How to properly clean the ceiling in the car

What to clean the ceiling in the car

Accumulated on the ceiling of the car in the process of operation dirt deteriorates the appearance of the interior, promotes the reproduction of bacteria and the emergence of unpleasant odors. In this case, an unsuccessful choice of means for cleaning the ceiling in the car or mistakes made during cleaning can lead to the formation of streaks and sagging fabric.

In this article, we will examine in detail how to clean the ceiling upholstery in the car interior with your own hands, so as not to damage it, what chemistry is best suited for different materials and colors, and answer other popular questions on the subject.

What is the best way to clean a car ceiling?

Ceiling sagging due to unsuccessful cleaning

Cleaning the car ceiling upholstery can be done manually, with a vacuum cleaner, steam generator and tornado. For light soiling, dry car ceiling cleaning or gentle wet cleaning is preferable.

Resort to heavy use of water and water solutions is only worthwhile if the upholstery is very dirty, as there is a risk of sagging fabric after getting wet.

The table below shows what you can clean the ceiling in the car interior, and which accessories are best suited for certain cases.

Cleaning methods Particulars of use Types of dirt to remove
Clean with a soft sponge, cotton cloth or microfibre cloth. Apply detergent to the sponge or cloth, then gently rub into the upholstery. After cleaning, it is advisable to wipe the area with a clean, slightly damp cloth and then dry. It will help against light dirt and dust, without stubborn and greasy stains.
Soft brushes and brushes The cleaner is applied to the brush or brush itself. Remove the stain with light, longitudinal strokes, without pressing hard. After cleaning, go over with a damp and then a dry clean cloth. Helpful against medium soiling, not very ingrained stains.
Household Vacuum Cleaner Use a brush head or brush with a soft brush head, don’t press it too close to the upholstery. Set suction power to the minimum, if available. Effective with regular treatment, removes dust and dirt particles. If the ceiling has not been cleaned for a long time, the treatment with a vacuum cleaner is only the initial stage of cleaning.
Vacuuming with a Damp Vacuum Cleaner A special detergent is added to the water tank. Before washing, you need to reduce the power of the water supply so as not to over-wet the ceiling. The suction power should be lower than average. Wide furniture nozzles and car nozzles are preferred. Medium soiling, stubborn dust, not very heavy stains.
Tornador As a detergent it is possible to use a universal household cleaner (for example, “Vanish”) or a special automotive cleaner, such as GRASS Universal Cleaner (112100). The foam can be applied directly to waterproof surfaces (leather, eco leather) and to highly absorbent and delicate (carpets, velours) surfaces with the help of sponge or tissue and by spraying the composition on it. Removes almost any dirt, the effectiveness depends on the selected detergent.
Steam generator The steam generator is used in conjunction with a soft-bristle brush head or a cloth wipe. The switch should be set to the lowest power mode. If the ceiling is wet after steam treatment, remove excess moisture with a dry microfiber cloth. Removes light to medium pollution, softens stubborn stains for their localized removal on the next stage of cleaning.
High Pressure Mini Wash Used for cleaning the car ceiling in conjunction with car interior cleaning brushes. It is desirable to work with a wide nozzle to distribute the pressure. The power of the pressure, in this case, is reduced to a minimum. It is undesirable to clean highly absorbent upholstery materials, such as carpets and dense fabric. Effective when removing dirt from the ceiling panel previously removed. Combined with quality chemicals can get rid of almost all contaminants, but you must take precautions not to damage the ceiling.
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Using a steam generator to clean the ceiling

Cleaning the car ceiling with a tornado

The choice of means, as well as the technique of manual and mechanical cleaning of the ceiling in the car directly depends not only on the degree of contamination, but also on the texture and color of the upholstery. Recommendations on the most appropriate chemicals that will allow you to clean the ceiling in the car without consequences – in the next section.

What is the best product to pick up for cleaning the ceiling of the car

Choose a means for cleaning the ceiling of the car with your own hands should take into account its characteristics. Substances suitable for leather may be dangerous for velour or fabric and vice versa. The table below will help you to choose chemicals depending on the color and material.

Material type Material characteristics Color of material Optimal cleaning agents
Fabric Highly absorbent Forms lint when rubbing Pulls when wet and warm Black* and coloured Car interior cleaners in foam or spray form, such as RUNWAY Dry Interior Cleaner (RW6099). To avoid streaks and stains, do not use soapy products or cleaners with chlorine.
White*. Foam cleaners such as Koch Chemie MEHRZWECKREINIGER (86001). You can use Vanish for carpets or similar non-aggressive chemicals for cleaning the ceiling.
Natural leather Almost does not absorb any water, barely absorbent, resists light friction Resists mild heat If aggressive agents are used, paint may be damaged Black and white Leather interior cleaners such as Grass Leather Cleaner (131100). Household cleaners like Vanish can also be used for minor soiling. The main thing is not to use highly concentrated, caustic solutions. After cleaning it is desirable to treat with a conditioner, such as GRASS Leather DT-0111, to preserve the properties of the leather.
Colored It is best to use a special cleaner for dyed leather, such as Sonax Leather Care (291141). Often brightly coloured dyes are not as resistant, so coloured leathers need to be treated more carefully.
Faux leather May be afraid of overheating Unwanted to be vacuumed with a powerful vacuum cleaner and stiff brush All colors Can use most car interior cleaners and household cleaners. Avoid high concentrations, and do not use chlorine-based cleaning agents. To preserve the properties of the material, it is recommended to treat it with a conditioner after cleaning, e.g. GRASS Leather DT-0111.
Alcantara (imitation suede) Moderate moisture absorption, but pulls when wet When rubbing, it easily forms gradient stains, so do not press or rub hard Sensitive to overheating, when heated it pulls strongly and may sag Dark shades Alcantara interior cleaners are the best option. Good examples are HI-GEAR (HG5201), Koch Chemie Pol Star (92001).
Light and bright tones. It’s best to use an alcantara interior cleaner that protects color, such as Lavr Textile&Carpet cleaner color safe Ln1464.
Carpet Absorbs water well Underlay is sensitive to overheating Forms lint when rubbing, but is relatively easy to remove All colors Carpet is a rather unpretentious material, which can be cleaned with common cleaners, such as Vanish for carpets, as well as with car detergents, such as ATAS Vinet.
Velour Moderately absorbs water It collects dust, so it needs gentle vacuuming Overheating and getting wet will stretch and may sag Black It’s best to use special products for the velour interior, such as RUNWAY Dry Interior Cleaner. They are gentle on the material, leaving no stains. Household furniture cleaners that do not contain bleach or caustic substances.
White For light and colored velour requires high-quality special chemicals, such as RUNWAY RW6091, Lavr Ln1564, as all defects are visible on it. Gentle steam exposure is also acceptable.
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* The recommendations given for white coatings are also relevant for other light shades (light gray, cream, etc.), and for black – for other dark shades (dark blue, dark brown).

How to clean the car ceiling and not to damage the coating

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Car Ceiling.

One mistake many car owners make is simply vacuuming debris from seats and carpeting, neglecting the interior trim and, in particular, the ceiling. This surface tends to be porous, so it tends to absorb and retain dust and smoke, and without regular cleaning it can retain an unpleasant odor for days, weeks or even forever. If you learn how to clean the ceiling and its trim, as well as perform other basic maintenance, your car will always look and smell fresh.

While you may know how to clean car upholstery and carpeting, the headliner is quite delicate by comparison. It’s a sensitive fabric material, so extra care will need to be taken and special cleaning products and methods will need to be used to avoid damaging it when trying to remove stains and odors.

1. thorough cleaning will fix everything

Car ceiling cleaning / Photo:

Unfortunately, you can’t just wash your car ceiling with hot water and soap. This can cause sagging and permanent damage. The ceiling upholstery in cars is made of a soft foam-like covering and maintenance-specific materials such as suede, vinyl, leather or fabric. These are all attached to a hardened base, usually made of fiberglass or other molded fiberboard, and serve several purposes, including:

Over time, materials can become dirty, unevenly colored, tanned and cracked as a result of everyday use – from dust, cigarette smoke and other unpleasant substances, for example. A sure sign that it is time for cleaning is a change in color from when the material was new. You should take the time to do this procedure regularly so that you don’t spend a large sum on restoration later: since the entire ceiling panelling is manufactured as a single piece, if it is destroyed it will have to be replaced as a whole piece.

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2. tools and cleaning tactics

What will be needed for cleaning the ceiling / Photo: lada2111.rf

For the work you will need:

Cleaner – homemade or store-bought. Choosing a cleaner in an auto store, you should find out in advance about the material with which it will have to work – this will simplify your choice at the counter. And it is best to buy the composition, which foams in the form of an aerosol, because it is more effective than the liquid.

If you decide to prepare a home remedy, mix in a sprayer 0.25 cup of white vinegar (60 ml) and 0.5 tbsp of liquid soap (7.5 ml) with 1 cup of warm water (250 ml). After plugging the hole, shake to make the solution homogeneous and get your own cleaner. This compound can also be used as a mild but effective freshener on seat fabrics and spot-cleaner on other soft interior surfaces.

Using hot steam / Photo:

Stale ingrained dirt will require more drastic methods, up to using a steam cleaner.

Important: The Internet describes a variety of cleaning products used for cabin care – from baking soda and toothpaste to stain removers for upholstered furniture and professional car products. Before using any mixture of chemicals globally, always test on an inconspicuous area to make sure that the components are compatible and to avoid damaging the visible part of the surface that is being treated. Remember to wear gloves.

3. Removing fresh smudges, splashes, drips, and other small stains

Stains on the car ceiling / Photo:

Spot cleaning can be effective in removing small spots. These can be left over from careless handling of food and drink, dirty hands, or water leaking into a hatch left open when it rains. Careful wiping with damp wipes often produces dramatic results. To remove more significant defects:

Always try to gently remove sticky bits without driving them in deeper. Use a microfiber cloth or soft-bristle brush to clean off dust and any loose masses stuck to the trim here and there (never use a stiff brush – it will damage the ceiling fabric). If something is stuck, don’t scrape it dry, try soaking it off with clean warm water.

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Dry cleaning the car ceiling / Photo: autoscratch.rf

If at this point the dirt is no longer visible, the job is done. Otherwise, you will need to apply a cleaner – commercial or homemade. Spray some on the corner of the microfiber cloth, leaving the rest dry for later use.

Important note: Never spray directly because the trim will become too wet, which may cause you to have to deal with mold later. Foam spray is the perfect tool for cleaning interior ceiling surfaces. Foam does not saturate their porous materials as much as water and is wonderful at removing odors.

With light pressure, blot the affected area with a damp corner of a cloth, wait a minute, then remove excess moisture with a clean, dry piece of tissue.

Wait until the product dries completely, then check to see if the stain is completely removed. If it is still visible, repeat the process, adding gentle stroking in small circles. If you get the result you want, good. If not, try more radical steps.

4. Stubborn stains

Stubborn dirt on the car ceiling / Photo:

To get rid of stubborn old stains, follow these steps:

5. Deep cleaning

Deep cleaning of the car ceiling / Photo:

Because ceiling upholstery is a delicate item, deep cleaning should be a last resort. It requires steaming, and heat and moisture can weaken the glue that holds upholstery layers together. The consequences can be dire: the lining, for example, will detach and sag, or the color will change. Think about whether you are willing to take the risk. Car wash services know how to deal with this professionally, but if you still prefer to handle it on your own, proceed as follows:

Prepare a steamer and some water in addition to the cleaning solution. Even better if you have a special deep cleaning system at your disposal. Don’t forget to work in a well-ventilated room.

Fill the machine with water and a small amount of cleaning solution. Follow the included instructions to mix the ingredients in the correct ratio. Important: If your steam cleaner is designed to clean a specific brand and type, it is safer to use the specified product on a consistent basis. Using a different solution may cause the steamer to spit up excess foam or leave residue on the fabric that will stain the ceiling even more.

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Steam cleaner for cleaning car interior / Photo:

Now turn on the steam cleaner. It needs time to warm up, so wait until it’s ready. Put the right adapter on the spout, narrow or wide, then bring the nozzle up to the upholstery. Start at the front corner and move along the ceiling at a steady speed. For reference, moving 7-10 cm per second will avoid overly deep moisture saturation of the ceiling and damage to the adhesive and foam underneath. If the ceiling looks too wet, adjust your pace or technique.

Advance in long motions in the same direction to get a uniform surface when the cleaner dries. Remember to release the trigger between strokes to keep the soapy water from splashing all over the car interior, and overlap the next stroke with the previous stroke by 1 cm.

Car with open windows / Photo:

Leave the car in a dry, well-ventilated and dust-free place with the doors open and/or the windows down. It may take a full day for the trim to dry well – or less if fans are used for more air circulation.

One important step you shouldn’t miss when steam cleaning your ceiling: when it’s completely dry, run a microfiber towel over the entire texture. This will remove any whitish streaks left by the cleaner, if any, and give the ceiling a smooth new look.

As you start the “big clean,” make sure the upholstery on your car’s ceiling is secure and undamaged. If there is any looseness in the fabric or other defects, skip all these methods and contact a professional in the shop.

However, it’s not just dirt on the ceiling that needs to be dealt with, but also excessive moisture in the car interior .

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