Maintenance Tips, Tricks And Hacks For Your Vehicle

How To Clean Your Car Seats With Soap And Water

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I always wondered if I could clean my car seats with soap and water. I mean, it’s a pretty cheap solution, if it’s possible of course. So I tried it and:

I feel like this topic requires more than just a clarification that you can clean your seats with soap and water. Let me explain Why and How you can clean your car seats.

Key Takeaway

  • You can clean your cloth, vinyl, and leather car seats with soap and water without damaging them. If you have stains on your car seats you can add some baking soda. Make sure you choose a sunny day so your car seats will dry completely.
  • Cleaning your car seats is important as it not only improves the appearance and smell of the interior, but it also prevents excess wear and tear, eliminates harmful bacteria, increases driving safety, and helps retain the value of the car.

Why Is It Important To Clean Your Car Seats

Most vehicle owners take care of their price possessions. Some owners do it for the looks, some owners just hate germs. It doesn’t matter why they do it as long as they do it. Here are some reasons why you should keep your interior/car seats clean:

  1. There are twice as many bacteria on car seats than toilets: This information might come as a shock to you, but it’s true. All of us eat while driving. We drink fluids too. So, tiny pieces of food fall on the seats and just sit there. The University of Birmingham examined random car seats and found around 100 potentially dangerous bacteria as well as fungi. This is double the germs found on a toilet seat. Now, I know that we sit on the toilet seat with bare skin, therefore coming in direct contact with the bacteria, but some of us sit wear short pants/skirts while driving. Even wearing jeans is an issue. After driving you will sit on your couch and contaminate it.
  2. Allergies: There are many types of allergies, one of them being a dust allergy. Imagine picking up your friend/girlfriend who is allergic to dust. You will make them sick instantly.
  3. Retain Price Value: There will come a point in life when you will have to sell your car for whatever reason. A well-kept interior will only increase the price.

How To Clean Your Leather Car Seats

Here is how to clean leather car seats:

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Before you start the cleaning process, you’ll need to gather the following materials:

  • A bucket
  • Warm water
  • Mild dish soap
  • A soft-bristle brush or sponge
  • Clean, dry towels or microfiber cloths

These items are essential for a successful cleaning process. The soap will break down and lift dirt and stains, the brush or sponge will work the solution into the fabric, and the towels or cloths will be used to rinse and dry the seats.

Step 2: Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

Now that you have all your materials ready, it’s time to prepare your cleaning solution. Here’s how:

  1. Fill your bucket with warm water. The warmth of the water helps the soap dissolve more effectively and can also aid in breaking down dirt and grime.
  2. Add a few drops of mild dish soap to the water. Stir until it’s well mixed and sudsy. This soapy water solution is gentle enough not to harm your car seats but effective enough to clean them.

Step 3: Test the Solution

Before applying the cleaning solution to your entire seat, it’s wise to test it on a small, hidden area first:

  1. Dampen a corner of a cloth or sponge with the cleaning solution.
  2. Gently rub the solution onto a hidden part of the seat.
  3. Wait a few minutes, then wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth.

If the material reacts badly, changes color, or fades, you may need to try a different cleaning solution or method.

Step 4: Apply the Cleaning Solution

After testing the solution, you can proceed to clean your seats:

  1. Dip your brush or sponge into the soapy water.
  2. Gently scrub the seats, working in sections. This ensures you give every part of the seat the attention it needs.
  3. Be careful not to oversaturate the fabric. Too much water can soak into the cushion beneath, leading to potential issues with mold or mildew.

Step 5: Wipe and Rinse

Once you’ve scrubbed the seats, it’s time to rinse:

  1. Using a clean, damp cloth, wipe off the soap from the seats. This effectively “rinses” the area without introducing too much water.
  2. Ensure you remove all soap residue. Leftover soap can leave marks or stains when the fabric dries.

Step 6: Dry the Seats

Drying the seats is an important final step:

  1. Use dry towels or microfiber cloths to pat the seats dry. Absorb as much moisture as possible to help speed up the drying process.
  2. For faster drying, leave the car doors or windows open to allow for better air circulation.
  3. Avoid using the car until the seats are completely dry to prevent any potential water damage.

Step 7: Regular Maintenance

Maintaining the cleanliness of your car seats will make them last longer and look better:

  1. Make a habit of regularly cleaning your car seats with this soap and water method.
  2. If you notice a spill or stain, spot-clean it immediately to prevent it from setting in.

In conclusion, cleaning your car seats with soap and water is a straightforward process. By following these steps carefully, you can keep your car seats looking clean and fresh says Auto Detailing Pro.

Commercial Products For Cleaning Leather Seats

  • Meguiar’s Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner: Seems like all Meguiar’s products are a win-win. This product is created to be dirt fighting cleaner and moisturizer. I managed to clean my interior with one full bottle.
  • Chemical Guys Leather Conditioner and Cleaner: This product is a premium among ordinary off-the-shelf products. This is a great product for use in cheap and fine leather. I haven’t personally used this product, but a friend of mine recommended it to me.
  • Lexol Leather Cleaner and Conditioner Kit: This kit comes in 3 separate bottles, all with different tasks – Clean, condition, and protect. I have used this product and I am very satisfied with the results.
  • Leather Honey Leather Cleaner: This product is leather of all kinds. This cleaner is very strong to be used as is, which is why you will need to dilute it. Ratio: 4 oz cleaner with 28 oz water.

How To Clean Your Vinyl Car Seats

Here is how to clean your vinyl car seats:

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Begin by assembling the necessary cleaning supplies. You will need:

  • A bucket
  • Warm water
  • Mild laundry detergent or a dedicated vinyl cleaner
  • A soft-bristle brush or sponge
  • Clean, dry towels or microfiber cloths

These items will help you effectively clean your vinyl car seats without causing any damage.

Step 2: Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

Now, create your cleaning solution:

  1. Fill your bucket with warm water. The warmth helps to activate the soap and break down dirt.
  2. Add a capful of mild laundry detergent or follow the usage instructions on your dedicated vinyl cleaner. Stir until the soap is thoroughly mixed into the water.

Step 3: Test the Solution

Before applying the cleaning solution to all of your seats, test it on a small, hidden area first:

  1. Dampen a corner of a cloth or sponge with the cleaning solution.
  2. Gently rub the solution onto a hidden part of the seat.
  3. Wait for a few minutes, then wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth.

If the material changes color or appears damaged, you may need to try a different cleaning solution or method.

Step 4: Apply the Cleaning Solution

After testing, you can begin cleaning your seats:

  1. Dip your brush or sponge into the soapy water.
  2. Gently scrub the seats, working in sections. This ensures you give every part of the seat the attention it needs.
  3. Be careful not to oversaturate the vinyl as too much water could seep into any seams or cracks and cause damage.

Step 5: Wipe and Rinse

After scrubbing the seats, you’ll need to rinse them:

  1. Using a clean, damp cloth, wipe off the soap from the seats. This effectively “rinses” the area without soaking the vinyl.
  2. Make sure to remove all soap residue as leftover soap can leave marks or stains when the vinyl dries.

Step 6: Dry the Seats

Drying the seats is an essential final step:

  1. Use dry towels or microfiber cloths to pat the seats dry. Absorb as much moisture as possible to prevent any potential water damage.
  2. For faster drying, leave the car doors or windows open to allow for better air circulation.
  3. Avoid using the car until the seats are completely dry.

Step 7: Regular Maintenance

Maintaining the cleanliness of your vinyl car seats will keep them looking their best:

  1. Regularly clean your vinyl car seats with this soap and water method.
  2. If you notice a spill or stain, spot-clean it immediately to prevent it from setting in.

In conclusion, cleaning your vinyl car seats with soap and water is a simple and effective process. By following these steps carefully, you can ensure your seats remain clean and well-maintained.

Commercial Products For Cleaning Vinyl Seats

  • KevianClean Interior: This is a 3in1 product. It cleans, conditions, and polishes. Provides UV protection and can be used for cars, trucks, boats & RV’s. The good thing is that it has no toxic fumes or chemical irritants.
  • CarGuys Super Cleaner: This product does a great job. Can be used to clean stains and condition your seats.
  • 303: Brightens surfaces and keeps them looking like new. Provides superior UV protection, repels dust, and cleans stains.

How To Clean Your Cloth Car Seats

There is no need to take your car to get detailed. You can clean your cloth seats by yourself. Just follow these steps:

  1. Vacuum: First, start with a vacuum. Remove all the debris and dirt. Make sure you vacuum them good.
  2. Spray a cleaning solution: Use a cloth cleaning product. Avoid using an all-purpose cleaner. Try not to over-spray your seats. 4-5 sprays are enough.
  3. Brush: Make sure you start brushing immediately after spraying with the cleaning solution. Please use a soft stiff interior brush.
  4. Wipe: Use a microfiber towel to wipe the seats after brushing them.
  5. Repeat: Repeat the cleaning process until you get the results you want.
  6. Vacuum: After completing all the tasks, make sure you vacuum the seats again. Leave the seats to dry if needed.

Commercial Products For Cleaning Cloth Seats

  • Meguiar’s G9719 Cleaner: This is one of the best cleaners on the market. Removes stains and bad smells. All you have to do is spray the seats and wait for 10 minutes. After, brush your seats and then vacuum them.
  • Turtle Wax T440r2W: Turtle Wax contains a triple-action formula. It can clean stains from coffee, ketchup, and oil. The product comes with a microfiber towel to wipe the seats after applying the cleaning solution.
  • Mothers 05424 Cleaner: This product is perfect for all car fabric. It has a pH-balanced formula which means that it will not discolor your seats.

How To Clean Your Child’s Car Seat

First things first. If you have a children’s car seat made before the year 2000, do not use it. Children’s car seats have a lifespan of 10-15 years. There is actually an expiration date on the manual that comes with the seat. Make sure you are cleaning the seat at least once a month. Here is how:

  1. Vacuum the car seat thoroughly.
  2. Remove the cover and wash it in your clothes washer.
  3. Use a detergent that you usually use for your child’s clothes.
  4. Air-dry the seat. Do not expose it to direct sunlight.
  5. Vacuum it once again, and then wipe it with a baby wipe.
  6. Try doing this at least once a month.

FAQs

Can I use soap and water on car seats?

Yes, you can use soap and water to clean car seats. This method is particularly effective for cloth and vinyl seats. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to maintain the cleanliness of your car’s interior.

Can you use hand soap on car seats?

Yes, you can use hand soap to clean car seats. Hand soap is often milder than other types of soap and can effectively remove dirt and stains from both cloth and vinyl car seats.

Is it OK to shampoo car seats?

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to shampoo car seats, especially if they’re made of cloth or fabric. Shampooing can help remove deep-seated dirt, stains, and unpleasant odors that regular vacuuming or wiping can’t eliminate.

Can I spray a car seat with water?

Yes, you can spray a car seat with water, but it should be done with caution. Spraying a car seat with water can help in the cleaning process, especially when combined with a mild soap or a specialized car upholstery cleaner. It can assist in removing stains and dirt from the fabric.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, cleaning your car seats with soap and water is a simple, cost-effective method that can be done with common household items.

Whether your seats are made of cloth, vinyl, or leather, this method can help you maintain the cleanliness and longevity of your car’s interior.

It’s important to remember not to oversaturate the seats with water and to thoroughly dry them afterward to prevent mildew and other damage.

Regular maintenance and immediate spot cleaning of spills will keep your car seats looking their best for years to come.

MECHANIC APPROVED

✔️ REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Vide Polowenski, Senior Mechanic

The information in this article is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest mechanic SOPs.

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