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How to clean car seats?

How to clean car seats?

Over time, car seats are likely to get dirty and stained, especially if you have children or pets... Cleaning is a must!  Without cleaning, dirt can easily become embedded in the upholstery. So how do you clean car seats?

Fortunately, there are solutions to remove most stains and give your car's interior a fresh, new look. Drive in a car with clean seats thanks to these tips and tricks on how to best clean car seats. With minimal effort, your car seats will look great again!

What products should you use to easily clean your car seats?

It's important to buy and use the right product to get rid of vomit, oil, or other stains on a fabric or leather car seat without having to call the professionals. To remove the most common stains you may encounter in a car, you can use these everyday products to clean your car seats:

  • Soda water will effectively remove a vomit stain and its odor. It's not uncommon for children, and even some adults, to feel uncomfortable in the car, so always have one with you when you travel.
  • When you eat in the car, you may leave grease or oil stains on the car seats. To remove them, use a little detergent mixed with water and rub the stains with a sponge soaked in the mixture. Use a wet vacuum to remove the liquid and repeat the process until the stains disappear. If you don't have detergent, you can also scrub grease stains with dish soap.
  • Not to be confused with bicarbonate of soda, soda crystals are a very practical solution for removing many types of stains and effectively cleaning your surfaces. Dilute the soda crystals in water and rub the stained areas of your upholstery. Rinse with lukewarm water.
  • For heavily soiled or stained seats, mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water in a container and scrub your seats with a sponge soaked in the mixture. Rinse off the vinegar with a damp cloth and allow to dry.

Which products for which stains?

While ammonia, soda crystals, and white vinegar are proven effective upholstery cleaners, some stains require special treatment.

  • Vomit stains: If you don't have ammonia on hand, opt for sparkling water, such as Perrier. The bubbles will loosen vomit stains on car seats.
  • Grease and oil stains:This type of stain is very difficult to remove. Mix water with detergent and wet the seat before vacuuming with a wet vacuum. Repeat the process until the stain is gone.
  • Mud stains: Allow the muddy stain to dry on the seat. Then rub vigorously with soapy water (or white vinegar) to remove the stain.
  • Ink stain: Mix equal parts water and alcohol, then polish the seat with the mixture. Nail polish remover can also come in handy.
  • Blood stains:If the blood is still wet, mix a little water with cornstarch or cornflower, then rub the seat with a sponge. Allow to dry and dust the seat. If the blood is dry, use ammonia diluted in water.

How to clean cloth car seats?

This depends on the cleaning product you are using. For ammonia, simply soak a clean cloth in it and apply it to the problem area(s). Then wipe with a second damp cloth and allow to dry. Remember to air out your vehicle before cleaning the seats with this product.

If you choose to clean your car seats with bicarbonate/soda crystals, first put on your plastic gloves. Then mix the soda (1 cup) with water (1 liter) in your sink. Finally, soak your sponge in the solution to remove any stains from the seat.

To clean a stain with white vinegar, you'll also need to make a mixture in your bucket first:

  • 50 cl white vinegar
  • 25 cl warm or hot water
  • 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid (for stubborn stains)

Then apply this solution with a soaked sponge to remove the stains from your car seats.

Finally, rinse the cloth seats with a sponge soaked in clean water and allow to dry.

Soda water is very effective at removing vomit stains.

How to clean leather car seats?

Cleaning car leather is a little different, but the principle remains the same.

First, you'll need to dust the leather seats with your brush and/or vacuum cleaner. If you have a vacuum cleaner, you can also use it to vacuum the carpets.

Second, you'll need the following cleaning supplies:

  • A brush
  • A sponge
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Black (or Marseille) soap or cleansing milk
  • A sink filled with warm water

Third, soak your brush in hot water, apply your cleaner to it, and then clean the stains from your leather seats (you will need to rub gently so as not to damage them).

Finally, rinse your leather seats with a sponge soaked in water. Give them a final wipe with your microfiber cloth.

If you want to shine and protect your seats, you can use another product to nourish the leather, such as moisturizing wipes or special creams.

How to remove stains from a car seat?

Are you familiar with seat stains? These are the most common stains that appear as soon as you spill a liquid on your seats: water, sweat, ketchup or even soda... it doesn't matter what you spill, you'll get rings!

To get rid of them, the trick is simple: it's time to get out your baking soda!

Steps to follow:

  • Put on your cleaning gloves
  • Fill a bucket with about a quart of lukewarm water
  • Dilute two tablespoons of baking soda in the bucket.
  • Take a soft-bristled brush and dip it into the mixture.
  • Scrub the entire area of the stain.
  • Absorb with a microfiber cloth.
  • Repeat the process several times with your magic mix.
  • Leave to dry with all doors open.
  • Vacuum to remove the bicarbonate.

If the stains haven't completely disappeared from your car seats, you can try the same process but with a mixture of 50% water and 50% household white vinegar.

How to clean mildew from my car's upholstery?

If you live in a humid area, there's a good chance that your car's interior will develop mold in one way or another. Typically, this occurs on seats that absorb moisture and have little or no ventilation.

Unlike vomit, which is just gross, mold is potentially dangerous to your health... so don't wait to get rid of it! Don't worry, we'll tell you how to get rid of these nasty fungi:

Steps to follow:

  • put on a dust mask and household gloves
  • Put your car in a dry place, preferably in the sun.
  • Ideally, remove your seats and any moldy parts. This will give you better access so you don't leave anything behind.
  • Use an anti-mould spray, available from any car shop.
  • Let it dry and repeat the process.
  • Prepare a 50/50 mixture of borax powder and water.
  • Use a short-bristled brush and your mixture to scrub over the mildew stains and surrounding area.
  • While the seat is still damp, apply a thin layer of baking soda.
  • When everything is dry, give it a good vacuuming.

Can I use ammonia on my car seats?

Possible, but not recommended

Despite the many websites that tell you to clean everything in your car with ammonia, we don't recommend it for several reasons:

Although it's a product that works, it's also very strong and can damage your car's materials.

It's dangerous to the skin

It's dangerous for your respiratory system, and your car is an enclosed space... so it's best to avoid it.

There are other solutions, so you might as well do without this one.

Steam-cleaning seats: for or against?

This is not a bad solution as it eliminates 99.9% of bacteria.

It's also a good solution if your seats aren't very dirty. You can wash everything quickly and your fabrics will dry much faster than with shampoo.

However, beware of high heat, which can damage the fabric of your car seat. Don't forget to use a special car seat head or place a towel between your steam cleaner and your seat.

Tips for cleaning car seats effectively

Let the seats dry

If possible, allow the seats to dry completely before using your car again. This usually takes two to three hours if you've taken care not to get the seats too wet.

If you need to speed up the process, park the car in the sunniest spot to speed up the drying time. If the seats are still damp, place a small moisture absorber in your car to help them dry faster.

Finish with a water-repellent protector

Now that your seats are thoroughly clean, use a water-repellent spray fabric protector to prevent dirt and stains from re-entering. This will make cleaning much easier and quicker next time!

Prevention is better than cure

Spending a little time each week to keep your car clean and hygienic will pay off in the long run and keep your seats in good condition for much longer. Ideally, fabric car seats should be vacuumed once a week and stains treated without waiting for them to set and dry.

If your car tends to get dirty quickly, you should know that there are a variety of seat covers on the market that you can install in a jiffy to prevent your seats from getting dirty and keep them looking as good as new. All you have to do is machine wash them to make sure they're clean. Choose covers specifically designed for your make and model. Make sure they are compatible with airbags and seatbelts.

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