How to Clean a Car Headliner

Updated February 21, 2017

Car headliners get dirty over time. Keeping the headliner clean can add to the overall attractiveness of the vehicle. Headliners should be cleaned carefully to avoid unnecessary damage. You don't need a professional to clean a car headliner. With these simple steps, you can easily clean your car headliner yourself.

Gently vacuum the car headliner using a vacuum with a brush attachment.

Determine if the car headliner is vinyl or fabric. Use vinyl upholstery cleaner for a vinyl headliner and fabric upholstery cleaner for a fabric headliner.

Spray upholstery cleaner on a white cotton terry cloth rag. Gently wipe the car headliner, working on a small section at a time.

Use an upholstery spot cleaner to remove any stubborn spots. Do not spray spot cleaner directly on car headliner. Instead, spray on white cotton terry cloth rag and gently rub headliner in a circular motion.

Leave car windows cracked to allow ventilation in the car while car headliner dries.


Spray uphulstery cleaner only on the cloth to avoid oversaturating the headliner.


Always use a white rag to clean upholstery to prevent the chance of dye transfer from the rag to the car headliner.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum with brush attachment
  • White cotton terry cloth rag
  • Vinyl upholstery cleaner or fabric upholstery cleaner
  • Upholstery spot remover
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