The seats in your car can go through a lot of use and accumulate dirt over time, and this is especially true if you have children and dogs. Keeping your vehicle clean goes beyond washing the car windows at the gas station and taking it to the car wash. Learn how to steam clean car seats to keep them looking their best.
The average person spends over eight hours of their time each week in their vehicle. It’s no wonder that car seats need regular deep cleaning. We shake out the floor mats and wipe the dust off the dashboard, but we often overlook car seats when it comes to cleaning.
Part of the reason that car seats are the last thing to take care of is that they can look deceivingly clean, but you’d be surprised at how much grime gathers in the upholstery. Another reason is that cleaning car upholstery is a challenge due to the confines of the vehicle. Fortunately, steam cleaners are an excellent tool to clean car upholstery.
- Steam Cleaning Car Seats
- Before You Steam Clean Your Car
- Pre-Treating Car Seat Stains Before Steam Cleaning
- Steam Clean Car Interior with the Right Equipment
- Pre-Condition Car Seats Before Steam Cleaning
- Easiest Way to Steam Clean Car Upholstery
- Steam Cleaning Car Upholstery using Club Soda
- Using Vinegar to Steam Clean Car Seats
- How to Steam Clean Leather Car Seats
- Conditioning Leather Car Seats after Steam Cleaning
- Make a Homemade Steam Cleaner Solution
- Using a Steam Cleaner to Remove Upholstery Stains
- Removing Grease and Oil Upholstery Stains with a Steam Cleaner
Steam Cleaning Car Seats
It’s easy to clean leather, suede, and fabric seats if you use the right type of steam cleaner. It’s not necessary to take your car to a detailer. Remove dirt, grime, and stains without using harsh chemicals using simple cleaning solutions and techniques.
Before You Steam Clean Your Car
Before steam cleaning your car’s seats, use a vacuum cleaner to remove any dirt, sand, and road salt. Doing this makes cleaning easier and prevents the steam cleaner from getting clogged.
Vacuuming Car Seats
Use the brush attachment on the vacuum to suck away loose particles, hair, and other debris from the seat portion and the backrest of car seats. Use the crevice tool to get into small cracks and hard to reach areas.
This is also an excellent opportunity to remove dirt from the rest of the car interior, including the headliner and cup holders. Clean carpets with a carpet cleaner and wash the windows with a squeegee. This way, you have a clean car from top to bottom.
Pre-Treating Car Seat Stains Before Steam Cleaning
While steam cleaners are great at cleaning cloth seats and leather, they do have their limits when it comes to tough stains. Before car steam cleaning, pre-treat any old stains using an upholstery cleaner or a combination of baking soda and water.
Combine the baking soda and water in a small bowl and dip the head of the toothbrush into the solution. Apply the cleaner to the stained areas of the car seat and scrub away the stain using a circular motion. Allow the spot to dry and use a paper towel to brush away the dried baking soda residue.
Steam Clean Car Interior with the Right Equipment
To steam clean car interior, choose the right type of steam cleaner for car detailing. There are various models and manufacturers, including Dupray and Bissell, and they are each designed for specific cleaning jobs. A variety of attachments are available for steam cleaners that make the job of cleaning a car seat easier.
Steam Cleaner Equipment
Consider the weight and size of the steam cleaner when using it to clean the upholstery in your car. There are three popular types of steam cleaners on the market.
A cylinder steam cleaner has a large water tank and is useful for cleaning large areas. Vapor steam cleaners provide a “dry” clean by using high levels of heat to prevent leaving too much water behind. Handheld cleaners are compact and affordable and are the best steam cleaners for use in the car due to their size.
When choosing a steam cleaner to clean car seats, it’s vital to look at the types of attachments it has. Make sure the cleaner has a triangular brush attachment, which agitates the upholstery fibers to lift out dirt that the steam loosens.
Pre-Condition Car Seats Before Steam Cleaning
If the car seats are excessively dirty or stained, pre-conditioning them before steam cleaning ensures proper cleaning of the upholstery. This pre-treatment cleaner contains the cleaning power of vinegar and is safe to use on both fabric and leather car seats.
Pour a cup of vinegar into a bottle and add the water. Shake the two ingredients and spray the solution lightly onto the heavily soiled or stained area of the car upholstery.
Use a cloth to clean the spot using a circular motion. For stubborn stains, reapply the spray and continue cleaning until the cloth pulls up all of the dirt and grime. Use a clean cloth to dry the seat.
Easiest Way to Steam Clean Car Upholstery
A steam cleaner is an excellent tool for car cleaning because you do not need heavy duty cleaning agents to clean away salt stains, dirt, and grime. Here is the best way to steam clean car upholstery using the power of hot water steam.
Basic Car Seat Steam Cleaning
Follow the instructions on the model of your steam cleaner. Use the triangular brush attachment to make overlapping passes on the lower portion of the seat.
Repeat the process on the backrest, sides, and rear of the car seat. While steam cleaning does not leave a lot of water residue behind, we advise opening the windows to help the material dry faster.
Steam Cleaning Car Upholstery using Club Soda
Heavily soiled car seats need an extra boost of cleaning to remove dirt when plain steam doesn’t do the job. Making a homemade cleaner for fabric car seats not only removes tough stains and dirt but saves you money, as well.
Combine club soda and white vinegar in a spray bottle and add the dish soap. Shake the bottle gently to mix. Spray the solution onto the lower part of the car seat, making sure that you spray all areas evenly without saturating the material.
Use the handheld attachment on your cleaner to make overlapping passes on the seat upholstery to suck up the loosened grime. Repeat the same process on the backrest of the car seat and open the windows to speed up the drying process.
Using Vinegar to Steam Clean Car Seats
A vinegar solution is a great alternative to clean car seat stains if plain steam isn’t doing the job. The acidity of white vinegar loosens the build-up of grease and dirt particles, making it easier to suck away from the upholstery.
Fill a bottle with warm water and vinegar and add the dish detergent. Shake the bottle gently to avoid making the solution sudsy. Spray the vinegar cleaner onto the lower and upper portion of the car seat in a uniform layer without saturating.
Use the upholstery attachment of the steam cleaner to make overlapping passes on the upholstery to suck away the dirty cleaning solution. Repeat the process on each seat of the car and open the windows to encourage drying.
How to Steam Clean Leather Car Seats
Spot cleaning leather car seats with soap and water works well for small areas, while a steam cleaner cleans the car seats from top to bottom and conditions them, as well. The important thing is to use the right tools to prevent damaging the leather.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the model of your steam cleaner to prepare for cleaning. Attach the brush attachment to the cleaner and wrap the end with a microfiber cloth to protect the leather material from the scrubbing brush bristles.
Make overlapping passes on the backrest of the seat to loosen dirt particles with steam while the cloth gently wipes it away. Repeat the same process on the lower seat portion.
Conditioning Leather Car Seats after Steam Cleaning
Over time, leather loses its moisture and dries out. After cleaning leather car seats, conditioning them ensures that the leather material stays soft.
Combine linseed oil and vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the conditioner evenly onto the leather upholstery. Use a microfiber cloth to rub the conditioner into the material using a circular motion. After conditioning the seats, buff the leather with a clean cloth.
Make a Homemade Steam Cleaner Solution
Many steam cleaner models allow the addition of a cleaning solution as an alternative to plain water. Check the instruction manual of your steam cleaner before using this method.
Fill the steam cleaner water tank halfway with water and add the vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and clear dish soap. Secure the tank cap into place and gently shake to mix. Open the windows of your car for ventilation and faster drying.
Make overlapping passes on both the back and seat areas of the fabric with the triangular brush attachment on the steam cleaner. Use consistent and steady movement to ensure proper cleaning. Repeat the same process on each car seat.
Using a Steam Cleaner to Remove Upholstery Stains
Removing stains without having to clean the entire seat of your vehicle is simple. All you need is a steam cleaner with an upholstery attachment and a few minutes of your time.
If the stain is new, use a paper towel to blot as much of the stain away as possible without spreading it. Get a clean cloth wet with water and dab at the stain and then sprinkle baking soda over the area to help pull out more of the stain before steaming.
After 15 minutes, use a vacuum cleaner attachment to suck away the dirty baking soda. Finish up by using the triangular brush attachment of the steam cleaner to steam away any leftover stain residue.
Removing Grease and Oil Upholstery Stains with a Steam Cleaner
Use a steam cleaner to remove sticky residue such as grease and oil from your vehicle’s car seat. To get sticky substances such as gum out of a fabric car seat, use ice and vinegar.
Pour the white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the solution directly onto the grease or stained oil area of the car seat. The vinegar is acidic and breaks up the greasy residue, making it easier to clean.
Use the triangular attachment of the steam cleaner to clean the stained area by making on a pass in a side to side motion followed by a second pass in a front to back motion.
As much time as you spend in your car, you deserve to have it comfortable and clean for the best driving experience. While it may seem like a difficult task with its confined space and cramped corners, cleaning the seats of your vehicle is best accomplished using a steam cleaner.
Use the right cleaning solution and upholstery shampoo to clean away months and years of accumulated dirt to make your car look like new again.
Now that you know how to steam clean car seats to remove dirt, grime, and stains, why not share our car seat cleaning tips with your friends and family on Facebook and Pinterest?