A No-Fuss Guide on How to Clean Car Seats

Our cars do not only take us from A to B, but also double as our personal spaces. We eat in them, sleep in them, and sometimes even live in them. As such, it’s essential to keep our cars clean and comfortable for ourselves and our passengers.

One part of a vehicle that owners typically overlook is their car seats. Over time, car seats can become stained and matted with dirt, grime, and hair. Not only is this unsightly, but it can also affect your health if bacteria is left to accumulate.


The Importance of Cleaning and Washing Car Seats

Although car detailing may seem like a task left for another day, cleaning your car seats can enhance your overall driving experience. If your seats are covered in stains or dirt, it can make your whole interior feel dirty – even if the rest of the vehicle is clean.

Second, regular cleaning can help prolong your car seat’s lifespan. Gradually, dirt, food stains and grime can break down the fabric and cause it to degrade sooner than it should. This will make your seats look old and worn and can also lead to holes or tears. You’re then with the hassle and cost of having to reupholster your car seats.

So the question remains, “how to clean car seats without damaging them?” Luckily, it’s reasonably straightforward. Below are some tips on how to clean your car seats and keep them looking like new:

How to Clean Car Seat Stains and Dirt

There are many ways to clean car seat stains, depending on which stains you encounter. You can use a standard house cleaning product or car seat cleaner which you can find at most auto stores. However, as each cleaner is different, read the instructions before use. If you don’t have a car seat cleaner on hand or prefer a more natural approach, here are a few home remedies you can use:

How to Clean Cloth Car Seats with Vinegar

Vinegar has been around for centuries and is known for its remarkable cleaning powers. It’s applicable to various surfaces, thanks to its acidity that helps loosen stains and kill germs. When diluted with water, you can use vinegar to clean both light and dark-coloured cloth seats. Not only is this easy and inexpensive, but also gentle enough to not damage your car seats.

To use vinegar, follow the steps below:

1. In a bowl, mix one cup of vinegar with a few drops of dish soap. Be sure to stir it until the soap is completely dissolved.

2. Once mixed, pour it into a bucket and pour in a gallon of hot water. Hot water will allow the vinegar to work more effectively.

3. Now, using a clean cloth, submerge it into the mixture and wring it. You can now begin scrubbing your seats in a circular motion.

4. Let your car seats air dry or use a hairdryer on its cool setting to speed up the process.

Cleaning Car Seat Fabric with Laundry Detergent 

One of the easiest ways to clean your car seats is by using laundry detergent. If the smell of vinegar makes your nose wrinkle, opting for laundry detergent is a great alternative. Laundry detergent is designed to break down stuck-on stains, perfect for cleaning car seats. Plus, it has a great fragrance!

To use laundry detergent, follow the steps below:

1. Start by mixing a cup of laundry detergent with a gallon of warm water in a bowl or bucket.

2. When the mixture is ready, take a clean cloth or gentle brush to scrub the seats. Dip it into the mixture, and focus on any areas that seem extra dirty.

3. Once you’re done scrubbing, let your seat air dry before using your vehicle again.

Cleaning Leather Car Seats

Leather is a material that can be hard to clean since it is quite delicate. If not careful, you may damage your leather seats beyond repair, leading to an expensive replacement. For example, using too much water can cause the leather to crack, and using the wrong type of cleaner can leave behind streaks or a dull finish.

To clean your leather car seats, using this simple product will do the trick:

Use a Nail Polish Remover

The best way to clean car seats made out of leather is by using nail polish remover. Surprising as it may seem, nail polish remover can help to restore your leather’s shine and give them a like-new appearance. Nail polish remover contains ingredients that help break down stains and clean the deep layers of your seat. One ingredient, in particular, is acetone, which can dissolve organic substances, such as glue and grease.

To use nail polish remover to clean your leather car seats, follow the steps below:

1. Take a cotton ball and dip it into your nail polish remover. Proceed to blot the stain with your cotton ball in circular motions.

2. When the stain lightens, mix some dish soap with warm water and wipe the area clean.

3. Finish by polishing your seats with a leather conditioner to restore shine and prevent cracking.

As you can see, there are a few ways you can clean your car seats without spending a lot of money. While you could use a car upholstery cleaner, we recommend going the natural route using vinegar. However, it’s always best to test any cleaner on a small area of your seat before using it on the entire surface to avoid any damage. With a little effort and the right cleaner, you’ll have spotless car seats in no time.

Additional Note: If you are also planning on cleaning the exterior of your car, be sure to avoid using pressure washers, as these may do more harm than good to your car’s paintjob. However, here are some tips on how to use a pressure washer and what you can use them for. Here are some more tips on how to clean your car mirrors.

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