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How to Apply Trim and Vinyl Protectant

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How to Apply Trim and Vinyl Protectant

When it comes to cars, the details matter and just one slip could ruin the look of your whole ride! Your trim may seem like a minor aspect of your detail, but leaving it neglected will stand out like a sore thumb. Cleaning your trim then applying a premium dressing is all it takes to restore your trim, but which dressing is right for you?

When it comes to dressings, you have a variety of options. Let’s look at them closely.

Water Based Dressings

Water based dressings are versatile products that can be used on the exterior and interior of your ride. They are usually white and creamy in texture and come in spray and cream format. In terms of shine, they can offer anywhere from a low satin sheen to a high shine.

Oil Based Dressings

Oil based dressings can be used on exterior surfaces such as trim and tires. They are usually clear or transparent in color and offer the glossiest shine and the deepest conditioning to plastic and rubber trims.

Aerosol Dressings

Aerosol dressings are a super easy way to add shine and color richness to hard to reach areas and super intricate pieces on your car. They work especially great on intricate grilles where you would otherwise be painstaking to work with. With aerosol dressings, you can put that q-tip away and simply spray on shine!

Ceramic Trim Coatings

Carbon trim coatings offer the longest protection and deepest shine. Like all protective coatings, they dry hard on the surface for the ultimate protection. A protective coating like Carbon Flex C9 Trim Coating can last up to 2 years on your plastic trim! Keep in mind that a carbon trim coating can only be applied to plastic surfaces, not rubber or vinyl.


First, you’re going to want to clean the vinyl, rubber, or plastic surface to which you are applying the dressing. A clean surface means that the dressing will be able to stick to the surface and last its longest. The dressing is going to need something to hold on to. What you’ll be pulling off is not only dirt and grime, but also old dressings that could reduce adhesion. Think about trying to stick tape on a dirty surface. The tape is not going to stick well and peel off very easily. Now, imagine you cleaned the surface and then stuck the piece of tape on. It’s going to stick much better! The same thing happens with dressings, so don’t skip the important step of cleaning the surface! You can use a premium all-purpose cleaner like Nonsense to clean the surface. Simply spray onto a microfiber towel, clean the surface, and then buff off. If need be, you can use a soft bristled brush to really get into the pores of the surface to extract deeply embedded dirt and grime.


Next, you’re going to want to shake your dressing, then apply 2- 5 sprays or a few drops of dressing directly into a foam or microfiber applicator pad. If you are looking for super precise application, try using a foam applicator. Spread the dressing over the entire workpiece, then work and rub deep into the surface. Massage it gently like you would skin. This way, you are getting into all the pores of the surface. Buff off any excess with a clean microfiber towel. Wait 5 – 10 minutes, then add additional layers as needed. If you happen to get any dressing on your paint or glass, don’t fret. It simply wipes off with a quick detail spray!