Must-know steps on how to clean different types of car seats

Updated Sep 12, 2018 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

Read the article and know how to keep your car interior neat and tidy!

Cleanliness applies even in our own cars! We don’t want to invite someone or some friends for a ride home knowing they will still accept you for who you are no matter how messy your car looks like. It’s always best to be confident that in a sudden, completely unplanned night out, you have a clean car and car seat where your friends can hang out.

In line with this, how do we clean our car seats? I know there are different types of car seats, and I will help you with the steps on how to clean each type.

Make sure you empty the car seats, leaving absolutely nothing on it. All papers, books, organizers, and other bits and pieces should be removed from the car seats, both front and back. So there won’t be anything to hinder you from cleaning them thoroughly.

Dirty car seats

It is difficult to start cleaning if your car contains a lot of obstacles that needs to be cleared out first

Once your car seats are free from other things, we can proceed with the specifics.

1. How to Clean Cloth or Fabric Car Seats

Cloth or fabric car seats are the type where stains can easily form and stay. As much as possible, since they absorb any fluid try not to spill anything on them to ensure their cleanliness. However, if it is by accident, or unavoidable, just make sure to clean them as soon as possible so the stain will still be easy to remove. Here are some steps:

A short video clip of cleaning fabric car seats via ehowauto

Step 1: Get rid of the visible chunks of trash

These are the little papers or what nots that have stuck on the car seat already which can be removed manually by hand. Try removing as much as you can and clear the entire area.

Step 2: Vacuum the surface

After the surface is clear, it’s time to turn your attention to the invisible dust that has accumulated on your fabric car seat. Since they are porous, they tend to absorb more dust that can’t just be removed by wiping off. You have to use a vacuum cleaner to complete this task.

You’ll notice a significant change in the color of your fabric car seat after you run a vacuum on them as they will lighten up. This only means that you were able to successfully vacuum out the dust that has been there a long time.

Cleaning car seats' surface by a vacuum cleaner

You have to use a vacuum cleaner to complete this task

Step 3: Prepare warm water and mild detergent

After dry cleaning your car, it’s time to do some wet cleaning. It is recommended to use warm water for this to ensure stain removal and mild detergent to prevent getting the colors of your car seats to fade. Mix the two together in a pail and using a sponge/brush, scrub the car seat surface gently until all of the stains have come off.

Step 4: Prepare cold water too

After scrubbing the entire surface of your car seat, it’s time to dip your sponge into cold water to wash the detergent off.

Step 5: Let the car seats dry and vacuum again

After the dry and wet cleaning, let the car seats dry by leaving the car windows and doors open. Once they’re completely dry, run another round of vacuum for a complete dust free fabric car seat.

2. How to Clean Vinyl Car Seats

Vinyl car seats, unlike fabric is not porous, so they don’t really absorb that much dust and dirt and even stains (which is pretty hard to come by as this type of car seat is mostly fluid proof/ resistant). Cleaning this particular type of car seat is easy – you can simply just wipe off the dirt, dust and stain using a damp microfiber towel!

3. How to Clean Faux Leather Seats

Faux leather seats are used mostly by car owners who wants leather-on-a-budget. They sure look like leather, however it’s not genuine and its way more affordable. The texture of this car seat is pretty similar with vinyl so it’s also easy to clean.

faux leather seats

Faux leather seats can be easy to clean

You can dust it off just by using a feather duster. Should you want to do major cleaning, wet a microfiber towel with water and detergent and drain all excess water before wiping all the car seat surfaces clean. Using a different towel, damped in clean water, wipe off the detergent from the surfaces. Lastly dry the surfaces using a dry, clean towel. Afterwards, you can vacuum the surfaces to ensure absence of dust.

4. How to Clean Genuine Leather Seats

This is the car seat type that is sensitive and of high maintenance. Leather has its natural components that must not be removed by harmful chemicals. Therefore, you must not use just any stain remover or detergent to remove any stain or to clean leather car seats.

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Easy steps on how to clean leather car seats

You can dust off leather car seats by using a simple microfiber towel and wiping off the surfaces. After doing so, use a recommended leather conditioner and pour a generous amount on a towel but don’t spread too much on just one part of the surface – it must be spread throughout, evenly. Leave it to dry.

Last but not least, always keeping a tidy interior is also a good way to maintain the cleanliness of your car seats. Make sure you still remember the last time you had your car interior cleaned and do the car wash at least once every week or two.

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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