Car Care

How to Fix Cigarette Burns in a Car Ceiling

You recently got a great deal on a used car. You had spent so much time inspecting the exterior as well as the seats, the dashboard, and the floors that you admittedly forgot to look over your head.

It’s only once you do that you realize the car has several cigarette burns in the ceiling. Now what?

To repair burn marks on vehicle upholstery, follow these steps:

  • Select a patch that’s the same material and color as your car ceiling upholstery
  • Apply solvent glue on the burn mark
  • Glue the patch over the cigarette hole
  • Add flocking glue to create a seal
  • Put velour topcoat 

That’s just one method of several you can try to fix cigarette burns in a car ceiling. Ahead, we’ll detail every method step by step so you know exactly what to do. Keep reading!

3 Methods for Fixing Cigarette Burns in a Car Ceiling

The Patch Method 

Let’s start with the method we described in the intro, which entails finding a piece of fabric that’s a close color match to your car ceiling and patching it over. Here are the full steps.

Step 1: Buy Cloth that Matches Your Ceiling Upholstery

The first step is arguably the hardest, as you need to find upholstery that’s as close to your car ceiling as possible. The type of fabric needs to be a match as well as the color. Since you can’t bring a sample into a store, you’ll have to rely on a photo of your car ceiling to buy the fabric.

We recommend shopping in a store over browsing around on the Internet when searching for the right fabric. Internet photos aren’t always true to the product you get. If you want a patch of fabric in slate gray but the color that arrives is almost whiteish, the color contrast is too much.

That said, in some instances, you won’t be able to find a flawless color or fabric match. You don’t want to make yourself crazy, so a close match is fine if a perfect match is impossible. After all, not a lot of people who ride in your car are going to notice the patches on your car ceiling, especially if the damage occurred right over the driver’s seat and nowhere else.

Step 2: Cut Your Patch to Size

You don’t need to buy a lot of fabric, which will keep the cost of repairs down. If the burn is the size of a cigarette, then it’s similarly sized to a pencil eraser. A small square of fabric will suffice for the patch.

Using fabric scissors, cut out a small circle from the fabric square. Hold the fabric patch over the cigarette burn and keep trimming until it’s sized to the precise measurements of the burn hole. Excess fabric is a great way to attract unwanted attention to that part of your car’s ceiling.

Step 3: Glue the Patch

Now it’s time to glue the fabric patch into place on your ceiling. Use solvent-based glue to help the patch bind. 

Avoid squirting out more than a drop or two of glue. Using too much will cause the glue to stick on the other parts of your ceiling, possibly creating stains. 

Apply glue to the cigarette burn and then stick the patch on, holding the patch in place for a couple of minutes. When the patch sticks on its own, you can move on to the next step. 

Step 4: Use Flocking Glue

You’re not quite done gluing yet. Next, it’s time to spray some flocking glue over the area. Use a small but not insignificant quantity here. The flocking glue will seal the patch into the rest of the ceiling.

Step 5: Add Velour Topcoat 

Finally, use a bit of velour topcoat. The topcoat will create a more natural appearance around where you patched the car ceiling so it was almost like the cigarette burn never happened. 

The Seat Fiber Method

If the thought of patching a piece of mismatched fabric on your car’s ceiling is unacceptable, there’s another way to go about fixing the cigarette burn. You can scrape fibers from the ceiling or the seat of your car. Here’s more information.

Step 1: Use a Razor to Scrape Your Seats/Ceiling

With a razor blade, gently scrape across either the seat of your car or the ceiling. If the seats and ceiling upholstery match, then you can use either or. If only the ceilings are that color, then scrape the ceiling.

We must stress that you’re not digging into the upholstery, but gently scraping. As you drag the razor across the fabric, the motion will begin to pull up lint-like fibers. Hold onto the fibers, as you’re going to need them shortly.

Step 2: Glue the Fibers Over the Burn Mark

Once you’ve accumulated enough fibers to cover the cigarette burn damage, you can stop scraping with the razor blade. Using the same solvent-based glue as before, apply some glue in the hole created by the cigarette burn. Then adhere the fabric fibers to the affected area. 

Step 3: Wait for the Glue to Dry

You can keep your fingers over the fibers to help them dry without falling off. Wait for a couple of minutes according to product instructions. Since the glue is no longer sticky, you can fluff the fibers so they blend in better. You should now have a hard time determining where the cigarette burns even were. 

The Mayonnaise Method

We have one more method for you to use to remove car ceiling cigarette burns, and it’s admittedly a bit of a strange one. Why? Well, it requires mayonnaise. 

These are the steps to follow if you want to give it a try.

Step 1: Rub Mayonnaise Over the Burn

Take your jar of mayo out of the fridge and bring it to your car. Using a spoon or a kitchen knife, collect a dollop of mayo from the jar. With the spoon or even your fingers, begin rubbing the mayonnaise over the burned area of your car’s ceiling. 

Tread lightly with the mayo or else your entire car will smell like eggs. You might want to put down your window while you’re doing this.

Step 2: Let the Mayo Sit for Several Minutes

Once the mayonnaise is thoroughly rubbed into the upholstery (but not too thoroughly, as you need to wash it out shortly), give it five to 10 minutes to do its thing. You don’t have to sit in the car during this time if the smell is too much for you. 

Step 3: Clean up the Mayo Residue

While the mayo is chilling on your car ceiling, you can always go inside and gather a few wet paper towels, as you’re going to need them anyway. Using the paper towels or a wet cloth, remove all the mayonnaise residue after the time has elapsed. 

If you can’t get the smell or color of mayo out of your ceiling upholstery with just water, you can always use a bit of scent-free dish soap. 

As you remove the mayo residue, you’ll notice something else happening too. The cigarette burns are not as apparent as they were before you slathered mayo on the roof of your car. 

Step 4: Glue Fabric Over the Cigarette Hole

Using mayonnaise a time or two might be enough to remove the burn marks. You can even scrape away the burn marks with your finger or a butter knife after doing the mayo trick. 

Then you want to repeat the steps we outlined in the last section. That is, gather extra fibers from the seat or ceiling of your car with a razor and glue them into place over the cigarette burn. You can also use a patch to hide the cigarette hole. In either instance, let the glue fully dry.  

Conclusion

Discovering a cigarette burn or several on the roof of your car can be quite upsetting, especially if you bought the vehicle used and you don’t even smoke.

Fortunately, using mayonnaise, some glue, and a razor blade, you can patch up your ceiling upholstery so it looks like the cigarette burns were never there. Of course, if you’d rather let a car specialist detail your vehicle to perfection, that’s an option too. (It also involves no mayonnaise, which is nice.) Good luck! 

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