How to Stop Your Car Getting Dusty (Interior and Exterior)

It can be really annoying when you notice dust collecting on the interior and exterior of your car and you don’t have enough time to clean it as regularly as you’d like. So in this article I’ll be taking you through my top tips to prevent dust build-up on and inside your vehicle.

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The article is split into two main sections:

  • Interior Dust Control
  • Exterior Dust Control

Controlling Dust on the Car’s Interior

The easiest ways to reduce dust build-up inside a car are to use an anti-static interior dressing and avoid excessive use of the air conditioner and use the air re-circulator instead. It is also important to replace your cabin’s air filter to keep the interior cleaner and reduce dust build-up.

Use an Anti-Static Plastic Dressing

The dashboard and other plastic areas of the interior are the most common culprits for attracting dust. Luckily, there are actually products designed to help with this.

You can use a plastic dressing/ sealant specifically designed for a car’s interior which will not only prevent dust from building up as quickly, but it’ll also help to protect it from UV rays which cause fading over time.

There are many options out there but my favourites are:

These products are anti-static which means they repel dust so it doesn’t stick on the plastic so easily. They are incredibly easy to use as well. Simply clean the interior plastics using an APC or interior cleaner and then wipe the sealant over the plastics with a microfiber towel. Flip the towel if necessary to prevent any streaks.

Personally I use these products monthly and then wipe the interior with a dry microfiber towel weekly to prevent excessive build up and my interior always looks spotless with just a few minutes work.

There are some other types of dressing which leave a shinier finish and contain silicone and these actually attract dust. Stay away from spray-can style interior dressings as these leave a greasy finish which will worsen the issue.

Looking for some more of the best car care products to keep your interior clean? Make sure you check out my recommended products page for all my current top picks.

Change Your Cabin’s Air Filter

If your car’s cabin filter gets clogged with dust and debris then this will increase the amount of dust entering the cabin and settling all over your freshly cleaned interior whenever your turn the engine on.

Most manufacturers recommend that the cabin air filter is changed every 15,000-30,000 miles, however this may need to be done more frequently depending on the conditions you live in.

If you notice that the air flow is reduced when you have the AC on, or any unpleasant damp smells then it’s likely that your cabin filter needs replacing which should help to prevent dust building up as quickly.

Turn Your Air Con/ Heater Down

When you have your air conditioner/ heater on, you’re drawing air from outside, into your car’s interior. If you are driving on a very dusty road it’s well worth turning it off to prevent excessive dust being pulling into your car.

Use Your Air-Recirculator

Using the air-recirculator on your car’s climate controls instead of the AC control will help to prevent dust being dragged in from outside. This control reduces the amount of air entering the car from the outside and instead circulates the air already in the car. Utilising this recirculatory will help prevent dust entering the vehicle whilst still ensuring you can control the temperature inside the car.

Keep the Windows Closed

Many car owners open the windows slightly on sunny days when they’re parked up or driving to help keep the car cooler. However, warm weather usually means more dust is in the air which will settle on the interior surfaces.

Try not to keep the windows open for extended periods and only when necessary. You can also just try opening one of the windows on the side where the wind won’t be blowing into it. This will help keep the vehicle a bit cooler, but without loads of dust flying inside the car.

Ensure the Door Seals are in Good Condition

If your door seals are damaged then this will cause more dust to enter the interior. Inspect the rubber seals to make sure they are clean and in good condition. If you notice that they are damaged then it’s definitely worth replacing them.

Keep the Interior Clean

Regularly cleaning your car’s interior not only serves to remove the existing dust, but also slows down the rate of dust build-up. Dust attracts more dust, so letting it build up will worsen the problem.

Wiping down the interior with a microfiber towel every week takes just a couple of minutes but will really help keep the interior clean and dust-free. You can also use a small brush on the air vents to prevent dust building up in these areas and being blown into the air when the car is turned on.

Check out my complete guide to making a car’s interior look brand new to learn the best processes.

Reducing Dust Build-Up on a Car’s Exterior

To reduce the amount of dust build-up on a car’s exterior, use a slick paint protection product and park the car either in a garage, undercover or in an area sheltered by buildings. Washing the car frequently will both remove the dust and prevent it from building up as quickly.

Use Slicker Forms of Paint Protection

It’s a good idea to keep your car’s paintwork protected by using a wax, sealant or ceramic coating for several reasons, one of those being to reduce dust and dirt build-up. However, some paint protection products are more prone to attracting dust than others.

Natural waxes contain more oils so tend to make the car a dust-magnet. However, synthetic sealants and ceramic coatings tend to not suffer as much from this issue. However, these rules do not always apply.

What you need to look for in a product is slickness. The slicker and slippery the paintwork feels, the less it will attract dust compared to a product which makes the surface feel more “grabby”.

Most paint protection products are applied by coating the surface in a thin layer, waiting for it to dry and then buffing off. Choosing a product which is easy to buff off makes sense if you want to reduce the amount of dust build-up. It prevents a build-up of static electricity which attracts dust.

Check out my recommended paint protection products for my top choices.

Park the Car in a Garage

Keeping the car inside as much as possible will help prevent it from getting so dusty. If you have a garage, make sure you park your car in it as much as possible. It’s also important to keep your garage clean to prevent dust building up and making its way onto the paint.

Park the Car in a Sheltered Area

If you don’t have a garage, try to be more conscious about where you park your car if you have this luxury. Parking the car next to buildings which shield the car from the wind’s direction will stop as much dust and debris flying onto the car.

Make sure you don’t use trees for shelter though. Trees deposit sap onto the car’s exterior if you park them either underneath or reasonably close, so try to avoid this as possible. Sap is a lot harder to remove from the paintwork than dust!

Wash the Car Frequently

The more dust you have on your car, the more dust will be attracted to it. Keeping your car clean will prevent the dust from building up quite as quickly.

It may be tempting to use a microfiber towel and quick detailer spray to remove dust from the car between washes but I strongly recommend that you avoid doing this. Rubbing dust across the paintwork when it is dry will cause micro-scratches and swirl marks which will cause the finish to look duller and will be very visible in direct sunlight.

If you notice light dust on your car and don’t want to do a full wash, then try a contactless wash method:

  • Rinse the car with a pressure washer
  • Apply a snow foam and allow to dwell then rinse
  • Dry the car using a car dryer or leaf blower. Do not use any forms of drying that are not completely contactless though (such as a microfiber towel) because it is possible that some dust may still be left on the car and wiping it with a towel risks inflicting swirl marks.

If this is all new to you, make sure you check out my complete guide to washing your car without causing scratches to ensure you keep the paintwork defect-free.



Heather is a professional car detailer & valeter based in Cheshire and the owner of Auto Care HQ. A familiar face in the car detailing community, she has written over 200 car detailing guides on and has produced over 165 videos on the Auto Care HQ YouTube channel.

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