How To Clean and Protect Rubber Trim Around Car Door and Windows


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rubber seal around car door

The rubber trim around your car windows serves an important purpose. It keeps water from getting in, creates a sound barrier between interior and exterior, and protects your interior from the outside elements. However, over time, this rubber will start to look bad.

It will become dry and cracked, and this can cause leaks or just look unsightly. It’s crucial to maintain the rubber trim around your windows to keep it working well and looking good. This is an easy process that takes just a short amount of time.

Basically, you will want to clean and dry the area, apply a protectant on the rubber to keep it flexible, protected from the weather, and also shiny.

In this article, I’ll take you through the steps I’ve used to clean, protect and maintain my car’s rubber trim around car windows.

How To Clean Rubber Trim Around Car Windows

First, let’s talk about cleaning rubber trim around car windows and doors. In order to properly protect it, it has to be clean in the first place. You should clean it whenever you’re washing your vehicle. That way, it’ll last longer and look like new for a long time.

I’m not going to go through the whole car wash process, you can check the full car washing guide here. Instead, I’ll concentrate on rubber trim around windows and door only.

1. Pressure Wash Rubber Trim

When pressure washing your vehicle, thoroughly pressure wash rubber trim around car windows. The pressure washer will remove most of the dirt from it, making it ready for the next step.

Make sure to use a pressure washer on outer trim only. There’s also an inner rubber trim when you open the door, but don’t use a pressure washer over there since you could spray the whole car with water.

2. Clean The Outside Trim With Wash Mitt

When doing a contact wash with wash mitt and car wash soap, make sure to clean the rubber trim thoroughly. Car wash soap will break most of its dirt, so it’s ready to protect.

If you don’t know what’s wash mitt, it’s a specifically designed microfiber product that’s used for safe and non-scratchy washing of the vehicles. Must-Have Microfiber Products: You shall have all of these!

3. For Extremely Dirty Rubber Trim, Use Detailing Brush

If rubber trim on your vehicle is extremely dirty, you should use the detailing brush with some soapy water or APC (all-purpose cleaner) and agitate the trim.

A detailing brush (check my recommendations) will enter all the pores and thoroughly clean the trim. Again, you don’t have to do it if all the dirt and dust were removed when washing with a wash mitt.

4. Clean Inner Rubber Seal

Inner rubber seal is located between the doors and the chassis. Usually, it won’t be so dirty, but it’ll depend on how often you clean your car and how thoroughly you clean it.

I like to take a microfiber cloth, spray it with APC, and wipe the inner rubber trim. While cleaning it, you’ll probably realize that rubber trim makes your microfiber cloth black. That’s because it’s started to wear, and it needs protection

The same thing as with outer trim. If it’s extremely dirty, you can use a detailing brush to clean it more thoroughly. Just make sure not to skip any areas, and be as detailed as possible.

5. Dry The Trim With a Drying Microfiber Towel

When you’re drying the vehicle after a thorough wash, try to dry rubber trim as much as possible, especially when we talk about the inner rubber trim.

I like to use a different microfiber towel for inner rubber trim, since it’ll probably leave some black color on it (don’t want to ruin expensive drying towels for that).

9 Reasons Why Car Detailing Is Grea...
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How To Protect Rubber Trim Around Car Windows

Okay, now that the rubber trim around car windows is clean, you should apply some protection to it. It’s important not to skip this step, otherwise, you might end up with worn rubber trim in just a few years.

This will help prevent your exterior trim from drying out and cracking due to sun exposure while also preventing those nasty stains from bird droppings and other road gunk. If there are already cracks in the trim, this might not be too effective, so you’ll have to replace them if they’ve deteriorated beyond repair.

Just follow the steps below, and you’ll learn how to protect the rubber trim on your vehicle.

1. Use High-Quality Rubber Seal Protectant

Many products on the market claim to protect your rubber trim, but they may contain harmful chemicals or solvents that can actually damage your trim even more.

You can use products such as 303 Rubber Seal Protectant (check the price on Amazon now), which has no solvents or petroleum distillates that can damage your trim.

This high-quality protectant goes on easily and dries quickly, leaving behind a long-lasting barrier that repels water and dirt. It also restores color and shine to faded and dull rubber trim above your car’s windows and doors.

2. Apply The Protectant

Use a soft cloth or foam applicator to evenly apply the rubber seal protectant on the trim. It’s best to start from the center and work your way out so that you don’t end up with unsightly overlapping marks.

Once you’re done, let it sit for about two minutes, and then wipe off any excess by using a clean microfiber towel. And, that’s it, the rubber trim around your car windows is now clean and protected.

Frequently Asked Questions

While browsing the internet about this topic, I realized that many people have some questions about cleaning and protecting rubber trim, and in this section, I’ll answer some of the most frequent ones.

The rubber trim on my car is already faded and worn, can I fix it?

Well, you should try using the method above first, and if that doesn’t fix the problem, you could then try to use some colored rubber seal protectants, which will bring them back to life.

Can I use WD40 to protect rubber trim?

While some people like to use WD-40 on everything, I wouldn’t recommend you do that. At first, it may look great and shiny, but it won’t stay there so long because the rubber won’t be able to soak it fine. Use 303 Rubber Seal Protectant instead.

Is silicon spray good for protecting the rubber trim around car windows?

Even though silicon spray is great at protecting things, I don’t recommend you use it on rubber seals since they’ll become sticky and attract dirt and dust.

How often to apply rubber protectants?

In general, rubber protectants should be applied every couple of months or so, but many people find they can go longer between applications. When in doubt, stick with every three months as a good rule of thumb.

Final Words

As we have seen in this article, it’s not as hard to clean your car as you might think. All that you need is a few quality products, a little bit of time and effort, and the proper know-how and you’ll be able to keep your car’s rubber trim looking fresh and shiny for years to come.

A little elbow grease and these products will have your windows gleaming again in no time and also protect your car’s trim from the elements.

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