How to Soften Car Window Rubber

by Leonardo R. Grabkowski

Rubber window moldings dry out and become hard after years of use. The molding around your car window is exposed to direct sunlight and heat, which causes it to deteriorate faster. Rubber molding can be restored by cleaning it with a sponge and soap and then applying a conditioning product.

Step 1

Clean the window molding with a mild soap solution mixed with warm water. Dishwashing liquid works well. Mix equal parts soap and water, and then use the lint-free cloth to clean dirt and residue from the window molding.

Step 2

Saturate the sponge with the rubber or vinyl conditioner. A sponge works best for its gentleness and absorbency. Thoroughly wipe the window molding, working the conditioner into the rubber.

Let the conditioner set on the molding for 10 to 15 minutes, then apply another coating. Leave your windows down for four hours following the second application.


  • Rubber/vinyl conditioners are available at most auto parts stores. If you cannot find a suitable product, use a vegetable-based cooking oil (almond oil is mild and works fine).


  • Most rubber molding can be restored, but if it is dry-rotted, the trim will have to be replaced.

Items you will need

  • Mild soap
  • Water
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Rubber or vinyl conditioner
  • Sponge

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