Different Types Of Stains
Due to the many varieties of car seat stains, weve sorted and categorized them into groups. These groups consist of stains that can be tackled in the same or similar way to each other.
Lets breakdown the different types of stains, as well as the different types of enzyme-based detergents best for removing them.
Gather Tools And Supplies
If your car has fabric car seats, youll need a bottle or can of all-purpose carpet and upholstery cleaner, such as the popular;Resolve brand carpet and upholstery cleaner many car owners swear by.
Apex Auto Detail of Robesonia, Pennsylvania recommends Formula 409 Carpet Spot & Stain Cleaner as an inexpensive and effective fabric seat cleaner. Its available at most big-box retailers and Amazon.
Youll want a mild all-purpose cleaner when cleaning leather car seats, such as Murphys Oil Soap, and a bucket or, if your seats are heavily soiled, a professional-level leather cleaner like Angelwax Heaven for Leather
If youre on a tight budget, Washos car detailers recommends a solution of three parts vinegar to one part water, in a spray bottle.
Youll want to be sure that whatever you use on your leather will not transfer to clothing, so avoid homemade leather cleaning preparations that use food oils, which can transfer grease stains on to your clothes.
Do not use ammonia- or alcohol- containing products like glass cleaner, and do not use dish soap on leather.
Youll also need a wet-dry shop vacuum with a crevice tool attachment. If youve got fabric seats, make sure youve got the right filter for vacuuming water with your wet-dry vac. If you have leather seats, you wont need to do any wet-vacuuming.
How To Clean Car Seats Like A Pro: Advice For Cloth Leather And Vinyl
Whether its kids, friends, or pets that youre constantly carting about, theres no easy way to keep your seats looking pristine. When we eat and drink on the go, its inevitable that things get spilled and splashed on the seats eventually.
Even for the most clean conscious car owners, it can be difficult to avoid the accumulation of dirt over time.;
But taking your car to be cleaned professionally is time consuming, and can feel like a wad of cash wasted on something you could do yourself. So if youre keen to get started on how to clean car interiors easily and for less, just follow our DIY guide.;;;
If you want to skip right to the details for your specific interior, head on over to one of these more detailed posts:
- How to clean cloth car seats
- How to clean leather car seats
- How to clean vinyl car seats
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Dont Skip Stain Treatments
Ground-in dirt, melted chocolate, grease stains from drive-thru fare they all have a way of leaving a lasting . Work an upholstery or leather cleaner gently into the stain with a soft scrubbing brush. Stoops cautions not to scrub too aggressively on leather so you dont scratch the surface.
Always test a new cleaner in a hidden spot to ensure it wont discolor or damage your car upholstery.
Q: What Do I Need To Know Before I Begin
Before you start, make sure you have enough time to allow for proper drying time and time to put the whole thing back together correctly before you need to use it again. If your children are staying home right now ; as mine are now might be the perfect time!
I like to make sure I have the supplies, including the instructions, in front of me before I begin. I also take photos of the front and back of the car seat before I take it apart to help me remember what it looked like when using the instructions to reassemble it later.
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Homemade Car Seat Cleaners
Homemade solutions are typically the most tried and tested, so weve rounded up some of the most popular. You can try:
- Baking soda paste – For extra tough stains, mix a small amount of baking soda with a few drops of water. Apply the paste, leave for a few minutes, and then gently scrub off with a brush.
- Vinegar Solution – Mix one cup of vinegar with two cups of water and apply to the seats through a spray. You can lighten the scent by adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil scent.
- Shaving foam – Apply shaving foam directly onto the seats or stains, leave to settle, then gently blot or wipe till the stain has gone.
How To Get Stains Out Of Car Upholstery
Your car seat upholstery can encounter many different kinds of stains. Getting stains out of your car upholstery can be a headache. You cannot save your car seats from getting stains all the time but what you can do is you simply clean the stains by using simple techniques and keep your car clean. A few techniques are given below:
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How To Clean Your Car Seats: Important Things You Need To Remember
Before you get started learning how to sanitise car seats with our simple go-to guide, in order to ensure you achieve the best results there are a few points you need to remember:
We recommend you vacuum your car seats every 1-2 weeks and deep clean at least once a month. This will help minimise the job of cleaning car upholstery!
Check the car manufacturerâs guide as some offer advice for specific ways your car upholstery needs to be cleaned.
When youâre learning how to clean car seat fabric yourself, always Read the label to check a cleaning product is suitable for cleaning your car upholstery and follow the steps given.
Before using any new cleaning products for cleaning and disinfecting your car seats, take care to test it on a small, inconspicuous area first. Do not use the product if you notice any:
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How Do You Get Old Stains Out Of Upholstery
If your upholstery can be cleaned out with water, start by mixing a solution of a quart of cold water, a tablespoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of a clear dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, or shampoo and rub the stain with the solution. Then rinse it out using clean water and a clean cloth and let it dry.
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Best Leather Seat Cleaning Products
Use a colorless, slightly damp cloth to dust your car seats. If they need a more thorough clean, refer to the steps listed above. You can also use warm water mixed with a bit of soap or a leather cleaner to wipe down the seats. Check your owners manual for any recommendations on how to best clean your leather seats. In any case, though, refrain from using any of the following items on your leather upholstery:;
- Sharp objects that may scratch
- Household cleaner
- Furniture polish
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
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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:
How To Clean Car Upholstery: Steps For Professional Results
Use the following bullet point list for specific how to clean car upholstery steps:
- Vacuum any and all areas first! Very important, as the more dry and loose debris/dirt you can remove before getting any area wet, the better.
- Simply spray the pre-vacuumed area with cleaner, scrub with brush aggressively, mop up by hand using a micro-fiber cloth .
- Light applications, repeated as often as necessary for desird results is far better and far more realistic than to think you are going to get it all in one, heavily saturated application.
- As a professional, I will have to repeat heavily soiled areas anywhere from 3-6 times based on amount of dirt and material I am cleaning.
- Despite what you have learned in regards to how to clean car upholstery, using a quality car shampoo will not make your car’s upholstery or floor mats now suddenly attract dirt.
- Many manufacturers will disparage their competitors products by claiming to be free from sticky residue or cleaners that attract dirt; simply follow my lead and you will be fine.
- With that said, you need to remain realistic and understand that once your carpeting/cloth/fabric/floor mats have been cleaned, they will still have the ability to get dirty yet again; shampooing them is not a one time only moment and I always recommend a fabric protector after every shampooing.
“Darren, you’ve just shown me how to clean the fabric and carpeting of my cars interior, but what about the rest of my cars materials that isn’t fabric or carpeting”
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Use A Baking Soda Solution
Mix one fourth a cup of baking soda with a cup of warm water or hot water, and apply a light amount of the baking soda solution to the stain with a toothbrush , scrubbing away the stain. If the stain is tough, let the baking soda solution sit for 30 minutes before you wipe away whats left from the seat with a clean cloth.
Q: How Can The Harness And Buckle Be Cleaned
Most car seat manufacturers do not allow soaking the harness straps and/or buckle in water or cleaning solutions. Your manual is the best guide for what your seat permits. When in doubt, reach out to the car seat manufacturer. Many manufacturers say that nothing stronger than a damp cloth and mild soap or detergent can be used to clean the harness.;
If you are unable to adequately clean the harness, some manufacturers will have an option to purchase a replacement harness for your particular seat.;;;;;;;;;;
Always inspect the seat for damage or deterioration due to use. If you notice something concerning, take photos and reach out to your car seat manufacturer for guidance. They are the experts on their seats!
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Cleaning Your Car Seats Pro Tips
Over the years, The Drives editors have cleaned countless interiors. Everything from our low-buck first rides to million-dollar hypercars, weve seen it all, including a number of moldy leftovers our kids forgot to tell us about. Here are our pro tips for cleaning your car seats.
- As fabric ages it can become brittle, making it difficult to clean safely. You may want to use a steamer to ensure your seats remain pliable.;
- A cup or two of white vinegar in a container placed near the center of the car and left for a number of hours or overnight can reduce a cars smelly interior.
How To Deep Clean Car Seats
If you’re dealing with the worst of the worst kind of car seat mess you may be in need of a deep clean. Rest assured that it is possiblegiven time, effort, and lots of tiny tools. But first, here are a few common mistakes to avoid when deep cleaning a car seat:
- Don’t drench it with a hose. While it may seem tempting to just yank the seat out of your car and blast it with a garden hose or power washer, please resist this temptation. Drenching a car seat with water can cause rust to form in the parts along the underside of the seat, which can reduce the seat’s effectiveness in a crash.
- Don’t wash the straps. Another major car seat cleaning no-no is washing the straps or harness. These are made of woven threads that use tensile strength to provide just the right amount of “give” in a car accident as long as they’re used properly. Soaking the straps in water or putting them in the washing machine can cause the threads to loosen, which can lead to malfunction in an accident.
Here are safe steps for deep cleaning a car seat:
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Cleaning Of Cloth Seat Fabric
- DIY – Do it yourself
- Use club soda : – In order to clean the stained area,; you just have to spray the solution on the stained zone. And after this you must scrub the same by using the brush. Further wipe out by using the appropriate cloth most probably a clean towel.
- Baking soda solution:- Its another most effective solution where you can take a mixture of; ¼ cup of baking soda and warm water. Apply a layer of the solution on the stain. After this you can use a toothbrush to remove the stain. Depending on the intensity of stain you can leave it for 30 minutes or more.
- Vinegar Mixture:- A perfect mixture of vinegar, dish soap and hot water can be a robust remedy to remove tough stains.;
- Laundry Detergent:- You just need an ordinary detergent, not a specific upholstery cleaning detergent. Follow the simple cleaning instructions / process as you do.
Hacks For Removing Stains
You cant avoid upholstery stains if you spend most of your time in a car or travel with kids and pets a lot. You will find stains of all kinds in car seats, and to learn how to clean stained car upholstery, you must know these life hacks.
It will take 1-2 minutes to learn how to get water stains out of cloth car seats. Club soda is handy in removing water stains. Spray lightly on the stained area, brush to remove the stain, and wipe the excess with a towel. Club soda can remove vomit stains too.
Hairspray can do magic in removing ink stains. But you need to use it in a little amount. Then use a soft towel to dab. Always be very careful not accidentally spreading the ink when taking out ink stains.
When you spill coffee on the cloth seat, you should immediately pour cold water in a small amount and clean with a towel. If you do not do this right away, stains might stay and wont remove easily.
Use hydrogen peroxide to clean car seats. You have to mix 1/3 hydrogen peroxide with 2/3 water in a bottle. Then scrub that area with a soft cloth.
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Plan Ahead To Reward Yourself When Youre Done
Plan to reward yourself for your hard work!
Make dinner reservations so you dont have to cook a meal after working on your car, pick up your favorite beer for when the job is done, or decide to reward yourself with a Netflix binge that evening.
Whatever you choose, decide to treat yourself for the work youre about to do.
How To Get Stains Out Of Leather
If you do have some tough stains which are not coming out, then there are some extra things which you can try to get rid of the stains. Here are some natural solutions.
A non-gel toothpaste works on many materials, and on leather too. Dab a little on the stain, and use a toothbrush to work it into the stain. Use some warm water to remove the excess toothpaste, and dry with a cloth.
Nail polish removers are also effective for leather. Use only a small amount, and remove the excess with dish washing liquid. Dry with a cloth.
Baking soda is great for grease and oil. As soon as you can after the grease has spread to the seat, sprinkle it with some baking soda, and let it sit for a few hours. Rub it down with a damp cloth to remove the baking soda and grease.
Lemon juice and cream of tartar mixed in equal measures to form a paste and left to let to sit on a stain for 30 minutes will do wonders. Try on a small section of the leather first in case it bleaches.
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Q: How Can I Help Keep The Car Seat From Getting Dirty
Lets face it, car seats are one of those items that get so much use, its very easy for them to get dirty very quickly! Here are a few tips to help minimize this as much as possible:
- Remove wet, dirty, or soiled footwear before placing the child in the seat.
- Limit foods and drinks consumed in the seat and when this cannot be avoided, choose things that are easier to clean up and do not pose a choking hazard risk.
- If you have a particularly messy child, use a car seat poncho or large bib placed OVER the child once the harness is buckled and tightened securely in place. You can also keep spare bibs in the vehicle to replace them when one becomes soiled.