thanks for the quick reply!
ok, maybe what they meant was to clean the outside if any spilled over i guess..
so anyway is it ok to leave a 4 or 5 inch headspace for a while? i guess that's all CO2 now anyway, right? or is it better to top up sooner? Do I even have to worry about that gunk on the sides? Maybe it won't hurt anything if the cider soaks in it after I top up? or wait till I rack to top up?