How often should I clean my car seats? The answer depends on several factors such as the type of seat, the material it’s made from, and the amount of dirt or stains present, but typically speaking, it should be done every few weeks or once a month.
However, to know how much you need to give them a thorough clean is one thing, yet the most important thing you need to know is how to go about doing so.
Some cars come with built-in cleaning systems, yet they don’t always get the job done properly.
If you want to remove stubborn stains, you’ll have to take matters into your own hands, and this is why we have written this article. Here’s how to clean your car seats effectively.
Why Clean Your Car Seats At Home?
While it might seem like a difficult and time-consuming task, cleaning your car seats and your car at home is more affordable and much more convenient than getting them cleaned by a professional.
So, when the mess in the car and on the seats starts to get out of hand, it's time to get out those cleaning products.
Car seats can be a lot dirtier than you first think. You and your passengers sometimes sit down and take a ride home when you're sweaty, dirty, or not feeling well.
By cleaning car seats, whether they are made of leather, vinyl, or cloth, you'll reduce nasty odors coming from them over time and give your car's interior some love, as well as a brand new refreshed look.
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How To Wash Your Car Seats
We have written this step-by-step guide for washing your car seats because it will help you understand what kind of products you need and how to use them to make your seats look new again.
This guide is best used for cloth car seats and vinyl upholstery car seats.
Step 1: Get all the tools ready
Before you start washing your car seats, make sure you have everything you need. These include:
- A bucket filled with warm water (not hot)
- A soft brush
- An microfiber towel
- A Vacuum
- All-Purpose Cleaner
- A Brush Head
- A Protectant
Step 2: Vacuum The Seats
Use a high-quality vacuum cleaner that has an attachment for vacuuming upholstery. Make sure to use a nozzle that will reach all areas of the seat, including under the armrests and along the sides.
Vacuum the entire seat, paying special attention to any crevices where dust may hide.
Step 3: Use A Brush Head
If there are spots that won't come off easily, try using a small brush head to gently scrub away the dirt.
It's best to avoid using harsh chemicals on your car seats because they could damage the fabric, leaving permanent marks.
Step 4: Wipe Down
Once you've removed as much debris as possible, wipe down the seat with a damp microfiber towel.
This step helps prevent excess moisture from building up between the fibers of the seat cover, which can cause mold growth.
Make sure to work in circular motions, starting from the center and working outwards. This will ensure that you remove every last bit of moisture, dirt, and grime.
Step 5: Spray With An All-Purpose Cleaner
Spray the entire seat with an all-purpose cleaner, making sure to spray the underside of the seat too.
This step removes any remaining residue left behind after vacuuming.
These cleaners are designed for general cleaning purposes, and they usually have a high concentration of detergents.
They’re perfect if you want to quickly and easily remove stubborn spots.
We love this CarGuys Super Cleaner, which is an effective all-purpose cleaner suitable for any interior surface, as well as multiple exterior surfaces so you won't be buying extra products when it comes to cleaning the outside of your car.
Step 6: Dry The Seat
After spraying the seat with cleaner, let it dry completely before sitting back in your vehicle.
Drying times vary depending on the climate and the materials used in the seat. Vinyl seats only require 12 hours. Cloth seats can dry overnight.
Step 7: Apply Protectant
Apply a protectant such as Marine Aerospace Protectant to the seat to help keep the seat looking fresh.
Most protectants contain UV inhibitors that block fading and discoloration caused by sunlight. Choose a product specifically formulated for your car's upholstery.
Step 8: Let Sit For A Few Days
Let the seat air dry completely before driving again. If you live in a humid area, you may need to leave the seat cover outside for several days so that it dries thoroughly.
How To Clean Leather Car Seats
To clean leather car seats, follow these steps:
Step 1: Remove Any Dirt
Use a soft brush or a toothbrush to get rid of any loose dirt. You don't want to scratch the leather when removing stains.
Step 2: Scrub Away Stains
Use a mild soap solution to remove any stains. Be careful not to overdo this step, as you don't want to damage the leather.
Step 3: Rinse And Repeat
Rinse the leather seat with warm water until no more soap is visible. Then rinse again with cold water and buff with a dry cloth.
Step 4: Air Out
Leave the leather seat uncovered for at least 48 hours to allow it to dry completely. During this time, make sure to store it in a well-ventilated space.
Step 5: Apply Protectant
Apply a protectant to the leather seat to help keep the leather looking new.
As we have mentioned previously, protectants contain ultraviolet inhibitors that block fading and color changes caused by sunlight.
They condition the leather and make it easier to remove future stains.
Step 6: Let Sit For Another Day
Allow the seat to air dry for another day before driving again. This ensures you will have the best protection on the seat and the products have sufficiently sunk in.
We hope after reading this article you know how to clean your car seats, whatever material you might be attempting to clean.
If you follow our step-by-step guide, you should be on your way to showroom-style car seats again in no time.
Remember, cleaning your car seats regularly is important to stop nasty odors, discoloration, and a build-up of dirt and grime.
Make sure you are also vacuuming your seats between cleaning sessions, as this will prolong their overall lifespan.