How to Clean a Car Ceiling

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Your car’s ceiling, also known as the headliner, can become dirty over a period of time as a result of our hands, hair, skin, and other objects coming into contact with the ceiling. Since the fabric of your car’s ceiling is glued to the roof, you should be sure to use safe cleaning methods and products that will keep the glue and laminate intact. Continue reading this article to learn more about the proper methods for cleaning your car’s ceiling in a safe and efficient manner.


  1. Loosen dirt and grime from your car’s ceiling using a microfiber cloth.A microfiber cloth is made from materials that will lift and collect the majority of loose dust, dirt, and grime from your car’s ceiling.
    • Use a dry, clean microfiber cloth to gently rub the ceiling of your car in the direction of the grain in the headliner fabric.
  2. Purchase an upholstery cleaner or shampoo to use on your car’s ceiling.The upholstery cleaner should be compatible with and safe to use on the ceiling’s fabric type. For example, if your car’s ceiling is made from vinyl, purchase a vinyl cleaner.
    • Visit a local retail store that specializes in auto parts and products to locate an upholstery cleaner that is safe to use on the ceiling fabric in your car.
  3. Spray the upholstery cleaner across the entire surface of your car’s ceiling. An upholstery shampoo or cleaner will remove any dust, dirt, and grime that the microfiber cloth was previously unable to remove.
  4. Gently rub the entire surface of your car’s ceiling using the microfiber cloth. After the upholstery cleaner has worked itself into the headliner fabric, the microfiber cloth will remove any leftover stains, dirt, dust, and other grime.
  5. Remove grease stains from your car’s ceiling using a water and vinegar mixture.A mixture of 3 parts water and 1 part distilled white vinegar will remove grease stains from the headliner without affecting the glue and laminate that attaches the fabric to the ceiling.
    • Saturate a clean microfiber cloth with the water and vinegar mixture, then gently rub the cloth against the grease stain for removal.
  6. Wait for your car’s ceiling to dry completely before applying more upholstery cleaner. If your car’s ceiling remains dirty after the first application of upholstery cleaner, the fabric must dry completely to prevent the wet glue from detaching the headliner fabric from the car’s ceiling.
  7. Lightly spray air freshener or orange oil onto your car’s ceiling if odors remain.Products such as these can help remove unpleasant smells such as cigarette smoke or food smells from the headliner.
    • Refrain from saturating the fabric of the car ceiling with air fresheners, as some air fresheners may contain chemicals that can eat away at the glue keeping the headliner fabric attached to the ceiling.
  8. Finished.

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