How to Get Stains out of Car Seat Cloth
Cloth car seats come standard in most cars. While they are comfortable and long-lasting, they are prone to staining and keeping them clean is crucial to ensure a protected car interior. If you travel with your pets or kids, the chances of your car seat cloth catching a stain is even higher. This may seem like a huge inconvenience but you don’t have to take the entire upholstery off to wash the stains every time – nor do you need professional cleaning for every stain. With the right tools and technology, you can get rid of stains from car seat cloth at home.
This car seat cleaning guide will help you learn how to remove stains from car seat cloth without spending too much time or money.
How to Clean Car Seats at Home in 5 Easy Steps
Before you start the cleaning process, here is a list of items required to cleaning car seats:
Car Seat Cleaning Equipment Required
- Microfiber Cloth
- Spray bottle
- Vacuum (with brush attachment)
- Baking soda (optional)
- Dish soap
Follow these 5 steps to DIY car seat cleaning at home:
Step 1 – Vacuuming
Use an attachment or extension to thoroughly vacuum the car seats. This will remove any dirt or food, pet or human hair and will also loosen other residue stuck on the seats. This is more of a pre-cleaning step. Once the outer layer is cleared, cleaning the deeper layer of the car seats will be easier.
Step 2 – Applying cleaning product
Now for the actual cleaning, buying expensive professional car seat cleaners is not always required. A cleaning solution can be made at home within your budget and will give you desirable results. You can make one using different ingredients. Some of the most commonly used products for cloth cleaning purpose are given below:
Vinegar is an efficient and low-cost alternative to most of the cleaning products available in the market. Add one cup of vinegar in a gallon of hot water in a bucket to concoct a cleaning solution. Then throw in some dish soap for good measure.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a deodoriser, an effective cleaner and insanely light on the pocket. It is especially recommended for the nastier stains on smaller areas. Just pour a quarter cup of baking soda in a small bowl of warm water and your cleaning solution is ready.
3. Club Soda
Your everyday club soda is nothing but carbonated water with useful minerals such as potassium citrate and potassium bicarbonate. These ingredients make it an excellent cleaner for car seat fabric. Like baking soda, this is also more effective for stains in smaller areas.
4. Laundry Detergent
You can easily make a cleaning solution with a powder or liquid detergent mixed in a warm bucket of water. However, refrain from making too rich a solution as it will saturate the car seats and always apply only a small amount on the seats.
Please note these are for cloth seats. The best product to clean leather car seats or vinyl car seats might be different. Here is a list of cleaning products to invest in for a clean vehicle.
Step 3 – Blotting or Scrubbing
Now that you have applied the cleaning solution of your choice to the stains, the next step is to blot and scrub.
Use a microfiber cloth to blot the stain. Do it until the stain is gone.
While blotting may work for many stains, others can be stubborn beyond our wildest dreams. Depending on your car seat covering, try the following scrubbing methods to treat such hard-to-remove stains as cola, juice, coffee and others:
- To remove stains from vinyl or leather car seats, put some non-gel toothpaste and use a toothbrush to scrub at the stain gently.
- To remove stains from fabric car seats, baking soda solution is the best. Scrub the solution into the stain using a toothbrush.
Once you are done with scrubbing, use a damp microfiber cloth to blot the stain and the cleaning product out of the car seat. You can scrub as long and hard as you want but before that spot-check the seat fabric for colour fastness to avoid fading especially in inconspicuous areas.
Step 4 – Drying
Now that you have cleaned the seats and removed the stains, it is time to dry them. In case of leather or vinyl covers, you can simply wipe away the extra moisture. However, for fabric covers, there is a risk of water stains. The best approach in this regard is to absorb the surplus moisture with an old towel then let the fabric air dry. Leave the car door or windows open for fast drying.
Other Tips to Keep Your Car Seats Cleans
Here are a few tips for keeping your car seats clean:
- For deep, set-in stains on your car seats or if you are a frequent cleaner, invest in a portable carpet cleaner. It will make cleaning easier.
- Keep baby wipes in your car for in-between cleanings. They work well enough, offer convenience and are sufficiently gentle for all types of upholstery.
- Installing car seat protectors is another option as you can remove and wash them easily.
Here are some more car cleaning tips to help you make your vehicle shine like new. You may also check out this advice on how to clean your car seats without leaving water marks.
How do you remove soda stains out of cloth car seats?
You can use a clean cloth to blot up as much of the spilt soda as possible. Then use a cleaning mixture of one tablespoon dishwashing liquid and one tablespoon of white vinegar with one and a half cup of water on the stain. Rub and blot the stain with the dishwashing liquid and vinegar solution using a microfibre cloth or a sponge.
Do Coke stains come out?
Yes, but they require pre-treatment. Pre-treat the stain with vinegar or lemon juice. Allow it to stay on the stain for at least 5 minutes. Rinse the stain with water so the acid doesn’t damage the cloth. Mostly, such pretreatment loosens the stain so it comes out by rubbing with detergent.
Can bleach be used to clean car seats?
Bleach to clean car seats is not recommended as it can leave a strong odour or even discolour or damage the fabric. However, you can use it as a stain remover on specific spots or in a carpet cleaning machine for deep cleaning. Avoid using bleach inside your car, especially on screens, and avoid ammonia-based cleaners (like glass cleaners) on your screens as well. Bleach can damage your interior.
How do I dry my car seats after shampooing?
You can set a fan or an air mover on each seat for faster drying. It will take around 15 to 20 minutes to dry. If the seat has dried, move the fan/air mover to the next seat.
This concludes our guide on how to clean car seats at home. Keep your vehicle clean all the time and remove spilled stuff right when it is fresh. Make sure you give your car deep clean every 2 weeks or at least once a month. In addition to cleaning it, you can put other efforts to make your car stand out. Installing car accessories and buying car apparel and merchandise are just a few ways to do it.
If you want to know more about how to keep your car clean, stay tuned to the UAE’s top auto blog.