Not many people are aware that the ceiling of their car is called a car headliner, let alone how to clean a car headliner. While you may know how to clean the car upholstery and carpeting in your car, these same techniques cannot be used to clean the ceiling.
That’s where we come in. We’ll show you the proper way to clean the ceiling of your car. Unfortunately, you cannot merely scrub the car headliner with hot water and soap to get it clean. Doing this can cause sagging and permanent damage.
The headliner in cars is made of soft foam-like interior and finished with a material like suede, vinyl, leather, or fabric. Over time, the headliner can become soiled or stained from everyday use, such as dust or smoke. These materials need special attention when cleaning to maintain the car ceiling.
Clean the Headliner in a Car
The material of the headliner is attached with adhesive to a hardened fiberglass material on the ceiling. Therefore, cleaning the car headliner needs to be done using specific methods and the right cleaning products.
You don’t need to waste money by taking your car into a car detailer. These techniques show you how to clean headliner fabric and restore your car’s headliner to its original shape.
Take care of the headliner while cleaning the rest of the car’s insides. The best way to clean the car interior is to tackle the whole job at once so you won’t have to do it as often.
Clean Your Car Ceiling
Cleaning a headliner using improper methods can cause damage to the inside layers of the headliner. The following cleaning process will show you how to clean your car ceiling to remove minor stains by using an interior cleaner such as Detail King’s cleaning kit.
Get a microfiber towel damp with water and spray a small amount of car interior cleaner onto the towel. Dab the cloth onto the surface of the headliner, paying particular attention to the stained areas. Use moderate pressure and do not agitate or rub the stain.
Continue dabbing the area until the stain is gone. Use a dry microfiber towel to dab the area dry to remove any excess moisture. Allow the headliner to dry.
Remove Water Stains from a Car Headliner
If you’ve ever had the mishap of leaving your car windows open right before a rainstorm, you probably know all about water stains in your car. The following method will show you how to remove water stains from a car headliner. This cleaning solution is also useful as a fabric cleaner for cleaning upholstery and for spot cleaning the interior of your car.
Mix the water, white vinegar, and dish soap in a spray bottle and shake. Spray the solution onto a soft bristle brush and gently scrub the water-stained areas in circular motions.
Do not use too much cleaning solution or too much pressure, or you’ll risk damaging the fabric adhesive. Use a dry towel to apply pressure to the area to absorb any liquid.
You can also use this solution for cleaning car upholstery with stains or for those on the carpeting, as well. You can use a little more of the cleaner on these areas, as there is no adhesive to worry about.
Clean a Car Headliner using Foaming Cleaner
Foaming cleaner is an ideal cleaning tool for cleaning the lining on your car’s ceiling. The foam does not saturate the material as much as water does, and it works well for eliminating odors.
Spray the entire surface of the headliner evenly with the foam. Allow the cleaning foam time to work by letting it dry for the recommended time on the can instructions. Use a soft bristle brush to gently rub the cleaner into the material. Once the liner has completely dried, use the handheld upholstery tool of your vacuum to suck away leftover residue.
Clean the Surface of a Car Headliner
If you have never cleaned the headliner in your car, then this is a good time to do a surface cleaning of the entire headliner. Doing this with a DIY interior car cleaner will not only clean it but remove the build-up of smoke and dust that can accumulate on its surface.
First, make sure your car’s headliner is secure and damage-free. If there is any loosening of the headliner fabric or other damage, skip this method and have it examined by a professional at a repair shop. Start by cleaning any dust and debris from the headliner using a car vacuum cleaner.
Use the upholstery cleaner tool of the vacuum to focus on the outer edges, crevices, and dome lights of the ceiling. Dampen a cloth with water. Mix the water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the solution onto the damp cloth.
Use moderate pressure to dab the cloth onto the liner, gently working one section at a time until it is dirt-free. Make sure not to soak the headliner with too much water. Use a fresh, dry towel to dab excess moisture from the liner.
Cleaning a Car Headliner with Upholstery Cleaner
You can use a standard upholstery cleaner for deep cleaning a liner and removing tough stains. This cleaner also works well for cleaning and sanitizing other areas of the car interior, such as car seats and cleaning carpets in cars. Follow the same directions for the headliner, although you can apply a little more pressure since you don’t have to worry about harming any adhesive.
Headliner Upholstery Cleaner
Make sure the car is well ventilated by opening the windows. Spray the upholstery cleaner onto a soft, microfiber towel and apply it to the stained area.
Do not spray the upholstery cleaner directly onto the liner, as this could damage the underlying adhesive. Gently pad the stain away with moderate pressure. Pat the area dry with a clean towel.
How to Deep Clean a Car Headliner
Deep cleaning should be the last resort when it comes to cleaning your car’s headliner. This process uses the combination of heat and moisture as a stain remover but may also loosen the adhesive from the liner, so take special care.
You’ll be using a steam cleaner with an upholstery attachment for this process. To find the proper ratio of hot water and stain remover solution, follow the instructions of your cleaning machine’s instruction manual.
Use the upholstery attachment to begin cleaning at the corner of the headliner. Press the spray trigger as you move along the liner, making sure that you do not remain in one area for too long to prevent over-saturation. Use the same pace and technique across the entire liner.
Allow the headliner a day to dry. Speed up drying time by rolling down the windows or running fans. Once the liner is dry, you may notice dried lines in the material. Run your hands along the grain of the fabric to smooth out the surface.
Removing Bad Odors from a Car Headliner
While giving your vehicle a good car cleaning, you may have discovered the overhead liner has some bad odors. Remove these bad smells from your car’s headliner in a few simple steps using a homemade fabric deodorizer.
For removing cigarette smell from car headliner or other areas of the interior, mix the water, household vinegar, and baking soda in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the solution onto a soft cloth and gently dab the solution onto the liner, making sure not to saturate the headliner. Never spray the headliner directly as it will get too wet and could lead to mildew later.
Make your way over the entire headliner by working one section at a time. Once dry, use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment to vacuum the whole surface of the liner to remove any remnants of baking soda and bad odors.
If you’re not a fan of the smell of vinegar, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to this solution and put it in a spray bottle. Now you have an essential oil car air freshener spray you can keep in the console to deodorize the car whenever it starts to smell funky.
It’s not often that you look up to the interior roof of a car while driving. Little did you know that having a clean car meant more than just vacuuming out debris from the seats and carpeting. Completing regular headliner cleaning while you perform other car care needs keeps your vehicle looking and smelling fresh.
Now that you’ve learned how to clean a car headliner in a few simple steps, why not share our headliner cleaner tips with your friends and family on Pinterest and Facebook?