Regardless of which style of car seat you have, you’ll find that it might collect dirt and dust. This is more so if you have children and pets who like to join you on car journeys.
However, cloth car seats are usually the ones who get the brunt of the dirt and tend to gather more of it. Unfortunately they are also harder to clean (although, not impossible).
- Can you wash car seat fabric?
- How to get stains out of cloth car seats
- What is the best cleaner for fabric car seats?
- What about leather car seats?
- How to remove smells from car seats
- Alternative car seat cleaning solutions
- Other tips and tricks for car seat cleaning
- Place a towel on the seat
- Using seat covers
- Consider a fabric protector
There may be affiliate links in this article. You can read more about this in my disclosure.
If you have a darker fabric in your car, then you might get away with not being able to see certain spills and marks, but if you’ve got lighter colours, it will definitely be seen and need sorting as soon as possible to prevent stains.
So, if you’re wanting to give your car seats a complete DIY clean, then you’ve come to the right place. We are here to give you tips on how you can clean your car seats with products that you’ll have lying around your home.
Can you wash car seat fabric?
It can be easy for your car to gather dust and dirt, even if you’re not using it regularly. Although, if you do have children then this can become a lot worse, and quicker.
An additional issue with grime and dirt is that they can cause unpleasant odors, which makes having anyone in your car an embarrassment.
If you’re on a budget or you’d simply rather do things yourself, then you’ll be thankful to know that even fabric car seats can be cleaned and there are multiple products you can use to even get stubborn stains out.
How to get stains out of cloth car seats
The first thing you should be doing before you go to remove any stains or set in marks, is vacuuming. Ensure that there are no loose bits around the back of the seats or in any creases, as adding product to these can cause them to stick to the fabric.
It’s best to investigate before going any further to fully identify how dirty your car seats actually are. If there are only a couple of marks that aren’t stained, it might be easier for you to do a quick spot treatment on it.
You can do this by simply adding a small amount of soap to warm water and washing it over the mark.
There are a number of cleaners on the market that you could be using if you notice that your car seats need a bit more TLC.
However, we know you’re here because you want to learn how to do it with household products.
To treat any additional tougher marks, mix warm water with a cap of laundry detergent or washing powder, and apply the solution in small amounts to the marks.
Once you’ve done this, use a cloth and blot or wipe the mark until it has lifted. If there are more stubborn stains then you might want to consider using a soft brush or toothbrush.
It might be worth considering purchasing a spray bottle, or finding an empty one around the house as this will make it easier to just spray on any marks or stains.
If there is a larger area to treat, consider a larger brush but only apply gradual pressure to the area as this will avoid unnecessary wear.
It’s best to avoid using too much water on your car seats and this can seep into the fabric and cause a damp smell. It can also take a long time to dry and this will cause a problem with any car guests you have.
What is the best cleaner for fabric car seats?
You have more than likely come across hundreds of different products online if you’ve been searching, but there is no need to spend an extensive amount of money on them as you can create them from home.
Baking soda paste which is usually created for extra tough marks and stains. Simply mix a small amount of baking soda and add some water.
Put the paste on the area and leave it for a few minutes. Use a brush to then gently scrub it until it’s gone.
Mix one cup of white vinegar with two cups of water and spray it over the affected area. If you notice the smell is too potent, consider adding some essential oils to it to lighten it up a bit.
Now, this is a weird solution, but it works. Shaving foam. Simply add it directly onto the area and leave it for a few minutes to settle into the fabric. Wipe or blot until the stain has gone.
If you notice that regardless of cleaning your car, you still smell something unpleasant, you might want to sprinkle some cornflour around the car seats and mats, leave for an hour and vacuuming.
Before using any of these products, it’s important for you to do a spot check before applying the whole product. This will be able to give you an idea if it will affect any of the colouring in the car seats.
What about leather car seats?
Leather car seats are much easier to clean than fabric car seats. Due to the material, you can wipe away any stains or dirt with a simple solution of detergent and warm water. It’s important that you don’t apply too much water to leather, just the same as fabric.
Once you’ve done your wiping of stains on your leather car seats, you can use a shoe cream to seal it. This should be left for a few hours in order to prevent any staining on your passengers clothes.
How to remove smells from car seats
When you have dirt, dust, grime and stains on your car seats, it’s common to have a smell that comes with it. Once you’ve done a deep clean on the seats, and you realise the smell is still present, there is a way in which you can tackle this with a few steps.
Use white vinegar and fill two bowls full before leaving one on the dashboard and one on the back seat. The white vinegar will absorb any bad smells when left overnight.
Remove the vinegar bowls and open your car windows in order to remove the smell of vinegar from your car. It’s best to have a good vacuum of your car in order to remove any extra debris that may have collected.
Alternative car seat cleaning solutions
Baby wipes work well when you want to clean your car seats. You don’t need to do anything other than pull them from the packet and wipe over the mark or stain.
Due to the use of baby wipes, they don’t contain any abrasive chemicals, which means your car seats won’t lose any color or wear down.
Dry cleaning cloths are great for cleaning car seats. You can easily access them and they are effective. Most of these will leave your car smelling amazing too.
Another great stain remover that you should consider is club soda. It is a cheaper option and very easily accessible. You could also use this to clean your car seats by mixing it with baking soda and water.
Clear ammonia and water can brighten the color of your car seats if they have general discoloration and wear. Your car seats will look brand new in no time.
Other tips and tricks for car seat cleaning
It can be pretty challenging to keep up with your car seat cleaning, especially if you have a busy life and people coming in and out of your car frequently.
However, if you keep on top of it at least once per month, then you won’t get as much of a build up. There are also other tips and tricks to keep your cat in tip top condition.
Place a towel on the seat
Towels are there to help prevent any potential spills going through onto the seat cover as you’re driving.
It’s common to eat and drink in the car but having a towel on the car seat will avoid the situation of you having to clean up the mess afterwards. You can simply pick the towel up and brush it off outside of the car.
Using seat covers
Even though this is an expense you may not need at the moment, it’s a consideration for you to maintain your car with seat covers. You will be maintaining the look of the car seats by having protection over it.
There are some car seat covers online that you can put in the washing machine as well, taking the full effort of a deep clean out of the equation.
Consider a fabric protector
There is one way of preventing any stains on your car seats and that’s using fabric protectors. These products will prevent any dirt from settling into your car seats and can be applied periodically.
A clean car will make you and your passengers feel more comfortable and will reduce any build up, as well as nasty odors that can be caused by having a dirty interior.
It’s best to keep up with a vacuuming schedule in order to keep the maintenance down to a minimum.
However, we really hope the advice above has given you some insight into how you can clean your car seats using household products.
Last update on 2023-06-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API