How to Clean Car Headliner

Recently updated on July 12th, 2022

Cleaning your car’s headliner is a sensitive task you want to do with extreme care. Steam is the easiest way to clean the headliner. The headliner can absorb a lot of aromas from food, cigarettes, open windows, and smoke. Additionally, many headliners’ stains are from fingers and heads, which typically implies they are oil-based and can be easily removed with steam.

Like the roof of your house, the headliner is an essential element for the car. However, sometimes because of ignorance, the headliner becomes faulty. In that case, you have to clean and repair the headliner. Let us check the article together; we will guide you on cleaning your car headliner and making it look new.

How to Clean Your Car Headliner like a Pro?

Surface Clean

  • Step 1 – Use Aerosol Upholstery Cleaner
  • Step 2 – Wipe off the Corners, Crevices, and Consoles
  • Step 3 – Deep Cleaning
  • Step 4 – Rub the Surface
  • Step 5 – Remove Moisture

Spot Clean

  • Step 1 – Remove Debris
  • Step 2 – Clean Spots With Upholstery Cleaner

Deep Clean

  • Step 1 – Use A Steam Cleaner
  • Step 2 – Pre-treat the Headliner
  • Step 3 – Dry the Headliner

Let us discuss in detail what will you need – 


  • Microfiber towel
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Steam cleaner


  • Upholstery stain remover solution
  • Baking soda
  • Interior cleaner
  • Water
  • Vinegar

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Surface Clean

Step 1: Use Aerosol Upholstery Cleaner

You can apply aerosol upholstery cleaner for this procedure. This cleaner uses a frothing technique to break up the grime trapped beneath the headliner.

Step 2: Wipe off the Corners, Crevices, and Consoles

Spread the upholstery cleaner on the surface of your headliner. Try to prevent it from soaking. Carefully clean all the corners, crevices, consoles, and sunroof section with the cleaner.

Step 3: Deep Cleaning

Allow the cleaner to set on the headliner. Follow the guidelines of the manufacturers. Moreover, it protects the surface from the damage caused by excessive spraying. You may repeat the step for deep cleaning.

Step 4: Rub the Surface

Scrub the surface with a soft-bristled brush. To ensure precise cleaning, rinse every portion of the headliner. If you don’t brush every part of the automobile, it may show once it dries.

Step 5: Remove Moisture

Next, blot moisture from the headliner using a soft towel. After that, let it air dry for 1 to 2 hours.

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Spot Clean

Step 1: Remove Debris

Wipe away debris with a microfiber cloth. Additionally, you can rub the surface with a soft-bristled brush.

Step 2: Clean Spots With Upholstery Cleaner

Flip the microfiber cloth and gently saturate it with upholstery cleaner. Clean the stain with a moist towel. Wait for the damp area to completely dry.

Deep Clean

Step 1: Use A Steam Cleaner

Take a steam cleaner for the deep cleaning process. It should be compact and non-abrasive.

Before starting, let some time to heat the steam cleaner. The time varies according to the model of the cleaner. Anyhow, you can consult with an expert or follow guidelines to get the best results.

Step 2: Pre-treat the Headliner

After heating the steam cleaner, vacuum the headliner. It is used to pre-treat the headliner. Place the steamer on one headliner for a few seconds to remove tough stains.

Step 3: Dry the Headliner

Now, allow it to dry completely to prevent the adhesive from failing and mold growing. Unlock the windows and doors of your car to dry the fabric. Also, you can utilize fans to speed up the operation.

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Remove Foul Odors from a Car Headliner

Combine water, vinegar, and baking soda in a spray container. Stir it well. This solution will help to remove cigarette odor from the car headliner. Dab it on the headliner along with a soft cloth.

Keep in mind that too many solutions may lead to mold development.

Then, vacuum the headliner to eliminate odors from the surface. If it still stinks, dilute the vinegar with a few drops of essential oil before adding the cleaning solution.

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