My car is melting. (Melting!)
August 30, 2009 8:23 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to clean the tarry, semi-melted center console of my 2001 Honda Accord?

Years of South Florida heat have started to take a toll on the interior of my Honda, specifically the black, rubber-like material that surrounds the cup holders and shifter in the center console. The same material also lines the little alcove in front of the shifter. I learned the hard way not to keep jewel cases or anything else in there because the black material tends to come off on anything left in there for more than a few hours. This material also tends to act like flypaper, catching little bits of dust, hair, or anything else flying around in my car. Occasionally I get the interior detailed, and they always manage to get this stuff semi-clean. I've tried a few car interior products, but haven't had any luck myself. Can anyone suggest a good product for cleaning this type of surface?
posted by 6and12 to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
409 is generally my cleaner of choice, Fantastik works pretty well too. If you want, use some sort of vinyl protectant a day or two later. I cleaned a 10yo Nissan interior that had owned to an obviously heavy smoker, I actually used Scrubbing Bubbles to break up the grime, then went back over with some Turtle Wax interior stuff.
posted by pupdog at 8:36 AM on August 30, 2009

Make that 'had been owned by'. Stupid fingers.
posted by pupdog at 8:37 AM on August 30, 2009

I've had good luck using those Armor All (and cheap knock-off) car cleaning wipes from Autozone. The cleaning solution in those is potent enough and in a large enough quantity to be effective in these areas.
posted by nayrb5 at 8:48 AM on August 30, 2009

Thanks for the suggestions so far. I've tried those wipes, but they haven't really worked too well at pulling out the grime that gets stuck in there. As for 409 or Fantastik, I guess I'd need some kind of lint-free cloth, right? This stuff kind of chews up paper towels or rags.
posted by 6and12 at 8:59 AM on August 30, 2009

It's going to be a bit linty or messy at first, the idea is to let the stuff sit and dissolve a good layer, then use something like red shoprags or blue disposable wipes to clean some up. You might even use a plastic scraper to get the goop up, then wipe it onto a towel for disposal. Don;t try and get it all in one pass.
posted by pupdog at 9:03 AM on August 30, 2009

I suspect a layer of armorall after all the crud is cleaned off would keep it less gunky. I like the orange-based cleaners; they seem to clean plastic well, and then smell okay.
posted by theora55 at 9:20 AM on August 30, 2009

1. Use a good cleaner and a stiff bristle brush to get the goo off.

2. wipe down with 303 aerospace protectant

Armor all is crap. Anything similar to Armor All that contains silicone are not good for your interior.

There are other decent products like the 303 out there, it just happens to be what I use. Works nice for all the plastic and rubber stuff including door seals, and it has some UV protection in it, which helps keep dashes from fading and cracking.

Also it has a subdued sheen. It doesn't make your interior slippery and looking like you slathered it in vaseline.
posted by freq at 10:18 AM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Turtle Wax makes one of the best interior products I've ever used. It's not as slick and greasy as Armor All and it does a great job of lifting all sorts of crud out of little crevices.

Warning: Despite how well it works, you will not be able to resist giggling at its consistency.
posted by Jon-o at 10:47 AM on August 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

I use Murphy Oil Soap on a rubbery vinyl surfaces and it seems to work well. If you do not have actual dirt - like you always have dogs in your car and go to the beach and you lent the vehicle to someone who spilled green hot dogs onions in there and didn't clean up until they were crusty - you can propably just go straight to the Turtle product.

Armor All eats rubbery stuff. Don't use it.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 1:28 PM on August 30, 2009

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