When it comes to car cleanliness, it’s understandably hard to be consistent. It’s easier to focus on cleaning a house, the space you live in and where you spend most of your time. But it can be very easy to let the cleanliness of our cars slowly drift to the back burner. When we’re driving, we might mentally remind ourselves to look up how to clean car seats, but once we reach our destination, it’s out of sight, out of mind.
There are many reasons why your car’s interior might be a little dirtier, from outdoor hobbies to snacks that have eluded you to small children’s messes. Whatever the culprits, car seats often take the brunt of the damage. Car seats often pick up and hide trash, stains and dirt, both on the seat itself and in the crevices. So knowing how to clean car seats is a must; clean car seats can make your entire vehicle feel fresher.
Whether it’s on your spring cleaning checklist or you’ve just had a major spill, we’ve got everything you need to know about car seat cleaning, cloth car seat cleaning, and cloth car seat cleaning. Which fabric car seat cleaner to use, or how to make your own cleaner, with these tips your car will feel like new.
How to clean fabric car seats
To begin cleaning your car seats, no matter the material or brand, you’ll want to start by vacuuming. For this step, you’ll want to use a small, portable, cordless handheld vacuum cleaner to make sure you can reach all nooks and crannies. Once you’ve vacuumed, you’ll want to use a dry upholstery brush to sweep away the freshly vacuumed seats, making sure your surface is completely free of crumbs and excess dirt.
Next, take your all-purpose upholstery and fabric cleaner to spray on your seats and gently rub the cleaner in with a clean soft or cloth brush. Once the mixture is completely absorbed by the fabric seats, take the vacuum cleaner again and run it over the seats one more time to make sure everything is clean.
For the more noticeable and tougher stains, use the same process, but reapply the upholstery cleaner and let it sit for a minute, then make sure to rub it in thoroughly. This should remove most of the stain.
The best fabric car seat cleaner
You do all the work to clean your car. So why not buy a ready-made car seat cleaner? The Chemical Guys Nonsense Invisible Cleaner ($10) is an Amazon favorite. It is colorless and odorless, is great for removing stains and is safe on almost all car seat surfaces. There’s also the Bissell Tough Stain Spotlifter ($5), which has a built-in scrubber.
If you want to make your own fabric car seat cleaner at home, this all-purpose recipe works just fine: Mix ¼ cup of vinegar, warm water, and a few squirts of dish soap and pour into a spray bottle. You can spray this formula on your fabric car seats and use a fabric brush or rag to scrub it into your seats. But test the solution in a small, inconspicuous area first by spraying it on, scrubbing it in, and letting it dry completely to make sure it won’t affect the color or fabric of your seats.
How to clean leather car seats
Just like with fabric car seats, you also start with vacuuming. But for leather car seats, it’s important to note that you’ll want to use a leather cleaner and microfiber cloths. Once you’ve finished vacuuming, take a leather cleaner to the seats and use a damp microfiber cloth to gently rub the mixture in. although it takes a little more time, we promise it will be worth it.
Take another microfiber cloth, dampen it slightly with water and rinse the seats to make sure all of the excess detergent is removed. Finally, take another clean and dry microfiber cloth and buff all the areas you cleaned. Next, take a leather conditioner and go over any freshly cleaned areas so it can act as a protector.
The best leather car seat cleaner
There are many great options for cleaning leather car seats, and they are relatively affordable and accessible. We recommend Weiman Leather Cleaner ($17), which is great at removing stains and leaving a shiny look. It also comes with its own microfiber cloth. There’s also Meguiar’s Ultimate Leather Detailer ($14), with UV protection; it leaves a nice apple scent.
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