Clean Your Car Number Plate Like a Pro

Most of the time when you send your car for servicing and cleanup, the whole body and the interior are taken care of except the car number plate. The number plate is rarely cleaned or is not given specific care due to which its condition deteriorates over time. The registration number becomes dull, thus gives a bad look.

How to Clean a License Plate

Here we will discuss 8 easy steps to easily how to clean a license plate and keep it in a sparkling condition.

how to clean license plate
Image Credit: pexels

1. Get the Tools

Before starting the process, make sure you have all the tools needed to complete the job. You require an appropriate screwdriver to remove the number plate, water, microfiber towel, a cleaning brush, car wash soap, bathroom or kitchen cleaner, and naval jelly.

2. Remove the Plate

Using the screwdriver, remove the screws on the plate. If the plate is very old, the screws might be rusted and would require extra force to pry it off.

3. Cleaning the Number Plate slot

Using a water pipe and a car wash soap, clean off the number plate slot area. Make sure to dry it off completely before fitting the number plate back.

4. Cleaning the plate

Usually, the new car number plates don’t require many struggles and can be cleaned easily using water and car wash soap. To remove dust and dirt, just use water and brush off the excessive debris. If the number plate bears light rust stains, use a kitchen or bathroom cleaning powder that contains bleach to remove them. The trick is to wet the affected area, then apply the powder and let it soak for a bit. After a while, scrub off the stains with the cleaning brush.

5. Removing Ordinary Dust and Stains

If your number plate is free of tough stain marks or rusted areas, you can employ a simple pencil eraser to remove dust and dirt. The pencil eraser works best in bringing out the original glossy look of the plate.

6. Treating the Rust

Removing dust can be difficult, as the paint’s consistency differs from plate to plate. Nevertheless, using a CLR bathroom and kitchen cleaner or naval jelly, the rust stains can be treated best to give the old number plates a gleaming look. Fill the CLR cleaner or naval jelly in a shallow bucket and soak the plate for 30 to 40 minutes. After that, take out the plate and scrub it using a light cleaning brush or a toothbrush.

7. Apply Car Polish or Shellac

After cleaning the plate following the methods mentioned above, you can now apply the car polish to give the plate a nice shining look. The car polish will be good to remove light scratches and marks from the plate. However, if rubbed too roughly, it can remove the paint and damage the plate. WD-40 is also a great product to clean the number plate and remove light rust marks without leaving a greasy look.

8. Reinsert the plate

After cleaning the plate and applying wax or polish, put the plate back in its frame and fix it in the slot. Make sure to wipe out any excess water from the plate and screws to avoid rust development.


Following the above steps will give your old car number plate a new shining look and will also help in protecting the plate. Make sure to regularly clean your car’s number plate to give your car an overall beautiful look.

Tony is a car enthusiast that likes to share his knowledge on purchasing cars with his readers.