Cleaning Restoring Black Car Trim
Restoring, Preventing, Preservation

best auto detailing tips tag line

Cleaning restoring black car trim is easier than ever due to new products on the market. After all, what is shiny paint if the black trim on your car is faded and old looking?

Not only do products exist that allow you to protect black car trim at the same time you wax your car, but if your black trim pieces have become dull and faded, there are amazing products that are guaranteed to restore the black trim on your car to look better than new, and do so with little follow-up maintenance.

Whether you need cleaning and restoring black car trim or you simply want to preserve the black trim on your car, I have something here for any of you.Now there are products that will deliver based on your specific needs!

Cleaning Restoring Black Car Trim:
Starting with the Basics

cleaning and restoring black car trim

Not all cars are created equal when it comes to cleaning, waxing, and detailing. Due to excessive use of black vinyl trim, many car's can become a nightmare due to troublesome black trim pieces.

It is one thing to maintain black car trim and another thing to clean and restore black trim o n your car. And not all of us have the time, money, and energy to go through a more extensive process of black trim restoration.

For this reason I am going to break the subject of cleaning restoring black car trim into the various levels based on your commitment of time, energy, and money.

"Darren, my black trim is faded and dull. There are so many products out there to choose from, what products do you recommend for cleaning restoring black car trim?"

Cleaning Restoring Black Trim:
The most simplified approach!

The most simplified approach to cleaning restoring black trim is as follows:

  • Use any all purpose cleaner to thoroughly clean black trim first.
  • Apply a quality dressing second. (these dressing products can be labeled as tire dressings or vinyl/plastic/rubber dressings)

The VRP Dressing I recommend on this page is what you use to enhance and maintain any black trim and what you would also apply to your tire sidewalls if you like to dress your tires.

restoring black vinyl car trimHere you can see the lower, rear valance of this Ford Edge and see the difference between the left and right side after I used traditional dressing to "enhance" the black trim "temporarily"

Restoring Black Car Trim: Enhancing and maintaining

Chemical Guys Non-Greasy Dressing
Click here to buy Chemical Guys Non-Greasy Dressing on Amazon

  • Versatile product that can be used on any vinyl, rubber or plastic trim pieces
  • My "go-to" tire dressing at both a personal and professional level
  • Dries to the touch!
  • True waterborne technology (Think of water based latex paint that goes on wet, but dries to the touch and leaves visual enhancement and protection)
  • Can be used to restore black car trim or used as a tire dressing (hence the labeling) for a shine that creates an enhanced visual appearance without the overly glossy shine that requires solvent based tire dressings
  • The winning balance of cost, effort, price, and performance for most people
  • Will withstand repeated washings

Darren's Professional Tips: the rubber composition of your tire (if using this dressing on your tires) will dramatically effect how ANY tire dressing performs. This means that you need to understand that not all rubber/rubber composition used in making tires is created equal. A high-performance tire is made with far superior rubber composition than an off-road, all-purpose tire and will affect the performance of any tire dressing you are using.

Cleaning Restoring Black Car Trim that is faded or stained

black wow trim restorer

While it is possible to prevent the black trim on your car from ever aging or getting stained, I will address how to restore faded and stained black trim first as that is when most people go looking for black trim restoration products.

Darren's Top Pick for Black Trim Restorer

I am convinced that Solutions Finish is your answer for true black trim restoration which is different than what I call a black trim enhancement product.

  • Enhancement is a temporary fix or part of ongoing maintenance  for black trim.
  • Restoration is a more "permanent" fix to black trim restoration.

Darren's Professional Assessment:

Solution Finish Trim Restorer

Solution Finish - Black Plastic & Vinyl Restorer - Use for Car and Truck Detailing - 12 oz.

  • True restoration product
  • Silicone free
  • For a more original like appearance; not overly-glossy
  • Consider it like you would a permanent dye for your cars black trim
  • Formulated with chemistry with the ability to actually penetrate into the black porous material of black trim pieces on your car
  • Good for 6-12 months depending on conditions

Prevention and Preservation of Black Vinyl Car Trim

how to restore black car trim

If you are a person with the misfortune of owning a car with any form of black trim pieces, you actually have a couple options when it comes to any and all of the many forms of black trim you can find on any given car; as all black trim pieces are not created equal:

  • Hard, smooth trim pieces.
  • Hard, textured trim pieces.
  • Softer, rubberized trim pieces.
  • Pure rubber trim pieces.

Preventative Maintenance of Black Car Trim

Problem: You except that your car's paint needs waxing and maybe occasional polishing. Most car waxes and polishes will stain black trim and moldings. What is the solution to this problem?

Like most areas of life, preventing a problem is easier and cheaper than fixing a problem. Despite some amazing products on the market that will restore any of your black trim pieces on your car to better than new, prevention still remains at the top of my list as to the best alternative. For this reason I added this section:

solution finish black trim restorer

Let's pretend for a moment that you have a new car with ample amounts of black trim. And for the sake of this page, black trim can be any black material that is subject to fading from exposure to the elements, or staining from traditional wax products. These can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Fender flairs.
  • Mud flaps
  • Lower rocker panel trim pieces.
  • Door handles.
  • Sun-roof trim molding.
  • Window rubber gaskets.
  • Roof racks.
  • Etc., etc.

Solution: Modern day car waxes come in formulations that are non-staining. This means these car waxes can literally be used directly on any of your car's black trim pieces; regardless of the actual material the black trim is made of. This could be hard plastic to full rubber, to a combination plastic-rubberized material. 

Cleaning Restoring Black Car Trim:
Benefits of Maintenance

range rover black trim restoration
range rover cleaning restoring black trim

Pictured Above: Taken from a 5 year old Range Rover, these shots show first hand the benefits of modern day spray waxes can have on black trim (in their many forms) if maintained from day one. I have taken care of this Range Rover since day one, have never used any dressings or treatments of any kind, but have maintained with spray wax to keep the body trim looking like brand new.

Modern Day Wax Formulations

Welcome to modern day chemical engineering in the form of spray waxes/spray sealants!

I have to admit, when I was first introduced to these marvels of the car care world, I was completely blown away simply based on their ability to be used on black trim without any staining.

turtle wax hybrid car wax

I had grown up with the first hand experience that car waxes would always stain black trim.

The thought of applying a wax directly onto any black trim pieces regardless of whether it was 100% plastic or rubber, or some hybrid of both, was completely counter to what I had been taught.

Through advanced chemical engineering we now have spray waxes/sealants (and a few paste waxes) that won't stain black trim, but can be used directly on any black trim to maintain the health of this material just as it does to your car paint.

Next Generation of Car Waxes

Since there are numerous "next generation" car waxes referred to as non-staining formulations, I am reserving spray waxes only in the context of this page since it is the non-staining spray waxes that are not only non-staining, can be used directly over any and all of your car's black trim pieces, but will actually enhance and protect these black trim pieces just like a separate and dedicated dressing will; but now you can kill (2) birds with one stone.

The spray wax below can be used if you have a new car where the black trim has not faded or been stained, and cleaning restoring black car trim is not one of your problems, but would like to keep it from becoming a problem.

Turtle Wax Ceramic Acrylic Black Spray Wax

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  • What I consider the winning balance in a car wax
  • Easy to apply, easy to remove
  • Non-staining formulation that won't stain black car trim, but can actually be used to maintain black trim when used directly on any of your black car trim
  • Use to maintain your black car trim before you have to clean restore black car trim!

Pay it Forward:
Cleaning and Restoring Black Car Trim

I bet you know of at least one or two people in your world that can benefit from the information of cleaning restoring black car trim I have spent much time putting together. You can help me by passing this along or by posting to your favorite social media or forum.

I thank you in advance for visiting cleaning restoring black car trim, and good luck with your car's black trim!


Darren Priest