white leather seat

DIY Detailing: How to Clean Cloth Car Seats

Cloth car seats may not be the most desirable type of car seats. Most car owners may prefer leather since they’re fairly more attractive and they certainly add to the resale value of a vehicle. Although leather seats are also more durable, cloth car seats may be easier to clean.

What do you need to know about how to clean cloth car seats?

Cleaning Cloth Car Seats: What You’ll Need

A clean interior not only ensures your car looks as good as the day you bought it. But it’s also one of the most crucial steps to getting ready for road trips.

The Materials and Tools

  • Hard-bristled brush
  • Sponge
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Upholstery cleaner
  • Upholstery brush
  • Vacuum with hose
  • Crevice tool
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Spray bottle

How to Clean Fabric Car Seats

Clear your car of its contents

It’s better to clean when the space is cleared away of any obstruction. So get rid of anything that’ll make it difficult for you to clean the cloth car seats.

Vacuum the car seats

Get rid of debris, dirt, pet hair and any other refuse by vacuuming. The nozzle must be pushed down hard on the upholstery of the car seat to ensure the tool sucks out all the dirt. You’ll want to use the crevice tool to get to the hard-to-reach places. And vacuum the nooks and crannies.

Mix and use the upholstery cleaner

Most cleaners may need warm water to mix, so read your cleaner’s instructions before mixing it. Use the spray bottle to apply the cleaner because this will allow you to control the amount of solution that’ll go on the fabric car seats.

Too much could make it difficult for you to use the car seat dryer or the solution could seep down into the upholstery, leaving stains.

Brush the applied upholstery cleaner

Grab the upholstery brush and work in the cleaner, starting from the top to the bottom. But gently scrub rather than vigorously rubbing the seats. If your brush looks to be dirty, take the bucket with clear water and rinse it before re-using it on the car’s upholstery.

Use the microfiber cloth

man cleaning car seat

Some excess moisture is likely to remain on the surface of the cloth car seat. Use the microfiber cloth to get rid of it.

Leave the car upholstery to dry

If you’re in no hurry, dry the car seats by leaving it for two hours with the doors open. You can have it air dry in the sun since that will speed up the process. But if you want to know how to dry wet car seats quickly, here’s how:

  • Direct a fan toward the car upholstery
  • Put a container of moisture-absorbing crystals in the car

Either trick could get your cleaned car seats dry.

Vacuum for the last time

Just to be sure that you didn’t miss any debris the first time around, use the vacuum again.

How Do You Make Cloth Seats with Tough Stains New Again?

What happens when the car seats have stains? Cleaning time may take longer and you may need to use a laundry detergent to get rid of tough stains. Leaving the stains isn’t an option since they’ll eventually make your car seats look older than they are, and these dots of dirt are just unsightly. Even used cars look good when they’re cleaned up well.

Depending on who you drive with or uses the car, your car seats will be subject to multiple stains, aside from the occasional vomit stains:

  • Coffee
  • Soda
  • Baby formula
  • Juice
  • Ice cream
  • Yogurt
  • Food
  • Liquor
  • Fruits

And some stains aren’t food and drinks, but:

  • Deodorant
  • Glue
  • Lotion
  • Make up
  • Pet urine
  • Rust
  • Nicotine
  • Markers

The cleaning solution you apply will depend on the type of stains your car’s upholstery has. In general, a baking soda solution will work for most stains on car seats.

All you need is to mix baking soda with warm water to dissolve the stain on the surface. Use a clean cloth to wipe the seats. Alternatively, a toothbrush may also work to get rid of the dirt.

You can also use the upholstery cleaner on some stains, like mud, grease and some food and drinks. Pre-treat the stain with the cleaner than work on it with a brush. For dye-based stains, use oxygen-based bleach mixture. Lightly dampen the area to clean and use the mixture. Leave it for an hour then vacuum the car seat.

But for stubborn stains, you may want to get a service to do a deep cleaning. Sometimes, homemade cleaning solutions or club soda aren’t enough to clean the fabric car seats.

The Best Way to Clean Cloth Car Seats

The best way to keep your fabric car seats clean is to clean it once a week. You may have to do it more frequently if your car takes a “beating” from driving with the kids or carpooling. If you happen to have removable covers for your car seats, give them a wash every two weeks.

It’s vital to keep a clean car, especially when you’ve got kids. Dirt that lingers in a small space has a way of making people sick in the long run. The longer you wait to clear out the debris and treat the stains, the harder it’s going to be get your car’s interior to look comfortable and desirable.

You could also get your car detailed to keep the seats pristine and, more importantly these days, sanitized.

When spills occur or noticeable stains catch your eye, treat them instantly. Blot any liquid spills. Let the baking soda solution sit when it applies to the stain.

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