The Best Way to Clean Your Car's Seats

April 12, 2018

car seats repairpal

Nothing is quite as uninviting as a dirty car seat. But if you have children, pets or "in-the-car eaters" (which most of us do, right?), your car upholstery will need a thorough washing from time to time. The condition of your car seats says plenty about you. To make a good impression and to feel good about yourself, keeping your car seats pristine is critical.

We have a few ideas that will make this task less formidable and will have your automobile looking fantastic.

DIY your own super simple car seat cleaner


First, you will want to grab a few items to prepare and apply the cleaner. The items that you will need to mix and apply the cleaner are:

  • Plastic cleaning bucket
  • Empty spray bottle
  • Rubber gloves
  • Dish sponge
  • Dry dish cloths or absorbent towels (the reusable type)

Next, you are going to need the basic ingredients, which you may already have in your home. The ingredients for your car seat cleaner include:

  • Vinegar
  • Club soda
  • Dawn dish soap

In the bucket, mix even parts vinegar and club soda, and then add a few tablespoons of Dawn dish soap. You can add dish soap depending on how much cleaner you are going to make. If you are only going to be filling one spray bottle, use less dish soap. It should have the color of window cleaner when mixed together.

Applying cleaner to the seats and scrubbing the stains

Once you have the cleaner mixes, pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Use the spray bottle to apply the cleaner to the areas of seat fabric with the most grime. Let the solution sit for about five minutes, and then, use the sponge to scrub and remove the stains.

If the seats are still moist or there are still visible stains, use the absorbent towels to scrub and soak up moisture. For stains that are deeply embedded, use the sponge to scrub the cleaner into the fabric and the towel to soak it up. To prevent mildew smells, make sure the fabric is dried out driving with the windows down, leaving your car with the windows open in the sun, or use a hair dryer to dry the fabric. This solution can be used for car seats, as well as other upholstery fabrics.

Tip: To give the seats a fresh new smell, spray liquid fabric freshener spray on the fabric before drying them with a hairdryer.

How to get melted crayon out of your car seats

Some say the easiest method for getting your child's melted crayon off the car seat cover is to hold an ice cube on top of the melted wax to help it harden. When the wax is firm, use a butter knife or credit card to scrape away as much of the wax as possible.

How to get colored liquids or stains out of car seats

Nothing stains as bad as a spilled glass of Kool-Aid or strawberry soda, but there is a solution.

  1. Mix two cups of moderately cold water, one tablespoon dishwashing liquid, and one tablespoon white vinegar.
  2. Sponge with a clean white cloth.
  3. Blot the stain until it is absorbed by the cloth.
  4. Repeat steps two and three until the stain is removed.
  5. Use plain cold water and a clean white cloth to sponge away the cleaning liquid, and blot until dry.
  6. If color remains, use rubbing alcohol to sponge away the dye that has lingered.
  7. Get cold water, a new white cloth, and sponge the site to remove the alcohol.
  8. If the spot is still seen, mix two cups lukewarm water, one tablespoon dishwashing liquid, and one tablespoon ammonia.
  9. Use a clean white washcloth to sponge the spot.
  10. Blot until the stain is removed.
  11. Remove the ammonia solution with a clean, white cloth to remove the ammonia, and blot dry.

Ensuring that your vehicle's interior, and especially car seats, remain clean and welcoming doesn't have to be a chore to dread. Use these tips to keep your automobile shiny clean, and your mood happy.

About the Author

Kimberlea Buczeke is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

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