How to repair cigarette burns in a headliner

Written by liza hollis | 13/05/2017
How to repair cigarette burns in a headliner
Lit cigarettes can create small, unsightly holes in your car's headliner. (cigarette image by bright from

Cigarette burns are often found on headliners of car owners who smoke inside their vehicles. The heat of the cigarette can singe the thin headliner material almost immediately, and it is very easy to bump a cigarette against the fabric with a simple act such as knocking ash out the window. You can repair these pesky little holes without replacing the entire headliner, though the hole might remain slightly visible.

Evaluate whether the headliner foam is visible through the cigarette burn. Unless the headliner was exposed to a lit cigarette burn for a while, this is unlikely. If the hole is very small, replacing the headliner is unnecessary. However, if there are many holes you might need to cut away the fabric and replace the headliner foam in this area.

Select a piece of fabric that matches your headliner as closely as possible. This is essential to a successful repair and might some hand-dying to get the colours to match well.

Replicate any needed texture by drawing on the fabric with a coloured pencil. If your headliner features a design, such as a pinstripe, you can complete this design with high-quality watercolour pencils. This will further conceal your repair.

Cut your fabric to only approximately a quarter-inch larger than the cigarette burn hole. If you create too big a patch the area might be more noticeable than the hole itself. Position the fabric piece over the hole to check for fit and colour before applying any glue.

Affix the patch with fabric glue. Allow it to dry uninterrupted for at least an hour. To help hold the patch in place apply a layer of velour topcoat to the patch. This will help it blend with the remainder of the headliner.

Things you need

  • Fabric
  • Fabric dye
  • Coloured pencils
  • Scissors
  • Fabric glue
  • Velour topcoat

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