How to Clean Water Stains from Cloth Car Seats


Kathi asked: How do I clean cloth car seats (tan) in my Mustang that have water stains on them? The water is from rain hitting the seats when I opened the door. There are now stains on the cloth seats. The stains are darker than the tan seats and a good size. I have tried to clean them, but have not found anything that works.

The key to removing water stains from cloth or fabric car seats is to focus on more than just the stains. In order to really clean them, you’ll have to tackle the whole seat. Fortunately, the process is an easy one.

You Will Need:

  • a Dry Foam Upholstery Cleaner (like this one)
  • Brush
  • Dry towel
  • Vacuum with attachments

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. Begin by vacuuming the seats using a vacuum with attachments. This will remove any loose dirt or debris. (If loose dirt is left on the seats, it will turn to mud when moistened and cause additional stains.)
  2. Spray the dry foam cleaner on the seats. Cover the entire seat, not just the areas with water stains.
  3. Brush the foam over the sprayed areas, working it gently into the fabric. Avoid scrubbing too hard with the brush as it can damage the surfaces of some cloth upholsteries.
  4. Wipe away the foam with a clean, dry towel.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Before you begin, spot test the dry foam in a hidden area. This will ensure there are no unwanted effects to the color or texture of the fabric.
  • Dry foam upholstery cleaner is a professional quality product that will leave a fresh scent and a superb clean behind.
  • If the cloth surface is “stiff” after it dries, vacuum over the surfaces to restore the original texture.


  1. I am having the exact problem with my seats in my mustang, and I’m trying to sell it. Did any of you ever get yours clean?

  2. I have had the same problem with my 2008 Mercury Mariner seats. Nothing seems to work. I will try the dry foam cleaner.

  3. I have the water stain problem also. It works if you do the whole seat, otherwise you will have a bigger stain. My problem is trying to remove a blueberry stain from my tan seat. Anyone have a solution?

  4. Try spraying with 1/2 vinegar 1/2 water. Blot it and dry with the hair dryer.

  5. I have stains on the ceiling where water leaked from a crack that has been fixed, but left stains in spots on the ceiling of my RV. How do I clean this?

Leave a Comment