If you’re like most car owners, your vehicle is one of your biggest investments. You want it to look nice, perform well, and be safe. But even if you keep it in good condition by washing it, keeping the oil changed and tires rotated, and so on, there are still problems that can affect your car’s appearance and value.
One of these is scratches or scuffs in the vinyl upholstery. These may happen accidentally because someone dropped something sharp or on purpose because a dog decided to use the door panel as a chew toy.
Whatever has caused the damage to your car’s interior upholstery, follow these steps to remove scratches from vinyl to make it look new again.
1. Clean With a Clean Cloth and Rubbing Alcohol
- Clean the Surface of Your Vehicle’s Interior Vinyl With Isopropyl Alcohol and a Soft Cloth
You can use any type of rubbing alcohol, but we recommend 99% isopropyl alcohol because it evaporates quickly and leaves no residue behind.
Apply the alcohol to a clean cloth, not directly to your car’s interior vinyl. The rubbing action of the cloth will remove any dirt or dust on your car’s dashboard or console.
- Apply Acrylic Cleaner With Another Cloth to Remove Any Residue
Use another clean cloth to remove any residue from cleaning off your dashboard or console. Apply acrylic cleaner with a circular motion using a clean section of your second, dry cloth. Keep applying until you have removed all scratches from your car interior vinyl.
- Wipe Away Excess Acrylic Cleaner Using a Lint-Free Cleaning Cloth
Once you’ve finished applying the acrylic cleaner, wipe away any excess using a lint-free cleaning cloth. Make sure you do not use paper towels because they are likely to leave fibers behind or create more scratches in the vinyl.
- Reapply the Rubbing Compound to Areas You Wish to Shine More if Necessary
Once you’ve got the scratches out, the vinyl should look clean and shiny. If you want to further improve the appearance of your car’s interior, you can apply more rubbing compounds in areas where you wish to shine more. The compound will remove more scratches than simply using a cloth.
2. Use Vinegar and Magic Eraser
When you have a scratch on your car’s interior vinyl, using a magic eraser to remove it is an easy way to get rid of the damage. Vinegar is a good cleaner for interior vinyl because it has natural acid that breaks down dirt and grime, while also being a natural anti-bacterial. This makes it ideal for cleaning your car’s interior.
Combine one cup of vinegar with two cups of water in a bowl or bucket large enough to hold the affected area. Dip your magic eraser into the solution and apply it directly onto the part of the car where you want to remove scratches. Use circular motions as you clean until all traces of scratches are gone from this area.
3. Use Degreaser to Remove Scratches
A degreaser is a cleaning solution that removes dirt and grime from hard surfaces. You can buy this product at any hardware store, but be careful when selecting one, as some brands contain harmful chemicals. A good rule of thumb is to use natural cleaners whenever possible, especially for your car’s interior vinyl.
You can use a degreaser on any vinyl surface in your vehicle that has minor scratches or scuffs, including seatbacks, door panels, and headliners. To begin the process:
Clean up any dirt and dust with water using a soft cloth or towel. You don’t want any residue when you apply the cleaner.
Apply the cleaner according to the instructions on the label. Let it sit for several minutes before wiping it off with another clean cloth or towel.
After making sure all traces of grease have been removed from these surfaces, buff them dry with another towel or microfiber cloth.
4. Use a Scratch Removal Kit
Using a scratch removal kit is one of the easiest ways to remove scratches from your car’s interior vinyl. It’s also relatively inexpensive, which is a plus. However, if you don’t use the right kind of kit or follow the instructions correctly, you’re likely to just make things worse.
There are many different types of kits on the market for removing scratches from car upholstery and other surfaces. Some are designed for your particular type of vehicle (such as cars or boats), while others are made specifically for certain types of materials (vinyl).
You should choose a kit according to the kind of damage that has been done to your vinyl and whether or not it’s made specifically for that type of damage.
Also, ensure that you follow all manufacturer instructions carefully before proceeding with any treatment process.
To do this:
- Clean the area with rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth before applying any product. This will help ensure that all dirt and grime are removed so it doesn’t interfere with the repair process.
- Cover any nearby areas where you don’t want the products to spread (such as seats or windows) with towels or plastic sheeting for protection against overspray or splatter of chemicals that might occur during application/curing time periods for some products.
- Follow directions on your product packaging carefully; often times different steps are needed depending on what type of surface you’re repairing, whether it’s a large area or a small area, etcetera. Once this is done, your car interior is as good as new.
When you take good care of your interior vinyl, it’s a lot easier to maintain its good looks and keep the value of your car high. Simple maintenance with an eye toward prevention can help you avoid having to use any of these techniques at all.
If it’s too late for that, though, there are various tips on how to remove scratches from car interior vinyl. Use the methods mentioned in this article such as: cleaning with a cloth and rubbing alcohol, using vinegar and a magic eraser, using a degreaser, or using a scratch-removal kit. You should be able to get rid of the scratches in no time.
Ugo is a passionate car enthusiast with a Bachelor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering degree and hands-on experience in troubleshooting and fixing automobiles.
I combine my electrical and mechanical engineering knowledge with practical skills to address car-related issues.
My love for cars and dedication to educating others led to the creation of Fixandtroubleshoot.com!