contributes to its overall value and resale potential.

Vaishnavi vaish

Vaishnavi is an automotive enthusiast and writer with a passion for all things cars. With years of experience in the automotive industry, Vaishnavi brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Vroom's platform. Whether it's dissecting the latest car models, exploring industry trends, or delving into the intricacies of automotive technology, Vaishnavi is dedicated to providing readers with comprehensive and insightful content. From performance reviews to in-depth car comparisons, Vaishnavi strives to deliver accurate and engaging information to help readers make informed decisions about their next vehicle purchase. Explore the world of automobiles with Vaishnavi on Vroom and stay updated on the latest developments in the automotive world.

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