How to Clean Your Automobile's Interior Wood Trim

Cleaning interior wooden trim

Ahh wooden trim... Think classic jaguar. Wooden trim can really bring the class level of your automobile investments to a new level but if its not cleaned and cared for properly (like all other parts of your car) it will begin to look faded and tired, and can leave the overall impression of your interior looking drab. 

If your wooden trim is excessively dirty or has been left unattended and it has build up on it, then it should be thoroughly cleaned with a diluted all purpose cleaner and a microfiber towel. Using soft-bristled detailing brushes can also be used to access tight areas, corners and curves. It is important when using an all purpose cleaner that you ensure you thoroughly remove all residue and do not allow it to dry anywhere on the trim.

Interior Wood Trim

Next Step

After contaminants, dust, and grime have been cleaned off you will be able to see the true condition of the wooden trim. If it has become oxidized or lightly scratched/swirled over time you can polish it to remove these imperfections.

An all in one polish product made for the paintwork of your car may ideal for polishing wooden trim. A small amount should be applied to a sponge or microfiber applicator pad, then worked into the trim using both circular and linear motions. Once the polish has dried it should be buffed off with a soft microfiber towel.

An all in one polish product made for the paintwork of your car may ideal for polishing wooden trim.


While polishing your wood, you should be careful not to contaminate the surrounding trim with polish residue. In fact taping off the trim with painters tape may be a good idea depending on the car. 

If the trim has been neglected over a considerable amount of time you may need to repeat the polishing process a number of times until the trim has been restored to a satisfactory standard.

Some classics may have wooden steering wheels. 

Some classics may have wooden steering wheels. 

What do I do now?

You've polished; what now? After polishing, your wooden trim can be waxed with a good quality natural carnauba based product. This will help to protect and seal the trim. It will also bring out the clarity of the grain in the wood and vastly enhance the reflections of the clear coat. The wax should be applied via a sponge or microfiber applicator pad, left to cure, then buffed off with a clean, soft microfiber towel. You'll want to ensure again that you do not contaminate any of the surrounding trim with wax residue or your job will become a bit more involved...

Maintenance is key

After your wooden trim has been cleaned, polished and protected it should be routinely maintained. Owning an automobile is either a passion or a pain for many people and wooden trim can increase your time invested. It needs be properly maintained along with the rest of the interior of your car to keep it looking its best. It should be vacuumed off using a soft brush attachment to remove any dust and loose contaminants, then wiped over with a soft microfiber towel and a detailing spray. Using a detailing spray works very well in maintaining interior wooden trim. You may want to read our other advice on how to clean the interior of your car.

If you find that you have a problem with your trim attracting allot of dust and other loose debris soon after it has been cleaned. This could be due to static that has been created from buffing it with a microfiber towel. A good way to combat this problem is to use an anti-static screen cleaner that is designed to clean computer monitors, mobile phone screens and other similar surfaces. The cleaner should be misted over the surface then lightly wiped over with a fine, soft lint free cloth.

Merceds Benz Interior Wood Trim

For more reading, check out how to clean plastic exterior car parts.

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