Keeping your car seats clean will not only keep your car looking great, it can help hold its resale value. The type of seats you have will determine the cleaning method you should use. With a few simple products and some time, you’ll have your seats looking as clean as the day you drove the car off the lot.
Cleaning Cloth Seats
You Will Need:
- Vacuum with attachments
- Upholstery cleaner
- Spot remover
- Stiff brush
- Soft white cloths
- Wet vac (if needed)
Steps to Clean Cloth Seats:
- Begin by vacuuming all surfaces of the seats to remove any loose dirt and debris. The attachments are helpful for reaching tight crevices and in between the seats and the console.
- Next, look over the seats to identify any stained areas that will require extra cleaning as well as weak areas that may show signs of damage (holes, thin fabric, etc.). Weak areas should be cleaned with caution to avoid damaging the area further.
- Apply an upholstery cleaner to the surface of the seat. It works best to work in small sections.
- Work the cleaner into the fabric with a stiff brush. Extra scrubbing will be required to removed stains and heavily soiled areas.
- For stains and soiled areas that do not come clean with the upholstery cleaner, apply a spot remover. Again, work it into the fabric with a stiff brush.
- Wipe any excess cleaner away with a clean, white, soft cloth.
- Check the product label. Many products do not need to be rinsed, and the area can be left to dry.
- If rinsing is required, spray water over the area (small amounts at a time so it doesn’t saturate the foam cushion) and remove with a wet vac immediately.
- Allow the seats to dry completely. Keep windows down until the seats are dry to avoid mold and mildew growth.
Cleaning Leather Seats
You Will Need:
Steps to Clean Leather Seats:
- It is best to clean leather seats in the shade.
- Vacuum the seats to remove any loose dirt and debris.
- Apply the leather cleaner to a clean, dry sponge.
- Rub the sponge over the surface in a circular motion until the entire surface is covered.
- Dry the surface with a clean, dry, soft cloth.
- It is best to work in sections, repeat the above steps until each seat is cleaned.
- Apply the leather conditioner using a soft cloth.
- Allow the seats to dry for at least one hour.
Additional Tips and Advice
- If you have a carpet steam cleaners, many come with or have upholstery attachments available. These can be useful for cleaning car seats as well.
- If there are stains on your leather seats, apply a mixture of one part lemon juice and one part cream of tartar using a soft cloth. As with any cleaning product, test it on a hidden area first to ensure there are no adverse effects.
- To keep your leather seats from fading, choose a leather conditioner that contains sunscreen.
- For quick clean-ups, keep a container of wipes in the car. There are wipes made for both leather and cloth seats.