Regardless of how careful you might be, spills happen in the car and often leave behind unsightly stains on a car’s interior. The only sure-fire method to prevent spills and stains is not to bring anything in your vehicle, but realistically that is not going to happen as we enjoy a nice drink or a quick snack as we run our errands. Rather than forbid food and beverages in your car, you need to learn how to get stains out of car seats.
There are several household products available to use for car seat stain removal, and if you don’t have the items on hand, they are easy to find in your local grocery stores. When it comes to learning how to remove stains from car seats, the most important thing is what kind of seats you are cleaning.
Stain removal techniques vary based on whether your car has cloth or leather seats. The reason is that not all products work the same way on leather as they do on cloth, so not all household products are safe to use on all car seats.
- Best Cleaning Solutions for Car Seat Stains
Best Cleaning Solutions for Car Seat Stains
Using seat covers in your car is a great way to prevent stains on your car seats, but their protection is not guaranteed. Upholstery cleaning is a part of routine car washing, but if you don’t want to tackle it yourself, there are car detailers who will do it for you.
How to Get Stains Out of Car Seats
Before you attempt to remove stains from your car seats, vacuum your upholstery using an attachment with stiff bristles. Vacuuming allows you to remove loose debris, including food and dirt, as well as loosen help anything stuck on.
Add vinegar, water, liquid dish soap, and essential oil if desired to a spray bottle. Secure spray bottle with lid and shake to mix. Generously spray the stain and then blot the stain away with a clean cloth to deep clean car seats.
Do not scrub as that spreads the stain over a larger area. Dab from the outside inward to take care of stains. Leather and vinyl upholstery leave no trace of the stain remover behind. Once the stain disappears, dry with a microfiber towel.
Watermarks often appear on cloth seats after cleaning. To reduce watermarks, blot up as much excess liquid possible with an old towel. Allow the fabric to dry with the windows open.
Best Car Stain Remover to Clean Car Upholstery
This recipe is the best cleaning solution for car upholstery as it combines the cleaning power of club soda and vinegar with the stain-fighting power of Dawn dish soap. Use this car upholstery cleaner for those stubborn stains and built-up grime found underneath children’s car seats.
Mix white vinegar, club soda, and dish soap inside the spray bottle. Shake or swirl the ingredients before each use. Vacuum the car’s seats to pick up any loose dirt or debris and scrape away anything crusted on.
Generously spray the car’s upholstery with the stain remover, allowing it to soak for up to ten minutes. Use a scrub brush to scrub stains in a circular motion. The stains should disappear as you rub. Leave the stain remover to dry overnight.
If stains are present the next morning, respray and scrub with your scrub brush again. Use a handheld carpet cleaner or a bucket of warm water and a clean scrub brush to rinse away the stain remover. A handheld carpet cleaner sucks up excess liquid as you rinse.
Dip the brush into the bucket with a warm water and a clean scrub brush and rinse the area. Rinse the brush in the bucket and repeat. A wet washcloth or a spray bottle filled with hot water also works to clean the stain remover residue away.
Don’t forget about the seat belts! The best way to clean seat belts is to spritz the cleaner on one side and remove stains there, then go to the back side and do the same thing to ensure you remove all debris.
How to Remove Stains From Car Seats
This stain removal method uses a stain remover followed by homemade car wash soap with vinegar to remove stains effectively. The baking soda stain remover works to penetrate stubborn stains, while the car wash soap works to clean everything.
To make this simple but quite effective DIY fabric cleaner for car seats, mix one cup of lukewarm water with the baking soda in a bowl. Use an old toothbrush to apply the baking soda solution to the stains by scrubbing gently. Allow the solution to soak into the blemishes for 30 minutes.
Baking soda is the perfect way to remove coffee stains, as well as red stains like ketchup. While the baking soda solution soaks, mix warm water, two squirts dish soap, and vinegar inside a spray bottle. Swirl to mix the ingredients and allow it to sit undisturbed for five minutes.
Use an old towel or rag to blot up the baking soda solution. Make sure you are blotting up as much excess liquid as possible to make the next step easier. Generously spray the upholstery with the vinegar cleaning solution. Start by spraying the front seats and working your way towards the back seats.
Use a stiff brush to scrub the vinegar solution into the car seats in a circular motion. Allow everything to soak for 15 minutes and then blot up excess liquid with a dry towel. Leave windows down or doors open to allow everything to dry and air out.
Best Way to Clean Leather Seats
Cleaning leather seats is different than cloth seats due to the quality of the material. The higher quality material requires a little extra care; it is also easily damaged. For spills and stains on leather seats, there are several household products from which to choose. After cleaning, apply a leather conditioner.
The first stain removal method to try is rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover on a cotton ball. Dab the wet cotton ball on the stain until gone. Wash residue away with some warm, soapy water.
If this method doesn’t work, try dabbing a small amount of non-gel toothpaste directly on the stain and then gently scrub it with a toothbrush. Rinse toothpaste away with cold water. For extremely stubborn stains on leather seats, make a paste out of lemon juice and cream of tartar.
Apply to the area and allow it to sit for 30 minutes untouched. Wipe away the paste and the stain with a damp sponge. This paste will cause a bleaching effect, so use cautiously and only on lighter colored seats.
Get Rid of Grease Stains From Car Interior
To clean car seats, begin by scraping off as much excess oil and grease as possible. Use a butter knife, spoon, or paint scraper, but scrape carefully so as not to tear or rip your seat.
Blot up any excess oil or grease residue with a paper towel. Follow the same procedure to remove mud stains from car seats or the floor and car mats.
Sprinkle the stain with baking soda to soak up the oily residue left behind. Allow the baking soda powder to sit on the oil stain for at least ten minutes, but 15 minutes is better.
Clean up the baking soda with a vacuum cleaner or sweep it away. For more significant stains, repeat the baking soda step several times. To clean the remaining parts of the stain, use a dry cleaning solvent or a degreaser cleaning product.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label for any commercial cleaning product you use. For degreasers, Dawn dish soap is often more than enough to break up the stains, but Goo Gone is another useful product. These products are also safe to use on the carpeting of your car.
Remove Grease or Oil Stains From Leather
Scrape and blot away as much of the grease and oil as you can before you clean up. Create a degreasing solution by mixing dish detergent and warm water. Agitate the products to create plenty of bubbles.
Dip a microfiber towel into the degreasing solution and gently scrub the stain. If leather begins to change color, stop rubbing, and allow the area to dry before proceeding. You can also make a citrus-based cleaner using vinegar, water, and lime or lemon juice.
Dip a towel in distilled water and wipe away the cleaner residue. Distilled water is recommended, but tap water is suitable. Ensure all soap or cleaning residue is removed.
Best Grease Remover for Leather Seats
Sometimes degreasers alone are not enough for your leather car seats. If your degreasing solution wasn’t powerful enough to cut through the stain or if your car requires deodorizing in addition to stain removal, try using this baking soda paste cleaner.
Mix baking soda, flour, sea salt, and warm water to form a paste. Apply with a microfiber towel and gently rub it into the spot. Toothbrushes work well for smaller spots or crevices. Rinse the paste away with a rag dipped in clean water. Repeat these steps until the stain is gone.
Thank you for reading our ideas on how to remove stains from car seats. If you found any of our car seat cleaning tips and recipes helpful, please take the time to share how to get stains out of car seats with others on Facebook and Pinterest.