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Best Ways to Clean Car Seats 

Car upholstery should never be neglected when it comes to cleaning. The inside of the car is very quick to gather loads of bacteria, dust, and dirt so even if you vacuum somewhat regularly, it’s often not enough.

So for your convenience, we have gathered the most useful tips for cleaning car seats.

Best ways to clean a car seat

Before you start, remember to remove the car mats from the floor and vacuum the area around the seats. What we recommend is that you use either multi-purpose cleaners for fabric seats or find one for the specific material your car seats are made from.


However, if you don’t have any of those, fear not! There are plenty of options available that will only require normal household products everyone has.

With laundry detergent

Choose one for mixed fabrics and mix it with hot water. Dampen the area with this solution and then dab it with a dry towel until it’s clean. Let it air dry.

With a vinegar solution

White vinegar is always a savior when it comes to cleaning stains and removing unpleasant smells from various surfaces. Create a cleaning solution by mixing hot water, a cup of vinegar, and a bit of dish soap. Apply the mixture with a spray bottle, scrub it in the seats and rinse with water. Repeat if necessary.

With a baking soda mix

Baking soda is great for dealing with stubborn stains and dirt. Make a solution from a cup of warm water and ¼ cup of baking soda and apply a thin layer of this cleaning mixture to the area you want to clean. Use a soft brush, like a toothbrush, to really get the detergent in the fabric. In case there are any stubborn stains, leave the solution for about 30 minutes and then rinse with lukewarm water.

With club soda

Pour some club soda into a spray bottle and apply it to the area. After that use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the seat and wipe it with a microfibre cloth until it’s almost dry.

Best way to shampoo a car seat


Do a preliminary cleaning

You can’t shampoo your car before removing all the debris, trash and other large items from them and the surrounding areas. Put the floor mats away and if you have any coverings, as well. Vacuum with the appropriate attachment and pay special attention to the area under the seat and between the car door.

Select and test your shampoo

Now it’s time to choose the perfect shampoo for your car seats. The best option would be one that is made for the specific material and contains odour neutralizers that will help keep the nasty smells away. Check if the shampoo can be used right away or it needs to be diluted with water first. Before you start cleaning the seat, check on a small inconspicuous area to make sure it won’t damage the fabric. If the color changes, find a different detergent. We recommend that you use a leather conditioner that is pH neutral and water-based

Pretreat the stains if any

This process will break the bonds between the stain and the fabric of your car seats, making them a lot easier to clean afterward. For ink stains, you can use hair spray; for gasoline stains, use equal parts white vinegar and dishwashing detergent; and for anything else, use shaving cream.

Clean the seats

Now that you’ve made sure to prepare the area and chose the perfect shampoo for your seats, it’s finally time to get to the cleaning.

  1. Carefully apply the cleaner to the seats, working one area at a time.
  2. You can do this with a soft-bristled brush, without applying too much pressure. Use circular motions in order to apply the cleaner evenly.
  3. When you are done with an area, rinse it out with warm water and an unused cloth.
  4. Pat the area firmly with a microfibre cloth to speed up the drying process.
  5. Repeat the process for all the seats.

Tricks for cleaning car seats

  • Take care of a spill the second after it occurs.
  • Use a small soft brush head attachment when vacuuming, don’t just remove the end.
  • Remove nasty stains from food and drinks with a paste made from white vinegar and baking soda. Let it dry and then just vacuum it.
  • You can use a cleaning solution of mild soap and water to gently clean leather seats.
  • Apply a protective coating afterwards to avoid future stains.


Easiest car seats to clean

  • Front or back seats – Car seats, in general, aren’t very easy to clean because it’s not an open area and it usually involves a lot of crouching. Some people consider the back seats to be a lot easier to clean because there is no space between them and you can do everything in one go. Others say that the front ones are the best because there is a lot more space in the front, compared to the back seats. In reality, depends on the person’s preference.
  • Depending on the fabric – The most popular materials for car seats are leather, vinyl and cloth fabric. Here, most people can agree that the cloth seats are the easiest because they are a lot sturdier and susceptible to various cleaning methods, unlike leather which is very easy to damage if one is not careful.

Things you should never do when cleaning a car seat

  • Don’t use bleach on dark-coloured seats. You can use it on light-coloured ones and only if it’s a diluted bleach solution.
  • Don’t apply any cleaning solution without testing the way it affects the fabric of your car seat.
  • Don’t leave stains to dry out, they will be probably very hard to remove afterward.
  • Don’t rub in the stains when you clean. Apply the cleaning product and blot it gently afterward.

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