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'05 CTS-V
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Discussion Starter #1
A couple of weekends ago I partially removed the headliner to allow me to access the sunroof rear drains, one of which I thought was plugged or leaking. To do that, I had to remove the A, B, and C pillar trim pieces. Now, I knew they weren't clean, but man, once I had them out of the car I realized they were worse than I thought! Same goes for the headliner - I don't normally spend much time looking up at it, but having spent some time lowering it and working around it, I realize it's also in need of cleaning.

I'm used to cleaning interior plastic surfaces or wiping down leather, but that's about it. All of these parts are covered in fabric, so I wasn't sure how I should approach cleaning them. I would appreciate any suggestions on products and/or techniques. Any cleaning of the headliner will be done in the car - I don't intend to remove it. The A, B, and C pillars I either have out of the car already, or could pull out of the car with a bit more work, so I'll have a bit more flexibility to work on those.

Thanks!
 

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Super Moderator
2014 ELR
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9,550 Posts
Brake cleaner. Not kidding. It's dry cleaning fluid in a can. Spray on a clean rag or blue shop towel, dab gently, don't rub. I use it all the time when students reach in a car with the window down to roll a car for the lift and they get greasy prints on the A pillar or headliner. Or, when I do that, lol...
 

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2006 CTS-V
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351 Posts
I've had pretty good luck with foaming carpet cleaner in the past.

Hexane works well if you have some crc contact cleaner floating around as it evaporates quite fast also. Just dap and don't wipe.

-Byron
 

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Super Moderator
'05 CTS-V
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Discussion Starter #7
So, I've finally gotten around to messing with these parts over the past week or so. Over the weekend I cleaned the driver side A pillar using Oxi-clean, as had been suggested over on ls1tech. Works great, but it's slow going - spray Oxi-clean on a clean towel, blot it on, use a damp towel to blot it off / "rinse" the fabric. The top of the pillar had a pretty dark stain where the sunroof drain had apparently leaked some dirty water.

Before and after:




The towel with Oxi-clean on it was coming away brown from that. There's still some lighter water marks down lower, but it's pretty faint; not sure I'll bother trying to go at it again.

This evening I thought to myself, These parts are just plastic wrapped in some fabric, why am I thinking I have to be so gentle? I decided to try spraying some Spray & Wash right on there, then using some light scrubbing with a brush with moderately stiff bristles (one of those little fingernail cleaning brushes, but it's not new, so the bristles have softened up a bit), then rinse with water and let it dry. I figured if I really screwed up the fabric, there are always a few CTSs in the junkyards, and basically all of them have the grey interior, so I can easily grab replacements for $15 or whatever.

Well, I did one of the sail panels first and it worked great. The picture didn't show the difference as clearly as it appears in real life, so I used the "auto balance" feature of Paint.net, which kind of exaggerated how dirty the dirty one looks. But anyway, like I said, it worked great, and it took a fraction of the time it took to use the Oxi-clean.



After seeing those results, I did the other sail panel too. It's in the drying rack next to the sink now and appears to have come out looking just as good. I'll hit the other parts later - need to figure out how to pop out the tweeters without destroying them, and need to go to bed!
 

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Super Moderator
'05 CTS-V
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Discussion Starter #8
More progress, passenger side B pillar.


Close-ups of the spotting (source unknown) and the black line along the edge where the rubber weather stripping stained it along the front door.




I need to pull the driver side B pillar to do it, too. It's got some wear along the front edge, where I and the previous owners have rubbed the door sill sliding into the car, so I'll probably have to be more careful scrubbing to avoid further deterioration of the fabric. Probably should add that B pillar to my shopping list for the next time I hit the junkyard, see if I can find one in better shape.
 

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Registered
2004 SRX N* AWD
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698 Posts
So, I've finally gotten around to messing with these parts over the past week or so. Over the weekend I cleaned the driver side A pillar using Oxi-clean, as had been suggested over on ls1tech. Works great, but it's slow going - spray Oxi-clean on a clean towel, blot it on, use a damp towel to blot it off / "rinse" the fabric. The top of the pillar had a pretty dark stain where the sunroof drain had apparently leaked some dirty water.

Before and after:




The towel with Oxi-clean on it was coming away brown from that. There's still some lighter water marks down lower, but it's pretty faint; not sure I'll bother trying to go at it again.

This evening I thought to myself, These parts are just plastic wrapped in some fabric, why am I thinking I have to be so gentle? I decided to try spraying some Spray & Wash right on there, then using some light scrubbing with a brush with moderately stiff bristles (one of those little fingernail cleaning brushes, but it's not new, so the bristles have softened up a bit), then rinse with water and let it dry. I figured if I really screwed up the fabric, there are always a few CTSs in the junkyards, and basically all of them have the grey interior, so I can easily grab replacements for $15 or whatever.

Well, I did one of the sail panels first and it worked great. The picture didn't show the difference as clearly as it appears in real life, so I used the "auto balance" feature of Paint.net, which kind of exaggerated how dirty the dirty one looks. But anyway, like I said, it worked great, and it took a fraction of the time it took to use the Oxi-clean.



After seeing those results, I did the other sail panel too. It's in the drying rack next to the sink now and appears to have come out looking just as good. I'll hit the other parts later - need to figure out how to pop out the tweeters without destroying them, and need to go to bed!
Awesome! Thanks for the tip about using spray and wash. I have the A pillar by the front window with a stain from the bose speaker to the window. Tried carpet cleaner which did nothing. Will give this a go. Is it difficult to remove the A Pillar (SRX 2004), (it's getting cold here)...maybe I should just do it on the car?.
 

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Super Moderator
2014 ELR
Joined
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9,550 Posts
Cleaned salad dressing off my fabric office chair yesterday with brake cleaner.

Good work on the panels, looking nice.
 

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Super Moderator
'05 CTS-V
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7,855 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I removed the driver side B-pillar a week or so ago and cleaned that up, so that took care of all of the A/B/C pillars. I finally reinstalled those today. While doing that, I did a little test cleaning of one of the water stains on the headliner (where sunroof drain leakage had gotten to the headliner).

Before:


After:


That was using brake cleaner sprayed on a rag, per jayoldschool's suggestion. Worked pretty well. I was only working on that dark spot, didn't try to get the more faint staining.
 
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