Most people worry about how to clean a car seat after some dark, smelly liquid has already left its mark but being proactive help can avoid an ugly stain you might live with until you sell your vehicle.
Here is some advice on how to clean car seats:
HOW TO CLEAN A CAR SEAT—CLOTH
It’s not just spills that soil car seats. They get dirty each time someone gets in or out of the car, as dirt and other contaminants transfer from clothing to the cloth.To restore them to their former glory, start by vacuuming the seats. This will suck up grime that would otherwise get mashed into the seats and probably make them dirtier.
Here are the supplies you’ll need:
- Car seat detergent
- Interior cleaning brush or scrub pad
- Microfiber towel
- Wet/dry vacuum
Some people use stain removers like Shout or carpet cleaner in place of dedicated car seat soap. In fact, I used a bottle of carpet cleaner with a built-in brush to remove the oil stains on the back seat of my Corolla and it worked pretty well. But if you decide to go with an unconventional soap, test it on a small, less visible area first to make sure it doesn’t stain.
One of the most important things to understand about how to clean seats is to make sure you don’t use too much soap. You are cleaning the upholstery. You do not want the soap to seep into the padding underneath. That’s why it’s best to work in small areas and apply the soap as you go.
Isolate the area you want to clean and apply soap. Use the brush to agitate the dirt (but don’t be so rough that you damage the fibers). Then wipe the dirt away with your microfiber towel. Suck up what’s left with the vacuum. This should speed up the drying process, too. You could also park the car in the sun, open the windows and/or stick a couple of fans inside it to help the seats dry faster.
HOW TO CLEAN A CAR SEAT—LEATHER
Like cloth seats, begin by vacuuming as much dirt as you can from the surface of the seat and its crevices. (You can use a can of compressed air to dislodge dirt in the hard-to-vacuum areas if you want).
There are lots of different products out there for cleaning leather seats. Some are one-step cleaners. Others either clean the seats or help preserve the natural oils and flexibility of the leather. Do your research and pick what you want. Some products will need to sit on the leather and others need to be cleaned up right away, so always read and follow the instructions closely.
If your seats are perforated because they have heating/air conditioning capabilities, apply your cleaning product to the brush, not directly to the seat. You can also turn the heat/air conditioning on to help the seats dry faster.
HOW TO CLEAN CAR A SEAT—VINYL
Vinyl upholstery is easy to please. It can be cleaned with a rag dampened with a mild detergent solution. A product like ArmorAll, which many people use to wipe their dashboard clean, works well. There are many dedicated vinyl care products on the market, and some offer cool benefits like preservatives and UV protection.