How To Clean Car Interior Roof

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Many people ignore the interior roof when they clean the inside of their cars. But, it is important that you clean the roof, too. That makes it a wholesome cleaning, and your car would appear neat all around. Here’s a detailed guide on how to clean car interior roof just like those car wash guys do.

The interior roof/ceiling of a car is designed using fabric, leather, vinyl, or other types of upholstery. It is a bit tricky to clean this part of a car, but when you’ve got the right tools and a pro guide, you’re good to go. It doesn’t matter if your car’s ceiling is already stained, this guide would help you clean it up.

How To Clean Car Interior Roof

How To Clean a Car Ceiling

Firstly, you need to get the required equipment and products for cleaning car interior upholstery.

What do you need?

  • Upholstery cleaner
  • Steam cleaner (optional)
  • Stiff-bristled brush for removing stains
  • Soft-bristle brush for cleaning the roof
  • Wet vacuum or spot cleaner

Step 1: Open the car doors

Open up the car doors before you start doing anything – it is very important that air flows freely through the car while the cleaning is taking place. Also, wear hand gloves or anything that’d protect your hands (fingers) from getting contaminated throughout the process.

Start with spraying the upholstery cleaner you bought onto the soft-bristle brush you brought along. Now, use the brush to clean the roof gently.

Step 2: Apply pressure

If you notice a stain, apply a little more pressure as you move the brush across the stained surface. However, you should be careful how you apply pressure to avoid damaging the adhesive under the fabric used in making the roof.

But ensure that the brush forms lather as you clean the stained area. Use a clean microfiber towel to wipe the surface and check if the stain is still visible; if you could still see the stain, switch to a stiff-bristle detailing brush.

Spray the cleaning solution onto the stronger brush and use it to scrub the surface. Also, allow the brush to form lather as you focus on the stained area. The lather would help loosen the dirt and clean it off when you wipe the area with a towel.

Nevertheless, sometimes, using brushes and upholstery cleaners do not work perfectly for removing stains from cars’ interior roofs. Hence, you may need to get a steam cleaner to deal with those tough stains.

Steam cleaners are meant to loosen dirt and penetrate the stains by applying pressurized vapors to the affected surface. Well, steam cleaners aren’t so expensive, but if you feel like you won’t be needing it anymore after cleaning your car interior roof, maybe you should lookout for a store that rents it out.

It is recommended to keep the steam cleaner’s nozzle 2 inches away from the stain as you spray. Switch the original nozzle for a brush attachment, or ensure to use a narrow nozzle for this purpose. However, do not shoot (spray) so much steam (water) to your interior roof; it’s not good to oversaturate the fabric.

So far, we have recommended a handful of tools and ways to clean your car interior to remove stains. You can use an upholstery cleaner with a soft brush (if it a light stain) or a hard brush (if it is a deep stain).

Also, steam cleaners can help out here; ensure to read the manual on how to use a steaming machine.

Step 3: Dry the car

After wetting your car interior roof with water – definitely, you’d need to dry it up. Get a dry microfiber cloth or towel and start wiping down the damp ceiling. When you get to a stained surface, tap the microfiber towel, and apply a little more pressure to wipe the surface.

Immediately after cleaning a stained surface, wash the microfiber towel and squeeze water out it, before using it to continue drying the roof. You can even turn to a cleaner side and continue drying; don’t just use the same side you used to wipe out stains to clean other remaining parts; it’d distribute the stain everywhere.

Alternatively, you can use a spot cleaner or wet vacuum with a brush attachment on the nozzle to suck up the cleaning solution that’s lying on your car’s interior roof. Afterward, open up the car doors and allow the roof to dry completely before you start using the car again.

Typically, it’d take 18 – 24 hours for a car’s interior roof to completely dry up. During the drying period, ensure that nobody goes close to the car except you.

What More?

If you could still find stains after the wash, reapply the steps explained in this article. However, it is important to say that most stains you’d see on your car’s interior roof cannot completely go out. You only need to make them appear as light as possible.

More so, if you do not allow your car to dry properly before driving it out or closing the vents, a foul smell would get stuck inside of the car, which can cause difficulties in breathing. However, if after allowing the car to dry for a very long time, you still perceive foul odor inside your car, follow the guide below.

  • Prepare a homemade deodorizer using baking soda and vinegar
  • Mix vinegar with water and pour in a small quantity of baking soda
  • Add a few drops of essential if you wish
  • Pour out the solution into a spray can
  • Get a microfiber towel, spray the solution on the towel, and use it to wipe your car’s interior roof.

Allow the car to air dry again. Buy a car air freshener and install it inside the car to eliminate fouls smell and odor.


This is how to clean car interior roof without much stress. The steps/processes may seem cumbersome, but in practice, these steps won’t take long (you would be done in a few minutes).

You can also use this opportunity to clean your car’s plastic dashboard. We hope that you find this article handy for the purpose.

Finally, always read the instructions on how to use any product you bought.

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