How to Restore Black Plastic Trim

by Brooke Pierce

An often neglected part of your car's exterior, black plastic trim starts to fade after prolonged exposure to elements like UV rays, weather changes and dust. The sun oxidizes black plastic trim causing it to look dull, dirty and old. The material dries out, becomes weak and is susceptible to breakage. You can clean and restore the color of black plastic trim using products available from your nearest auto store or garage.

Items you will need

  • Masking tape  

  • Towels

  • Water

  • Soap

  • Denatured alcohol  

  • Degreasing solution  

  • Gloves  

  • Black plastic dye

  • Plastic trim protectant

  • Microfiber pad   

Clean the Plastic Trim

Use masking tape to protect the car's surface, applying it on top of the trim to avoid spreading the dye to other areas. Use the towel soaked in soapy water and wash the black plastic trim thoroughly. This will ensure that all the dirt, grit and gravel are removed. Use a clean cloth with denatured alcohol to remove contaminants. For intense cleaning, use a degreasing solution while applying medium pressure. Rinse the trim with clean water, and dry it with a rag.


The degreasing solution removes wax buildup that accumulates after prolonged exposure of the trim to the elements.

Apply the Dye

Don gloves before you start the dye-application procedure. Apply a small amount of black plastic trim dye on a clean towel. Smear your car’s trim with the dyed towel and do not let it reach the upper part of the vehicle. Repeat the step until every part of the trim is well treated.

Protect the Trim

Allow the dye to dry and apply the trim plastic protectant. Use a microfiber pad to apply it and avoid scratching or damaging the trim. The protectant will protect the trim against UV rays and give it a fresh appearance. Ensure that each part of the trim is protected and is allowed to dry.


  • Use black plastic trim protectant

    every time you clean your trim.

Items you will need

About the Author

Based in Amsterdam, Brooke Pierce has been writing automotive-related articles since 2012. She holds a Bachelor of Science in automotive engineering technology from Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI.