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How to Clean Car Seats

Last Updated on August 26, 2022 by

Cleaning Car Seats

Most people spend a lot of time in their cars running errands, driving the kids to school and activities, and taking the dogs to the park. As a result, dirt, debris, and crumbs build up in the nooks and crannies of the seats. Spills leave the fabric stained and you don’t even want to sit in it, much less allow someone else in. However, cleaning the seats in your car is easy to do and if you clean the seats regularly, your car will always look good as new.

Getting Started

Start the process by removing items that have collected over time from your car. Don’t keep things in there unless you absolutely need them. Once the car is empty, you need to remove the crumbs, debris, and dirt that have accumulated. Start by spraying a light fabric cleanser on the seats and brushing away the debris. Once it is removed, vacuum the seats and the debris from the floors.

Cleaning Fabric Seats

It isn’t possible to wipe away dirt or stains on your fabric seats. You will need to remove them instead. The trick is to know what products to use. You need to remove these stains as soon as you notice them because the longer they have to set into the fabric, the harder they are to remove. Even if you don’t have stains, it is a good idea to clean your fabric seats regularly to remove odours and germs that may become trapped in the fabric.

Car cleaning supplies are made specifically for the fabric in your car and they make the process a lot easier. If you choose to use your own cleaners and soaps, be careful. Make sure that your mixture isn’t going to fade the colour of the upholstery and don’t use so much soap that you need a hose to get it out. You can use dish soap or a solution of vinegar and warm water. Clean the fabric, dry it with a towel, and check for lingering stains.

Removing Stains From Fabric

It may be disappointing to clean your car seats only to find that there are stains that didn’t wash away. Do not despair; there are a number of tricks to remove any stains left behind in your fabric. There are several common household products that will do a great job. Club soda, a solution with baking soda, a vinegar mixture, or even laundry detergent will do the trick. You need a cloth and a clean toothbrush and you’ll be ready to get started.

  • Club soda: Spray the club soda directly on the stain. Use a toothbrush or a small scrub brush to get the stain out and wipe it clean with a cloth towel.
  • Baking soda solution: Not only will baking soda remove stains but it absorbs moisture and helps keep your upholstery fresh. Mix a quarter-cup of baking soda with warm water and apply it to the stain. Let it sit for up to 30 minutes, depending on how bad the stain is. Use the toothbrush to scrub the stain and wipe it clean with a towel.
  • Vinegar and dish soap: Mix vinegar, a small amount of dish soap, and hot water in a bucket. Brush the stain to remove it and wipe the seat clean with upholstery cleaner and a towel.
  • Laundry detergent: Mix a few drops of laundry detergent with hot water and scrub the stain. Dip your towel in cold water to rinse the seat and blot dry.

It is important to keep your upholstery clean as stains set in more deeply the longer they remain. There are various ordinary household products that you can use to remove stains. Keeping your fabric seats clean and stain-free will help your car hold its resale value and keep it free of bacteria and grime.

Removing Stains From Leather or Vinyl Seats

Leather requires a different process. After you vacuum the seats, you want to remove any stains before you clean the seats. You have several options to do this.

  • Nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol: Use either product and blot the stain with a cotton ball. Wipe away the area with a clean towel once the stain is removed.
  • Non-gel toothpaste: Blot non-gel toothpaste on the stain and gently scrub it with a toothbrush. Wipe it off with a clean cloth and dry it with a clean towel.
  • Lemon juice and cream of tartar paste: Mix lemon juice with cream of tartar to make a paste and use a toothbrush to scrub the stain. Wipe it away with a clean towel when you finish.
  • Vinegar mixture: Mix one part white vinegar with one part water to make a cleaning solution. Blot the stain with a clean cloth dipped in the solution. Dry it with a clean cloth when you finish.

If the stain is particularly difficult, you can leave one of these stain-removing solutions on the spot for up to thirty minutes. No matter which solution you use, always wipe it clean with a dry towel. Once you have removed the stain, you can clean and condition the seats.

Cleaning Leather or Vinyl Seats

There are a number of options for cleaning your leather seats. Many auto stores sell leather cleaners that are manufactured specifically for leather and vinyl. You will apply most of these products with a damp sponge or a clean cloth.

If you don’t have a leather cleanser or you want to use something that you already have at home, you can mix a few drops of dish soap with warm water. Take a damp towel and clean all of the leather or vinyl on your seats. Leather is a premium material and it is important to clean it regularly to prevent it from becoming dry and cracking.

Conditioning your leather is a good idea because the better you care for it, the longer it lasts. You should clean your leather seats once a month and condition them two or three times a year to keep them looking great.