How to Clean Car Carpet and Car Interior Roof

A cars carpet and interior roof are one of the most sensitive areas when it comes to cleaning. A simple mistake such as applying too much water can leave your roof swollen and smelling pungent. In this blog, we cover how you can clean the most common type of car carpets and interior roofs — the kind made of napped cotton cloth. Generally, this process can be used for all fabric material carpets and roofs aside from suede. Furthermore, by car carpet we are not referring to the cars mats which can be detached, but what lies under them. We cover car mat cleaning in another blog. Without further ado, here’s the how to clean car carpet and interior roof guide:

How to Clean Car Interior Roof

Car roofs, better known as car headliners more often than not are made of napped cotton cloth. Headliner cleaning should be the first in the car cleaning process as water or soap may drip onto seats or carpets/mats. You should therefore leave seat cleaning and carpet/mat cleaning for last.

To clean your car’s interior roof, you can use an upholstery cleaner spray. You’ll also need a bucket of warm water and a car detailing sponge. (Sidenote: Don’t worry about investing in cleaning equipment or solutions if you’re about to sell your car, as most of these products are universal and will come in handy with your new car).

Spray the cleaner on the roof area you want to clean. You will know if you sprayed enough cleaner if the area you sprayed turns whitish due to the little foam that accumulates once it is rubbed. If not apply more. 

Dividing the roof into four equally sized parts will help greatly with ensuring a sprayed area doesn’t dry before it is cleaned.

Now, dip the sponge into the warm water and squeeze it so that only 25% of the water remains on the sponge. Then start rubbing the part you just sprayed with the cleaner. After you have sufficiently irritated the dirty area and it has become whiteish, grab a dry towel and use it to absorb any moisture or foam that remains. Do this by rubbing the towel across the cleaned area. Now when it comes to moving on to a new and uncleaned part of the roof, you want to make sure that when you reach the rubbing stage with the sponge, that you make sure to rub well into the previously cleaned area as well. That way you ensure no dry patches will remain.

How to Clean Car Carpet

When it comes to the carpet, you want to start by first detaching your floor mats and disposing of any garbage lying around the area. Next, vacuum the area to rid it of any dust or debris. After that, you can use the same process above from the how to clean car interior roof section. But for fabric floors that aren’t napped cotton, refer to the section below. 

How to Clean Car Carpet – Other Fabric Linings

Start by applying a decent amount of upholstery cleaning liquid or carpet shampoo (the size of a large coin) on one area of your car’s carpet. Then use a spray bottle and wet the area around the spot you just applied shampoo on with tap water. After that, use a hand brush to scrub the solution through the carpet and spray more water as you deem necessary. After you feel you’ve agitated the dirty carpet enough, grab a dry clean towel and start to push and drag it across the soapy carpet. Dry as much of the soap as possible this way. Lastly, use a good vacuum cleaner (one with at least 5 horsepower) to dry the carpet even further. Make sure that your vacuum head is clean so that it doesn’t add to the mess.


With both roof and carpet cleaning, you want to ensure that your car is left well aired with its windows (and preferably doors) open after you’ve completed the cleaning process. It is essential that you make any trips with the car well before the cleaning process especially if you’re not cleaning the roof alone. Furthermore, you want to ensure that the area that your car is left to dry in is a clean environment where dust and other environmental hazards such as pets can’t get into the car while it dries. Check your cleaned area for moisture every few hours and leave the car well ventilated a few hours after you feel that the wet areas have completely dried.

And that sums it up for our how to clean carpet and how to clean car interior roof guide. If you’re engaging in a full car clean up, have a look at our other car cleaning blogs:

How to clean your car seats

How to clean your car interior/dashboard/console

What to do before selling your car

How to clean your cars engine

Sell Your Motors

If you’re cleaning your car because you’re preparing to sell it, then let us introduce you to Sell Your Motors. We guarantee your car will be sold on the most favourable terms. No gimmicks, no tricky negotiations, and no scams. Here’s how we do it: We give you an estimate of how much your car is worth when you try our free online car price estimator. Then we give you a call to schedule an appointment for a car check. On the day of the appointment, we evaluate your car, present you with an offer AND seal the deal (if you choose to do so) all in 30 minutes. Sounds too good to be true? Give us a call and find out for yourself: 04 330 1030