3 things you need to know when getting car ceiling clean

Updated Oct 19, 2020 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

There are different methods on how to clean a car ceiling. That's why we provide a guide on how to handle dirty and stained ceiling.

Most of the times, the car’s ceiling, also called the headliner, is overlooked when cleaning the car’s interior. However, the headliner still gets dirty. Good thing you can easily remove grime and stain in the headliner with the use of an upholstery cleaner and detailing brush. For a more detailed car ceiling cleaning tips, read on this article from Philkotse.com.

1. How to spot-clean the headliner

Before diving into the step by step procedure, here are the materials you will need:

  • Microfiber towel
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Upholstery cleaner

Step 1. Spray upholstery cleaner in a soft-bristle brush

To make sure that you’re using safe upholstery cleaner for the interior, but only from an automotive shop or trusted shops only. Use a small detailing brush and wet its end with the cleaning solution. Doing so will give you better control on where you will apply the cleaner in the car’s interior.

cleaning car ceiling

Use a small detailing brush and wet its end with the cleaning solution

Step 2. Wipe the spot with a microfiber towel to dry

Use a microfiber towel to blot the area you cleaned. Hold the towel firmly so it can absorb the cleaner. In small circles, rub the towel around the stain. It will help lift off the stain from the surface. Inspect of there still a presence of stain, if it has lightened up or it’s still noticeable. Repeat the whole process if the stain is still very visible.

cleaning car ceiling

In small circles, rub the brush around the spot

>>> Read more: Helpful checklist for car interior cleaning.

2. How to remove tough stains

Materials you need:

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Steamer
  • Stiff-bristle brush
  • Upholstery cleaner

Step 1. Lift as much stain as you can

Wet the stiff-bristle brush using an upholstery cleaner. Move the brush in tiny circles to form a lather. It will also loosen the stains in the headliner. Use a microfiber towel to wipe the cleaner away then clean as much stain as you can.

Different detailing brushes can be bought from a local car care shop. Also, don't forget to wear nitrile gloves to prevent skin irritation.

>>> Pay your attention to 10 must-have car care products.

Step 2. Rent or buy a steam cleaner

The pressurized vapor from the steam cleaner penetrated the stains and loosens dirt. You can either buy or rent a steam cleaner depending on your choice. You can also buy a small steam spot cleaner.

The steamer comes with a brush attachment or a narrow nozzle. You can use either of the two. Hold it away from the stain then pull the trigger to shoot steam. Be careful not to saturate the stain with too much water because it can damage the fabric’s adhesive underneath.

Steam cleaner

The pressurized vapor from the steam cleaner penetrated the stains and loosens dirt

Step 3. Use microfiber towels to dry the stain

Blot the stain using microfiber towel while it is still wet from the steam. Check if there's still a presence of stain. If yes, give it another burst of steam then try to lift it up using a cloth in circular motions. This procedure is ideal when removing stains from food or other resilient spots.

Blotting the area using a microfiber towel

Blot the stain using microfiber towel while it is still wet from the steam

>>> Also read: 6 ways to maintain your car interior’s cleanliness.

3. Deep cleaning the whole headliner

Materials you will need:

  • Spot cleaner or wet vacuum
  • Stiff-bristle fabric brush
  • Upholstery cleaner

Step 1. Spray the cleaner on a stiff-bristled brush

You can use either an all-purpose cleaner or upholstery cleaner to clean your vehicle’s ceiling. Don’t forget to find a well-ventilated area to perform the procedure. Dampen the bristles of a large detailing brush using the cleaning solution.

Do not directly spray the cleaner on the headliner because it can damage the fabric’s adhesive underneath. Again, do not forget to wear latex gloves for both your hands to avoid any skin irritation from the chemical cleaners.

Step 2. Rub the headliner using the brush

Rub the brush in long back and forth strokes to create lather. Press the bush gently while scrubbing the car’s ceiling. If you notice that the brush is not creating lather anymore, spray more cleaning solution on the brush. For very visible stains, you might need to add extra cleaner while brushing it in small circles.

cleaning car ceiling

Rub the brush in long back and forth strokes to create lather

>>> Grasp your attention: 5 simple hacks to keep your car organized.

Step 3. Utilize a spot cleaner or a wet vacuum in removing the cleaning solution

Attach a brush attachment on the machine’s nozzle, hold it against the headliner then turn it on. Start working on the front part of your car and towards the rear part.

Make sure the machine is sucking up the cleaning solution. The method is perfect for removing smoke and nicotine residue from the interior of your car.

Step 4. Allow the car’s ceiling to dry completely

The spot cleaner or the vacuum should have absorbed most of the moisture from the headliner, but you still need to let it completely dry for about 24 hours. To check, touch the fabric and feel if it’s already dry.

If you notice that the vacuum left lines on the fabric, remove it. If your car is in a safe and secure place, you can leave the windows open to let the car's air out.

car ceiling

If your car is in a safe and secure place, you can leave the windows open to let the car's air out

Step 5. Repeat the whole procedure if the stains are still noticeable

If the car ceiling has completely dried, check for any discoloration and/or noticeable stains left on the headliner. If there's a visible stain, try doing a spot treatment. If it didn't work, then resort tot heavier cleaning procedure. Note that not all stains can be removed. If that’s the case, the best thing you can do is to lighten the stain as much as you can.

A brush and a vacuum cleaner

If there's a visible stain, try repeating the procedure or the spot method

Important notes

  • It's better to work in a well-ventilated area. This will prevent fumes build-up.
  • Always wear a pair of latex or nitrile gloves when working with chemical cleaners to avoid any skin irritation.  
Hanna Sanchez

Hanna Sanchez

Author

Hanna is one of the most competitive swimmers in the country during her day. It was not long before she discovered her passion for the automotive industry as well. Nowadays, she balances her passion through writing as well as coaching.

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