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September 16, 2016

Dirty Car Upholstery? Clean It in 4 Steps

Your car is essential. It gets you to work, the grocery store, doctor's appointments, and wherever else you need to go. If you have kids, you probably use your car even more often as you drive them to all of their school events and activities.

As great as your car is, with all this running around, it can get dirty quickly, especially if you have pets or kids. You may not love sitting on a grease-covered seat multiple times every day. If you need to give your car's fabric-upholstered seats a good cleaning, keep reading. This blog can teach you how to do the job.

1. Prepare

First, pick a warm, sunny day to wash your seats. That way, the sun will dry the seats for you when you're done cleaning. Next, clean out your car. If you have booster seats, papers, or other objects laying around on the seats, get rid of them so that you can get your work done.

Before washing the seats, you'll need to remove any debris, like hair, crumbs, and lint. A vacuum is the best tool for the job. Use a handheld vacuum or a hose-and-brush attachment on your regular vacuum. Make sure to get into the cracks so that nothing gets left behind.

2. Find or Make a Cleaning Solution

You have several options for what to use to clean the fabric. You can always buy a product specifically made for cleaning fabric, or you can make your own solution. Be warned that while making your own solution is cheaper, it may not be as strong as a store-bought cleaner, though most car seats will not need harsh chemicals anyway.

If you want to make your own fabric cleaner, you have several options. Basically, you need to make a soap and water solution. People have had success with dish soap, laundry detergent, and even shaved pieces from a bar of hand soap. Whichever kind of soap you use, mix it with hot water. Use about a tablespoon of soap per cup of water.

Put whatever solution you buy or make in a spray bottle. Before you start cleaning, spray a little bit on an inconspicuous piece of upholstery so you can see if it will discolor or damage your car seat. If it looks okay, you can move on to the next step.

3. Spray and Scrub

Spray down whichever seat you want to start cleaning first. However, don't be too enthusiastic-if the seat gets soaked, it may get moldy. You don't want to wet the seat through. Just get the top layer of cloth wet.

Once you've finished spraying, grab a scrubbing brush with soft bristles. Don't grab a stiff one, or you could hurt your upholstery. Using short strokes, scrub the car seat, focusing on any areas that are particularly stained or dirty.

The soap and dirt will bubble up as you scrub. Use a wet microfiber rag or towel to wipe off the grime and rinse the area, then use a clean, dry microfiber towel to wipe off any extra water. Once you've finished the seat you started with, you can spray and scrub the next one.

4. Let It Dry

Once you've finished scrubbing and wiping your seats, they will still be damp. This dampness is fine-- after all, you picked a sunny day to do this chore, remember? Just leave your windows down and let the sun do its job.


If you take the time to clean your car's seats, you'll have a much more enjoyable time driving. To learn more about taking care of your car so that it stays in great shape, read more of our blog posts.