How To Clean Car Seats: A Step by Step Guide?


Cleaning car seats can be a tricky task if you don’t know-how and is unlike washing car seat covers that can be removed and thrown in a tub
Here are some practical solutions that will help you to clean your car seats 

How To Clean The Different Types Of Car Seats?

There are many methods of cleaning which are reliant on the type of fabric construction.
A different process, as well as product and tools, are essential for optimal results.

Cloth Seats

Of all the car seat materials, cloth fabric is arguably the most challenging to clean and maintain.
The results however can be quite pleasing especially when you are able to remove tough stains.

The following process is a good technique for the deep cleaning of cloth car seats and can be done at home.
You will need a few household products and items to deep clean cloth car seats and enhance the look and feel of the car interior.

Items You Will Need

  • Wet dry Vacuum with attachments
    (Extraction Cleaning Machine)
  • Bucket
  • Warm Water
  • Brush
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Sponge
  • Cleaning Solution

Cleaning Instructions:

  1. Vacuum – the surface to remove dust and surface dirt as well as in the corners and between the seats using the crevice tool.
    This should always be the first step no matter which cleaning method you use.
  2. Use a brush – To loosen hardened dirt and remove pet hair. This should be used together with the vacuuming process.
  3. Mix cleaning solution – Fill a bucket with warm water and add upholstery cleaner which can also be used to clean a steering wheel and other upholstery.
    Add some of this solution to the wet dry vacuum.
    Make a more concentrated solution and add it to a spray bottle for spot cleaning tougher stains.
  4. Treat Stains – Spray cleaning solution on any visibly affected area and let soak for a while.
    Agitate with a brush to loosen dirt and prepare it for cleaning.
  5. Start Cleaning Process – Using the wet-dry vac, lightly spray small sections of the seat.
    Using a medium bristle brush start scrubbing the sprayed area.
  6. Extract water – using an extraction machine or wet-dry vacuum to remove dirt.
  7. Rinse – Pour cold water into the tank – spray across the surface, then extract again with the carpet cleaner machine.
  8. Allow To Dry – Open the doors and windows and let the seats air dry.
    Leave in a sunny place for several hours to speed up the drying process and help remove excess moisture.

Leather Seats

In this cleaning process, we are going to use a leather cleaner and conditioning cream.
The leather cleaner will help to remove dirt and stains without damaging the surface.
The conditioning cream helps preserve the leather, preventing drying out, cracking, and fading.

Cleaning Instructions:

  1. Wipe Surface – With a slightly damp cloth to remove loose dirt and debris on the surface.
  2. Apply Leather Cleaner – Apply either directly to the surface or onto a cloth or sponge.
  3. Massage Into Surface – Using a sponge or microfiber cloth massage into the surface.
    Use small circular motions to irritate dirt while simultaneously cleaning.
  4. Use A Brush – To loosen stubborn dirt and grime use a soft brush to gently scrub the stained area.
  5. Remove Excess Residue – With a dry cloth, wipe off any residue to prepare for conditioner.
  6. Apply Leather Conditioning Cream – This is an important step in the process and serves as a protective coating.

Well-cleaned and conditioned leather car seats are an awesome sight and do justice to your car interior look, feel, and touch.

Vinyl Seats

This is by far the easiest seat fabric to clean and maintain. Stain removal is quite simple too.

We will be using an all-purpose cleaning detergent.

Cleaning Instructions:

  1. Remove Surface Dirt – loose dirt and debris from the surface using a cloth or soft brush.
  2. Make Cleaning Mixture – Mix hot water with the cleaning concentrate as per instructions.
  3. Apply Cleaner – Using a sponge or cloth apply the cleaning solution to the seat.
    Work in small sections, massaging the lather in, allowing it to work.
  4. Stain Removal – If you encounter a stubborn stain use a brush to agitate and loosen it.
  5. Wipe – Once satisfied use a clean damp cloth to lift the dirt and grime from the surface.

What Is The Best Way To Clean Car Seats?

There is no best way, rather effective ways to clean based on current circumstances and expectations.

Here are some simple and effective ways to clean your car seats.


One of the easiest and simplest ways of maintaining and cleaning cloth seats is with regular vacuuming.

Use your vacuum cleaner with the brush attachment to remove any loose dirt, hair, and other surface particles.
You can expect pleasing results if used in conjunction with a wet cloth and brush.
This is also the cheapest way to do it as a maintenance process.

For leather and vinyl, this is only a way to remove dust and loose surface dirt.

Damp Cloth

Use a damp cloth for quick cleaning of your car upholstery including vinyl and leather car seats.
You can wet the in a solution of laundry detergent or dish soap and then wring it out.

We however recommend a specialist upholstery cleaner intended for your car seat material to be diluted instead.

Fill a bucket with water, dip the cloth inside and wring it out so that it is just damp.
Next, wipe down the seats in small sections at a time, again placing the cloth in the bucket and wringing it out.

Repeat this process continually not forgetting to change the water if it gets too dirty.

This is also one of the fastest ways to clean your seats.

this is your car seat in long strokes from top to bottom.

The dirt should come off easily and you can use another dry cloth or towel to dry off any excess water or dirty solution drips

Steam Clean

Steam cleaning is good for getting rid of germs and bacteria in your car upholstery.
You will need to purchase a portable steam cleaner to use this method of cleaning.

It should only be used on cloth and fabric upholstery.


Wipes are the easiest way for quick cleaning and are an option, especially for vinyl seats.
They are good for mopping up a spill and maintaining seats that are cleaned regularly.

When choosing, make sure that the wipes are thick enough to clean up any mess.
They should also have disinfectant added as well as a fragrance as a bonus.

Keep them in your car. They’re handy and quick and easy to use if you need to wipe off car seat stains and dirt.

Magic Eraser

A magic eraser is a fantastic tool for cleaning a car seat and other upholstery.
It is very effective for removing dirt and marks from almost any area in your vehicle.

All you have to do is wet the magic eraser with water and scrub it over the surface of your car seat.

The best thing about this cleaning hack is that it does not require any chemicals or cleaners.

Dry Foam

Using dry foam as a cleaning product is a definite option, especially during cooler periods.
It is a great way to scrub and also has very little moisture making for good drying time.

The foam canisters also have a fabric brush attached to the nozzle which can be used for both applying and washing.

What Are The Best Cleaning Products To Use?


The best cleaner for fabric car seats

Leather Seats

Leather upholstery cleaner and conditioner are the recommended ways for cleaning and maintenance.


How Often Should You Wash Your Car Seats?

Anything from once a week to once a year. this is entirely dependent on conditions and your set of circumstances.
It also depends on the season and the type of fabric.
You do not want to be sitting on a wet, cloth car seat in the middle of winter.

How To Clean Car Seats Using Household Items?

Baking Soda & Vinegar

When combined, vinegar and baking soda are a potent force to clean a vehicle’s interior.
They are natural and cheap, and they have some great cleaning properties.


  • Combine 2 cups of water with 1 cup of vinegar in a spray bottle.
  • Spray the vinegar solution onto the area and wipe it off.
  • For cloth fabric, use a brush to agitate and remove dirt after applying.

Baking Soda

Cleaning car seats with baking soda is a great way to remove stains and odors.

  • Mix 1 part baking soda with 2 parts water in a container.
  • Apply the baking soda solution to the affected area of your car’s interior.
  • Leave for at least 20 minutes.
  • Scrub with a medium-hard brush.
  • Wipe or brush off the residue.

How To Protect Your Car Seats?

It’s important to clean your car seat regularly to avoid stains, dirt, and odor.

the use of car seat covers will protect from spills and extend the life of the seat.


We also saw the various methods that you can use to keep your car seats clean. These methods are not only easy but also very effective in keeping your car seats clean.

Keeping your car seats clean is important because it will make your drive more pleasurable.
It is probably worth the effort if you want a pleasurable ride.

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