Before Starting Read Your Car Seat’s Instruction Manual
Seriously read the instruction manual to your childs car seat. Theres always a section on how to clean it. If you cant find your manual, look on the manufacturers website for a pdf version. If you still cant locate the manual or if youre confused by the instructions, call the car seat manufacturers customer service number. Theyll be happy to give you the dos and donts for cleaning your specific car seat
How To Clean Fabric Car Seats
Most car seats these days, even the most expensive ones, are made of fabric. It’s durable and comfortable for your little one, but unless you’re dealing with a car seat cover that zips off, cleaning a fabric car seat can be a bit of a hassle. Follow our simple steps to get the job done:
Step 1: Remove the seat from the car to allow for easy access.
Step 2: Vacuum the seat first, making sure to get as deep into the crevices as possible.
Step 3: Use a mild soap or cleaning spray, suggests Beth McCallum, a writer for Oh So Spotless. Apply all over the seat, focusing on stains.
Step 4: Gently scrub the seat with a cloth or bristle brush, depending on how dirty it is, then wipe off any excess moisture.
Step 5: Let the seat dry completely before reinstalling it in your car.
Car Seat Cleaning Safety
Working on your car can be messy. It can also be dangerous. Heres what youll need to ensure you keep your jeans, shirt, and skin spotless, and your bones intact.
- Nitrile or mechanic gloves
- Long-sleeve shirt to protect your arms
- Face mask
Organizing your tools and gear so everything is easily reachable will save precious minutes waiting for your handy-dandy child or four-legged helper to bring you the sandpaper or blowtorch.
Youll also need a flat workspace, such as a garage floor, driveway, or street parking thats also well-ventilated. Check your local laws to make sure youre not violating any codes when using the street because we arent gonna pay off your impound fees.
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How To Get Stains Out Of Car Seats
If you’ve just got one or two stains you’d like to remove for your child’s car seat, you may be tempted to use a car seat stain remover. But remember, your baby’s skin comes into contact with the car seat on a regular basis. So be sure to check the ingredients first for any harsh chemicals.
Or a safer bet? Spritz the stain with vinegar, then sprinkle on some baking soda and let the solution dry before vacuuming. It’s a natural solution that serves not only as a stain remover but a deodorizer as well.
How To Shampoo Car Seats
Most car seat safety manuals discourage the use of any harsh chemicals since they can break down the seat’s materials over time. That can compromise your child’s safety in a car accident. Instead, experts recommend using a gentle baby shampoo mixture if you want to shampoo a car seat. Simply mix a solution with two cups of warm water and a dab of baby shampoo, and apply it to the seat using a rag, sponge, or bristle brush . Remember you can’t dry the seat in the dryer, so only use as much liquid as you need.
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How To Keep The Rest Of The Interior Looking New And Fresh
Its important to keep the rest of your car looking just as good as your seats! Here are a few tips on how to do just that:
Vacuum regularly: Vacuuming your car regularly will help keep it looking clean and new.
Wipe down surfaces: Wiping down surfaces such as the dashboard, steering wheel, and center console regularly will help prevent dirt and dust from building up.
Keep it clean: Its simple the less dirt and dust there is, the less likely it is for your car to look dirty.
How To Clean & Disinfect Your Car Interior
Start with your hands. Bet youve heard that one before but seriously its the first step to keeping your car clean. After all, if you dont have any virus on your hands, you reduce the chance of it getting into your car and onto surfaces where it can be transmitted.Wash your hands even if youre alone or you may inadvertently transfer the virus in from outside. Passengers should do likewise as theyre just as likely to transfer the virus as you are.
Clean/disinfect all high-touch surfaces. Door handles , steering wheel, start/stop button, and your touchscreen, as well as climate controls and your sound-system knobs and switches. But think past the obvious.Seatbelts, grab handles on doors, your key fob, your turn signal and wiper, shift lever, windows, locks and the myriad buttons and switches like for your mirrors, heated seats, seat adjustment switches and levers, and of course your rearview mirror all are high-touch and should be given a thorough cleaning.Now look at the surfaces that get the most contact armrests, the center-console, door pads, the seat surfaces themselves. If youve touched it, you need to clean it.
Learn more car disinfecting tips here.
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Conditioning Leather Car Seats
A leather conditioner helps prevent dryness and cracks while preserving the softness of the leather. These are the steps for conditioning your leather seats:
The A B C Dos And Donts Of Clean Your Childs Car Seat
So, how can you be sure the car seat youre purchasing will protect your little one when it counts? Heres how to spot a counterfeit car seat online so you can steer clear.
Before getting out the bleach or tossing your childs car seat cover in the washing machine: STOP. Get out your car seat manual and find the manufacturers instructions for cleaning. Every manufacturer will have its own specific recommendations for properly cleaning their own make and models of car seats, including any special considerations for your specific car seat that you should keep in mind.
But to get you started, these general guidelines that apply to most car seats and booster seats on the market will help you know what to do, and just as importantly, what not to do.
Straps, Buckles and Car Seat Shell
Plastic parts, straps and buckles should only be spot-cleaned with a soft cloth, water and, if necessary, a gentle soap. Go icky spot by icky spot, and gently spot clean any dried-on gunk. Stubborn crusty patch? Get it a little extra wet and let it soak for a few minutes before trying again.
Watch out! Bleach, chemical solvents, acidic substances like vinegar and abrasive cleaners should never be used on any part of your car seat, especially the harness straps and buckles. Harsh cleaners and solvents can damage and weaken the car seats components.
Car Seat Cover & Padding
Buckles & Clips
Really Tough Messes
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The Step By Step Guide To Cleaning Your Leather Seats
You have your cleaner be it commercial or natural, and you are equipped with the knowledge on why you need to clean your leather seats, but how, exactly, do you do it?
Here is our step by step guide:
Car Seat Leather Types
Aniline leather is not as commonly used as it used to be, but it is something which you may come across due to its quality and smooth and natural finish. The only problem is that it does not have a protective coating, so you have to be careful not to spill on it, and it should be cleaned regularly.
Semi-aniline leather is used in many modern high-end cars. This leather does have a coating, which helps to repel moisture, but does not stop it if there is a lot. This material can be tricky to clean as many chemical cleaners can damage the material.
Napa leather is the highest quality and has the thickest coating of all three. It also has a richer pigmentation that the other leathers. It is a luxury leather, so it is only used in the most luxurious cars. It costs more, but it is also more durable and is not as affected by the sun or moisture.
Corrected leather is the leather which you will find in most regular cars. The leather is stain-resistant and easy to clean. It has a thick coating, making it durable, but is not as soft as the other leathers.
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Guard Yourself Against Stains
When you know how to clean car seats, you immediately have a weapon to use against the toughest stains in your cars interior. When youre also taking preventative measures to reduce staining altogether, you also have a shield that will guard against your passengers very human mistakes. We hope this article helps you cut back on stains, as well as the time you spend fighting them.
How To Clean Other Surfaces
Again, clean then disinfect. Clean with gentle household cleaners, car-specific cleaners, or good old soap and water. For maximum effectiveness and safety, any off-the-shelf products must be used according to their label. Follow that up with something that will actually kill the virus disinfectant wipes or any solution 70% or more alcohol. Just remember to read the label and follow product instructions. And dont forget, microfiber towels not paper is what you should be using.
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Removing Ink Stains From Fabric Car Seats
If you have ever had a pen leak in your pants pocket while driving, then you are well aware of how horrible an ink stain appears on your car seat. Use rubbing alcohol to remove those unsightly ink stains.
- Paper towel
If the ink stain is fresh, use paper towels to blot the ink out of the fabric before cleaning. Make sure to use a blotting action rather than a rubbing motion to prevent spreading the stain outward.
Test the alcohol on an inconspicuous area of the seat first to check for colorfastness. Apply some rubbing alcohol to a clean, white cloth and dab at the stain repeatedly until no more ink is visible on the fabric.
Keep applying more rubbing alcohol to new areas of the rag while dabbing. Get a fresh cloth wet and use it to rinse the alcohol residue away before drying with a clean towel.
Keeping the car interior at its best doesnt mean that you have to take it to a detailer. Take care of upholstery cleaning and car seat stain removal yourself. All you need is the right cleaning recipe, a few simple ingredients, and a little bit of time.
Vacuuming Cloth Car Seats
There are specific steps to take before wet clean car seats. If you only spot clean a particular area or are removing a small stain, then you can probably skip this step.
Most of the time, cleaning fabric car seats starts with a good vacuuming. For cleaning the entire car seat, you need to use a vacuum cleaner to make wet cleaning easier and to eliminate stray crumbs and other debris that has accumulated on the seats and in the cracks and crevices.
Deep Vacuuming Car Seats
Use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner or take your car to a car washing facility and vacuum all areas of the seats to remove dirt and hair. Use a crevice tool to get down between the top and bottom of each car seat and the seams to suck away crumbs.
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Allow The Seats To Dry
If possible, give the seats time to dry completely before using the car again. It usually takes two to three hours. If you need to speed up the process, aim a large fan in the car blowing toward the seats. Or park the car in the sunniest location to speed up drying time. If the seats still feel damp, place a small container of moisture-absorbing crystals in the car to trap the moisture.
The Spruce / Cristina Tudor
Life Hacks To Cleaning Your Car Seats
Since you may not have access to the right tools or friends you can bum a wrench off of, we also compiled a list of our best hacks to make your life easier and drain your pocket less.
- If your seats are too far gone, you can visit your local pick-and-pull junkyard. Youll often find well-maintained seats, and with a little sweat and a few tools, you can ensure your interior gets a few more years of use.
- For child car seats, flip them over and shake vigorously. Thats it.
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Lets Get That Moldy Cheeseburger Cheese Out From The Seat Cushion Okay
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So youve hopped into your car only to find that something, somewhere, stinks to high heaven. After a little investigative nose work, youve discovered part of last weeks Taco Bell Nachos BellGrande fell between the seat and console when you hit a bump. Well, it seems like a great time to clean your car seats!
Cleaning your cars interior, as well as regularly maintaining its luster, will not just make your everyday life that much better, it will also contribute to your cars overall value when you decide to sell itno used car buyer wants to find someone elses toenails. And with a little elbow grease, a vacuum cleaner, and a bucket of soapy water, your cars seats can go from trash-pit to palatial palace in just a few hours.
If youre unsure of how to get started, look no further than The Drives guide to how to clean your car seats below!
Got your vacuum and trash can?
Alternatives To Fabric Cleaner
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Clean The Straps And Buckle
Next, remove the shoulder straps from the car seat. Use a damp cloth or brush to spot clean any stains on the straps, adding mild soap if necessary and being careful not to get them soaking wet. Then, dunk the buckle and clips into a bowl of warm, soapy water to get rid of any food or dirt. Finally, let everything air dry, ensuring that the buckle is hanging upside-down so any water can drain.
How To Clean Tight Spots Around The Car Seats
When dealing with other tight spots around the car seats, there are a couple of things to note:
- Vacuums now come with crevice tools, and they are flat tools that work well to slide between crevices. Simply swipe between the seats and surrounding the center console.
- Some vacuums also come with extensions that allow the use of a hose. When cleaning underneath the car seats, these can come in very handy.
- Get a soft-bristle brush or a toothbrush and use it to finish up the process.
- When cleaning vents, an interior detailing brush can be used. You can also use it for the radio area and instrument panels.
- Use compressed air to push off dust out of crevices and other hidden spots.
- Always wipe down the area with a damp microfiber cloth.
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