How to Get Water Stains Out of a Headliner

How to Get Water Stains Out of a Headliner – #1 Best Tips

If you have stains on your vehicle’s headliner, you know how unsightly they can be.

Plus, stains on the inside of your roof could point to a leak that is letting water encroach inside your car or truck.

Don’t let stains compromise the appearance of your vehicle- and prevent your headliner from fostering the growth of mold in a space you frequently occupy.

Over time, this can be a very unhealthy situation.

How to Get Water Stains Out of a Headliner?

If you have a cloth headliner in your vehicle, try removing water stains with an upholstery cleaning solution- these often come in easy-to-apply spray bottles. Use a soft cloth to scrub spots that may be stubborn- or try a soft bristled toothbrush in small circles, gently with care. You can also mix a solution of dish detergent and white vinegar to remove water stains from a variety of different surfaces and headliners. Dry thoroughly with a microfiber towel or mitt.

Got water stains on your headliner? Keep reading to learn how to fix this problem fast!

Cleaning Headliner Water Stains

Have you happened to look up when driving down the road in your vehicle and noticed water spots or unsightly stains on the headliner?

Sure, these may not be terribly noticeable, but you know that they are there.

Also, if left untended and untreated, this can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew- especially if there is a leak or gap that is allowing moisture to breach the roof and compromise the interior of your car or truck.

The best solution is to address the issue quickly and head-on.

That is, first try to remove the water stains and then maintain a regimen that includes routine cleaning of the headliner, to prevent future issues.

Methods to Remove Water Stains

There are a lot of ways to remove water stains from headliner, and the efficacy really depends on the type of headliner you have, the type of stain you are dealing with, and the amount of elbow-grease you put into cleaning the spot.

Which of the following methods is best for the water stains on your vehicle’s headliner?


To spot-clean, the headliner, which is probably the most common approach, try using a commercial upholstery cleaning solution that you buy in any big box or home improvement venue.

A small brush works well for applying the cleaner to the headliner.

You can make your own spot cleaner by combining white vinegar, dish soap, and warm water in your spray bottle- spritz liberally and use the brush to work on stubborn stains.

Blot Moisture and Grease

Try blotting the stains first, before adding any chemicals or solutions to the site.

Use a dry, clean microfiber towel and gently- but firmly- pat the stains and look for any sign of moisture or grease on the towel.

Use a clean portion of the towel each time to blot to avoid transferring oil or grime back to the headliner. Repeat as often as necessary.

Steam It Away

Rent yourself a steam cleaner and give the headliner a thorough, deep clean.

The vapor from the steam helps to loosen dirt and debris, which will break up stubborn stains.

Make sure to hold the nozzle at least two full inches from the surface of your headliner.

Spray the Stain

Use products and put your solutions in spray bottles for easy application.

It is misleading how challenging it can be to access, reach, and clean the headliner of a vehicle- particularly if you have a small vehicle that doesn’t give you room to climb around.

A spray bottle simply helps with access issues.

Wet Vac

Enlist the help of a wet vac or car wash vac to suck up the extra cleaning solution after cleaning. This will expedite drying time, too.

Remember that the full extent of your cleaning won’t be fully noticeable until the headliner is completely dry.

Give the headliner plenty of time to dry out, and ride with the windows open if possible, to help them along.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Get Water Stains Out of Headliner

How can you get out water stains on cloth headliners?

Use an upholstery cleaning solution and rub it with the grain of a cloth headliner. Use enough pressure to wipe away the water stain, but not so much that you compromise the adhesive keeping the headliner attached to the roof.

How to get rid of hard water and rust stains?

Get rid of hard water and rust stains with baking soda on an old toothbrush. You can add other solvents for stubborn stains, like borax, vinegar, and lemon juice- but do not ever mix toxic cleaning chemicals that could have a poisonous reaction.

How do you get out a stubborn stain?

Dish detergent applied directly to a stubborn stain is good for removing many different types of stains, including rust stains, grease, grime, blood, oil, and ink or dye. Plus, it is gentle enough that it won’t cause harm to most surfaces and materials, including your hands.

How to re-glue a headliner?

Use a spray adhesive to secure a headliner to the roof of your vehicle, but if you don’t have an opening to apply the glue, try pinning it to the interior of the roof. Depending on the type of headliner that you have, these may be effective strategies.

Conclusion On How to Get Water Stains Out of a Headliner

Does your vehicle’s headliner have issues like stains? This is not uncommon and typically these stains are caused by water that is creeping in from somewhere.

Do yourself a favor and remove water stains to improve the aesthetic appeal of your car or truck, but also to curb the opportunity for mold or mildew to grow.

This can cause an unhealthy situation that compromises the quality of air inside your vehicle.