Comprehensive Guide About Cleaning Stains In Car Seats

Keeping the car interior clean is crucial to maintain its aesthetics and longevity. However, spills and stains are inevitable, especially on car seats, which tend to be a magnet for dirt, grime, and food particles. Eliminating stains can be tricky, but it’s possible with the right techniques and materials. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover effective ways about cleaning stains in car seats and restore their pristine look.

Cleaning Stains In Car Seats: Step-By-Step Guide

1) Vacuum the Upholstery

First step should always be to vacuum the upholstery thoroughly as it will help remove any loose dirt, debris or crumbs. Use a crevice tool to get into the gaps and corners where dirt and food bits can be lodged.

2) Apply a Vinegar Solution

Make a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Apply this solution to the stain using a clean cloth. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then blot the area with a dry cloth.

3) Spray Club Soda

Club soda is an excellent cleaner for light-colored car seats. Pour a small amount on the stain and let it soak for at least 15 minutes. Use a clean cloth to blot the area dry.

4) Steam Clean the Seat

A steam cleaner is an effective way to clean car seats. It can remove even stubborn stains. If you don’t have a steam cleaner, you can rent one from a local home improvement store.

5) Wash With Laundry Detergent

Prepare a solution of water and laundry detergent, using half a cup of detergent in one gallon of water, apply this solution to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Scrub the area thoroughly with a brush or sponge and rinse the seat with water.

6) Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is a powerful cleaner, and it can remove tough stains from car seats. Apply some baking soda to the stain and let it sit for about 30-45 minutes. Then, vacuum the excess baking soda and blot the area with a damp cloth.

7) Apply Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover can also be used for stubborn stains on your car seat. Apply a small amount to a cotton ball or a cloth and gently rub the stain. Rinse the seat thoroughly with water.

8) Try Out Store-Bought Solutions

There are a variety of stain removers available in the market that can work well on car seats. Choose a solution that is specifically designed to remove car seat stains.

9) Freeze Stubborn Materials Off

For gum that has stuck to your car seat, place a bag of ice over it for a few minutes. Once it hardens, remove it gently with a plastic scraper.

10) Turn to a Professional Auto Detailer

If none of the above methods work or if the stain is too stubborn and deep-set, it is best to turn to a professional auto detailer. They will have the right equipment, knowledge, and experience to remove tough stains from car seats.

Ways to Get Stains Out of Fabric Car Seats

It is no secret that car seats can get stained very easily, especially fabric car seats. However, there are quite a few methods to get those stubborn spots out of fabric car seats.

  1. One way to battle dirt and grime is by using a mixture of vinegar and baking soda.
  2. A second method that you can try is using a stain remover specifically formulated for car seats.
  3. You can also use a steam cleaner to blast away some of the gunk and stains from your car seats, making them look like new.
  4. Finally, regular vacuuming of your car seats can also go a long way in keeping them clean.

Best tips of removing tough stains out of cloth car seats

Dealing With Dirt and Spills on car seats and floor matts

Cloth car seats are prone to accumulating dirt and spills. To remove them, start by using a vacuum cleaner to suck up any loose dirt or debris on the seats and floor mats. Next, use a soft-bristled brush to sweep away any remaining dirt particles. For spills, try to clean them up immediately using a clean towel or cloth. Blot the spill, instead of rubbing it, to avoid spreading the stain.

Knowing the Type of Fabric Affects Maintenance

Different types of fabrics have different cleaning requirements. When cleaning your car seats, be sure to consult the owner’s manual for the car or the manufacturer’s instructions for the fabric. Some fabrics may require special care, such as requiring a specific cleaning agent. Knowing the type of fabric your car seats are made of can help you avoid using harsh cleaning agents that could potentially damage them.

Detail Quarterly

It is important to give your car seats a deep cleaning every once in a while. Plan to detail your car and clean the seats and floor mats quarterly or at least every six months. In addition to cleaning stains, a deep clean can help to keep your car smelling fresh and looking like new.

Best tips of cleaning leather car seats and removing stains

Work in Small Sections

If you’re dealing with leather car seats, begin cleaning them by wiping them down with a microfiber cloth to remove any light dust or debris. For heavier cleaning, work in small sections. Apply a leather cleaner to a soft-bristled brush and gently scrub the area in a circular motion. Then, wipe the area with a clean towel to remove any cleaning residue.

Avoid Leather-Damaging Chemicals

Not all cleaning agents are created equal. When cleaning leather car seats, avoid using any chemicals that could potentially damage or discolor the leather. This includes bleach, ammonia, and alcohol-based cleaners. Opt for a cleaner specifically designed for use on leather car seats and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Note Holes, Tears and Perforations

Many leather car seats have perforations, holes, or tears. Cleaning around these areas requires extra care. Be careful not to rub the cleaning solution into these areas, as it may damage them. Instead, use a soft-bristled brush or microfiber cloth to gently clean around them.

Use a Soft-Bristled Brush

When cleaning leather car seats, always use a soft-bristled brush. This will help you avoid scratching or damaging the leather. Choose a brush with bristles that are soft enough to gently clean without being too abrasive. If you’re unsure, test the brush on a small inconspicuous area before using it on the entire seat.

Never Let Cleaning Products Dry on Leather

Buffing and Drying

When it comes to cleaning your leather car seats, there are certain things you should avoid doing. One of the biggest mistakes people make is letting cleaning products dry on their leather seats. This can cause significant damage to your leather, such as cracking or discoloration. Instead, you should consider buffing and drying any cleaning products off your leather seats as quickly as possible. This can be done using a dry towel or rag. 

Treating Stains on Leather Seats

Buffing and drying your leather car seats is one way to maintain their appeal. Firstly, dust and dirt should be removed from the surface of the leather. Afterward, a damp cloth should be used to wipe down the leather. Once the cleaning product has been applied and worked into the seat, a clean rag should be used to buff and dry it off as quickly as possible. By buffing and drying, you can avoid any damage from cleaning products, helping your leather car seats stay in good condition.

Keeping Your Leather Seats in Good Condition

We have already discussed how important it is to avoid letting cleaning products dry on leather car seats. Whether it is a spill or a stain, all should be treated quickly to prevent any lasting damage. Some good home remedies include using a mixture of warm water and gentle soap or using a dry cloth with a small amount of rubbing alcohol.

Additionally, many car dealers sell leather cleaning kits that include a leather cleaner and conditioner. It is important to take note of the type of leather you are dealing with as certain cleaning products may work better or worse depending on the type of leather.

Cleaning Stains In Car Seats


Will baking soda get stains out of car seats?

Baking soda is an effective stain remover for car seats. It’s a natural deodorizer and absorber that can help lift stains and odors. You can mix baking soda with water to form a paste and apply it to the stain. Leave it for a few minutes, then rub it with a brush or cloth and vacuum the residue.

What is the best way to clean car seats?

The best way to clean car seats depends on the type of material. For leather seats, use a leather cleaner and conditioner that’s designed for automotive use. For fabric or cloth seats, vacuum the seats to remove loose dirt and debris, then use a cleaning solution with a soft brush to scrub the stains. After removing the stains, rinse with water and let the seats dry.

What do car detailers use to clean cloth seats?

Car detailers use various products to clean cloth seats, depending on the type and severity of the stain. They may use upholstery cleaners, stain removers, or enzyme-based cleaners that break down organic stains like food, urine, or vomit. Some detailers also use steam cleaners to penetrate deep into the fabric and extract dirt and grime.


Remember, regular cleaning can prevent the formation of stubborn stains. Furthermore, test any cleaning solution in a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t damage the car seats. With these tips and tricks, you can keep your car seats looking brand new for years to come.