How to clean car seat without removing them? Get rid of stubborn stains and foul odors in a quirky way!

From drinks spill stains to loaded diaper leaks, when it comes to messy car seats, trust us, we have seen the worst. And if you are here with us, that means you have seen or probably smelled similar things too.

So what should you do? Leave the car in that dirty state or do some leg work, remove the seats and do a detailed cleaning? Well, we would recommend going for a full-fledged cleaning as the stains and odor we are assuming wouldn’t go just by a simple wipe out.

Also, we know a trick to make this easier for you, ask what? We have explained in this guide how to clean car seat without removing. So yeah, that means you don’t have to call your bulky neighbors to help you with cleaning. Just kidding.

How to clean car seat without removing?

Once you make up your mind to clean your car’s interior, you first need to look for the manual that came with it. Every brand new car has a car seat manual containing all the car seats’ guidelines, including how to clean them.

If you have it, well and good. However, if you don’t have it, follow these general guidelines below. They work for almost every car. Let’s begin with:

  • Buckles, straps and car seat shells:

We will begin with the plastic parts and follow the spot cleaning strategy. Take a soft cloth, some water and mild soap (if necessary). Dip the cloth and wring it to remove excess water and start cleaning. Dust and grime are easy to remove with a wet cloth. However, you may need to apply some force to clean up the dried gunk.

If it doesn’t come off with just wiping, rehydrate and let it stay for a minute or two until it gets soft. Once it is loosened, clean it by simply wiping it. Avoid using harsh products like vinegar, chemical solvents or abrasive cleaners. They deteriorate the car seat’s components.

Once the cleaning is done, park your car in the sunlight, as it will dry out the components and eliminate the nasty smell as well.

  • Padding and Seat Cover:

Next, you need to clean the padding and seat cover. Depending on your ease, you can either machine wash it on a gentle spin or wash it yourself. Once done, lay it flat under the fan or hang it straight to dry it and prevent shrinking.

Here you need to be cautious and refer to the manual guide, as some car guides refuse to get the padding and seat covers machine washed due to the fabric’s quality. Also, it specifies which detergent you should use (mild or strong) to wash them.

  • Clips and Buckles:

How can we miss buckles and clips? Take some lukewarm water in a bowl and gently pour it onto the buckle to clean the sticky gunk. Be careful with it, and DO NOT submerge the strap. Toss inside the red button to dislodge any trapped dirt inside.

Note: its better you don’t use WD-40 for cleaning any component of your car. Trust us, there is a reason we are stressing on it.

How to deal with stubborn stains?

If you have kids, you probably have lots of beverages, snacks and poop stains on your car seat, which are frustrating to remove. They may tempt you to use the harshest cleaner but don’t fall for the trap. Instead, go for a DIY solution. Take some vinegar, baking soda and vacuum. Here are some suggestions for the best vacuum cleaners.

First, spray the stain with vinegar. Next, sprinkle some baking soda and leave it to dry for a few minutes. Now use a vacuum to clean it up. It won’t just remove the stain but eradicate the rotting smell from your seats.

Should you use shampoo to clean your car seats?

Most car guides discourage using harsh chemical shampoo on your car seats. It destroys the seat’s fabric and even risks your child’s safety during an accident. That said, it’s not like you cannot use any shampoo. Gentle shampoos like baby shampoo can be used. Make a dilute soapy mixture by adding two cups of warm water to a small quantity of baby shampoo and gently scrub your car seats with a soft sponge. It will remove stains and leave a fresh smell. Also, since car seats take a while to dry, avoid using too much water.

Conclusion – How to clean car seat without removing

Unfortunately, some REALLY tough messes are hard to get rid of and you must call a professional over to get them cleaned. But if your interior has bugs, mold or disgusting odor that just doesn’t leave, we fear you might need to look for a replacement for your car seats. 

You may find some good and reliable options in the automotive aftermarket and if not, just simply take your car to a dealership. If you get lucky, they will have something to offer you, or at the very least, you will get some useful suggestions.

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