Making Peace with Your Car Seats

Updated Feb 21, 2019 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

How can you make amends to one of the most neglected yet most useful part of the car?

Poor, Crummy Upholstery

Your car is your second best friend next to your dog. You and your sexy car are partners in crime, almost inseparable. Your car is a silent witness of your frustrations, happiness, sadness and love stories. Sometimes you even feel they’re alive because your favorite heartbreak song suddenly plays in the background while you recall your past relationship.

Truly, cars are amazing. They will never fail to be with you, through the worst traffic or the speedy highways.

I’m sharing with you a good story that will make you realize an important thing.

One day, you saw your office crush waiting for a ride in front of the office. She’s pretty in white, looking all glammed up even after a day’s work, her hair swaying in the wind. You look at the rearview mirror and made sure your hair looks decent and your face is not as shiny as it used to be. You mustered all your guts and after a minute or two of thinking, you have decided to offer her a ride home. You stepped on the gas and stopped in front of her, opened the passenger window, flashed your nicest smile and said, “Tara, sabay ka na sakin.”

guy trying to pick up a girl

Tara, sabay ka na sakin

Her lips curved into a smile. She opened the car, and you saw her eyebrows suddenly wrinkling. You can see her sniffing as her eyes roamed around your car, up until the back seat. She smiled again, but this time, she flashed a different kind of smile – more of a polite smile. Then she said, “Uhm, so nice of you, but I’m all set. I already booked a Grab and it’ll be here in five minutes. Thank you very much for your offer, though.”

Your heart was shattered as she gently closed the door. You thought about it all the way home. You got off your car as you remembered her face and her sniffing. You started to do the same.

You then realized that your car is smelly. In fact, too smelly. “So, that’s why.” You thought. You then removed all the car carpet and didn’t find any leftover garbage. You stood by the driver’s door and realized that your car seats are filthy. You then see stains all over the place.

Car seats – we sit on them every single day we use the car. We rest our backs against them and they make us feel at home and comfortable. Despite that, we tend to overlook them.

1. Why My Car Seats Come Dirty?

We are personally guilty about having dirty car seats. We tend to forget to make sure that we don’t spill anything on it. These are the things we do in our car that could have effects on our upholstery:

1.1. Eating Food Carelessly

Alone or with family, we sometimes can’t help but visit a drive-thru and grab something to eat. We eat happily inside the car and while enjoying, we tend to ignore the little bits and pieces that fall on the upholstery. We may not even notice it, but sometimes we unintentionally drop some grease in there as well.

1.2. Drinking Inside the Car

We’re not pertaining to alcohol drinking, but even water, sodas, and juice could also contribute to car seat stains and when they dry out, they can cause some smell.

car full of litter

Indeed, one of the best bonding moments during trips is EATING and DRINKING!

1.3. Smoking in the Car

Yes, smoke can be a great cause for your car seats to be dirty and smelly. The cigarette smoke itself can stick to the car walls and seats and even when it falls to the fabric, can cause some holes as well. This personally happened to our car.

Smoking in car

Smoking inside a car leads to stain and smell

1.4. Dirty Hands and Feet

Your car is dirty on the outside, you touch the door handle and rest your hand on the car seat for support or, you have dirty feet and you're like me who loves to place them up on the car seat. There you go, you have unconsciously added dirt to your seats.

Feet upon the car seat

I must admit that this is one of my hobbies!

According to a research made by the University of Nottingham, dirty cars can contain dangerous bacteria such as E. Coli, Staphylococcus which can further result in food poisoning and even lung infection.

2. How to Keep Our Car Seats Tidy and Bacteria Free

How do we prevent acquiring harmful bacteria from our car seats? Here are some helpful car maintenance tips on how to effectively clean our home on the road:

2.1. Suck those dust and dirt out

Vacuum your seats properly. Pick that vacuum cleaner up and ran it through your car seats as well as all the surfaces of your car interior to make sure all crumbs, dirt and dust are removed thoroughly.

Vaccum the car seat

Vacuum the car seats and the entire car interior twice - before and after removing stains

2.2. Brush those hidden areas

Besides the vacuum, a basic cleaning brush is a good tool to clean those little corners and hard to reach areas in the car.

brush the car seats

Brushing seats to clean them even more and reach some hidden areas inside the car

2.3. Spray on ‘Em Stains'

After doing the ‘dry cleaning’ of the car interior, you now proceed with the wet cleaning. This involves a fabric safe cleaning agent solution and a spray bottle. Spray the solution lightly on the affected area and wipe it with a microfiber towel until the stain lightens up or completely disappears.

wipe the car seat upholstery

Spray and Wipe

The recommended cleaning agent formula are readily available in your household. Simple grab a spray bottle, fill it up with water and dishwashing liquid. Shake and mix well before spraying.

2.4. Vacuum again

After spraying and wiping all the upholstery and surfaces clean, you have to run another vacuum cleaning. This is just to ensure that no more little debris is present inside the car.

2.5. Disinfect, Disinfect, Disinfect!

After doing some wet cleaning and two vacuums in your car, the last step to seal the deal is to disinfect the interior. You can simply buy a trusted disinfectant spray from your local grocery store or supermarket, in your favorite scent and spray it generously inside the car. Please remember that it is not advisable to sit in the car immediately after spraying, as even though you used a disinfectant, it may still affect your lungs. Please allow thirty minutes to an hour before sitting inside your car.

spray to disinfect car interior

Spray and Shoo the bacteria away!

Now that your car seats and interiors are already clean, make it a habit to clean the outside too. Lastly, as much as possible, try to maintain your car’s cleanliness not only to look good but also for your own safety and welfare.

>>> More tips for car seat maintenance:

Ivy Kristia Padura

Ivy Kristia Padura


Ivy is one of the first Philkotse's content writers. She finds joy in sharing her driving tips, particular for dealing with heavy traffic in Metro Manila, with other fellow drivers.

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