How To Clean A Car Headliner

Car headliners are a forgotten place when it comes to cleaning. Most people focus on the floor and seats when they clean their car, but the headliner is just as important. 

Over time, dust mites, water stains, smoke and other allergens can collect on the headliner, they may cause respiratory problems for those with allergies or asthma. 

A dirty headliner can make your car unclean and not comfortable. Not only is this unsightly, it can also lead to premature wear and tear on the headliner itself.

So cleaning car headliners is very important. In this post I will share the best way to clean it quickly and effectively for DIY.

Best Ways To Clean Your Car Headliner Quickly and Effectively

Way 1. Use a Mixture Of Vinegar and Dish Soap

mixture of vinegar and dishsoap
Ease: Easy
Time: 10–15 minutes
Effectiveness: Medium

Vinegar is a natural cleaner and deodorizer, while dish soap acts as a degreaser that can break down grease and grime. When used together, they create an effective cleaning solution for your car headliner. The vinegar also works to remove odors from the interior of your vehicle, leaving it smelling fresh and clean. Additionally, the combination of vinegar and dish soap is safe to use on most fabrics, making it a great option for cleaning car headliners.

Tools You’ll Need

  • White vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • A Spray bottle
  • Microfiber cloths

How To Do?

1. Start by mixing equal parts of both white vinegar and dish soap in a bucket or spray bottle.

2. Apply the mixture to your car headliner with a microfiber cloth

3. Scrubbing gently in a circular motion.

4. Once you have finished scrubbing, rinse the area with a damp cloth and allow to dry.

Way 2. Use A Car Upholstery Cleaner

Ease: Easy
Time: 7-10 minutes
Effectiveness: High

A car upholstery interior cleaner is specially formulated to clean car upholstery and headliner material. It will remove dirt, stains, and odors from the surface of your car headliner, leaving it looking like new. Additionally, this cleaner will help keep your headliner fabric soft and pliable while also protecting against future staining and damage.

Tools You’ll Need

  • A lint roller
  • A sponge
  • An interior cleaner

How To Do

1. Vacuum the headliner with the soft brush attachment to remove any loose dirt or dust.

2. Use the lint roller to pick up any remaining debris.

3. Use the sponge and the interior cleaner to gently scrub them away. Be sure to test the cleaner on a small area of the headliner first to make sure it won’t damage the fabric.

4. Clean any residue with a dry microfiber towel.

Way 3. Use A Rubbing Alcohol

clean headliner with rubbing alcohol
Ease: Easy
Time: 10 minutes
Effectiveness: High

Rubbing alcohol is another choice for cleaning car headliner because it is both effective and safe to use on most fabrics.

Tools You’ll Need

– Rubbing Alcohol

– Microfiber Cloth

– Vacuum Cleaner

How To Do

1. Start by vacuuming the car headliner to remove any debris and dirt.

2. Soak a microfiber cloth in rubbing alcohol and gently rub the surface of the headliner.

3. Rinse the area with warm water and allow it to dry completely before use.

Way 4. Use A Steam Cleaner

steam clean headliner
Ease: Hard
Time: 20-30 minutes
Effectiveness: High

A steam cleaner is an effective way to clean and disinfect car headliner without the use of harsh chemicals. Using water vapor, it releases hot steam that penetrates deep into the fabric to remove dirt, debris, and stains. It also helps to sanitize the surface and kill any bacteria or germs that may be present.

Tools You’ll Need

  • A steam cleaner
  • A microfiber cloth

How To Do

To use a steam cleaner, start by filling the machine with water and turning it on. Once it is ready, hold the nozzle close to the car headliner and start steaming away any dirt or debris. Work your way around until you have covered the entire headliner area. Allow the surface to dry before use and enjoy the clean and fresh feeling of your car headliner.


By using these methods, your car headliner will be looking and smelling as good as new. Remember to use the cleaning method that is best suited for your specific car interior material and always test a small area before applying your chosen solution to the whole headliner.

Thanks for reading!

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