How to Clean Car Headliner At Home

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How to Clean Car Headliner

A car headliner can get dirty over time from dust or your kids touching it. If you have a light color headliner as I do, then you will need to pay attention to it so that it stays that color. Knowing how to clean a car headliner at home isn’t that hard, and I will show you how to do it like how a professional detailing company wood.

A car headliner is made of sponge, cloth, and other materials. When cleaning the headliner, you will need to be careful not to use too much liquid. This is why you should follow this method exactly as I state it. You will not be using bleach, so do not worry about bleaching your car headliner.

car headliner

The Three Cleaning Process To Clean A Car Headliner 

Below will be 3 specific cleaning processes to clean the degree of dirt that will be on your car headliner. If the headliner is really dirty, you can choose the deep cleaning method, if you need to remove dirt marks, then choose the spot cleaning method.

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Making A Headliner Cleaning Solution For All Methods Below

This cleaning solution can be used on every car headliner, and it will not bleach or stain it. Use this cleaning solution for the 3 methods below.

What You Will Need:

  • Rubbing alcohol 
  • Dawn Dish Soap
  • Spray Bottle 
  • Warm Water

* Start by pouring 2 cups of rubbing alcohol into a 16 oz spray bottle. Add 3 tablespoons of dawn dish soap and then fill the rest of the bottle with warm water. Shake the bottle well and choose a cleaning method below to follow.

Method 1. How to Spot Clean Car Headliner

Spot cleaning your car headliner is the best way to clean stains or just random dirt marks off your car headliner. If you have a lot of stains on the headliner, choose the deep cleaning method to remove those if you have 1,2, or 3, use this method.

Step 1. Locate all the stained areas on the car headliner so that you do not forget to clean all the spots. You will also need a toothbrush to scrub out the stains on your headliner, so get them together.

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Step 2. Once you have done that, take the cleaning solution you just made and spray the stains lightly, do not spray too much of the cleaning solution, just enough to lightly wet the stained areas. Once you have sprayed them, let it sit for 5 minutes.

Step 3. Once the time is up, wet the toothbrush with some of the cleaning solutions and scrub the stain areas until the stain is coming out. You can also wet a microfiber cloth and wipe the stained areas as well.


Method 2. How to Light Clean Car Headliner

Light cleaning your car headliner is close to fully clean it, but you will just give it a general cleaning that will prevent dust and dirt from building up. If you just want to clean your headliner on a regular basis, just follow this method.

Step 1. lightly spray the entire car headliner with the cleaning solution I made you made. Let the cleaning solution sit for 10 minutes to soften and loosen up any dirt or grease that might be on it that you cannot see.

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Step 2. Fill a cleaning container with warm water and add 2 tablespoons of dawn dish soap to the water. Mix it around, then dip a microfiber cloth into it. You will use the cloth to wipe the car headliner.

Step 3. Wipe the car headliner in one direction, then dip it in the water and wash the cloth out. Do this until you think or see any light dirt gone from the headliner. You can also use a crib brush and brush the headliner too.


Method 3. How to Deep Clean Car Headliner

Deep cleaning your car headliner is the method you choose when the headliner is full of stains and dirt that a light clean will not get off. This method will require you to cover up certain parts of the inside of your car, like the seats, so that it doesn’t get wet. You can use a large plastic bag to cover your car seats.

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Step 1. Spray the car headliner with a heavy amount of the cleaning solution so that it can soak through the dirt build up. Let it sit on the headliner for 10-20 minutes.

Step 2. Once the time is up, you will need to fill a cleaning container with warm water and add some dawn dish soap to it. Mix it around and dip a scrub brush into the water. Start by scrubbing the most stained areas on the headliner, but make sure to apply about 2 pounds of pressure when scrubbing it.

Step 3. You can dip the scrub brush every few scrubs to keep it wet. Once you have cleaned all the stained arms, scrub the entire headliner in one direction. If the cleaning solution seems to be dried up, spray more and continue scrubbing.

Step 4. A steam cleaning will help as well if you have one and all you need to do is attach the section to clean the floor and run it along the car headliner. If you do not have a steam cleaner, take a clean microfiber cloth and wet it with hot water. Put on a pair of thick gloves, squeeze out the water and use the hot cloth to wipe the headliner. Keep wetting the cloth with hot water to get more steam from it.

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Step 5. Once you have done that the headliner should be clean now, and all you need to do to dry it is whine down the car windows on a sunny day for a few hours and allow the headliner to air dry from the wind.


Can I Use Vinegar To Clean Car Headliners?

The short answer to that question is yes, you can definitely use it, but vinegar will leave a very distinguished smell that would be hard to come out with the amount of cleaning you would have to do. So if you’re up to using it, just be sure that you will have to do a lot of cleaning and use air fresheners to get the smell out.

Can Vinegar Stain Your Headliner?

Using concentrated vinegar that isn’t diluted can stain a light color headliner. If you’re going to use vinegar on your headliner and it’s a light color or even a dark color, make sure you dilute the vinegar in a 1:1 ratio of water to vinegar.

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Also Read:

How to clean car carpet

How to clean bird poop off car

How to get pee out of car seat

How to clean inside of windshield 

How to get vinegar smell out of car

How to get rid of rotten meat smell in car

Final Thoughts:

Having a clean car headliner can make a dramatic difference when it comes to a clean looking car and making the interior feel better. You might be a little afraid to clean it but follow the methods above, and your car headliner will look brand new again in no time. The methods will remove mold, mildew, and even bacteria, so choose the right method and clean your car headliner.

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