mycar Weekend 28 February 2022

How to clean your car seats

 

From general dust and dirt to crumbs to that takeaway lunch you munched on the go, car seats can gather a lot of grime. Regular cleaning can keep seats fresh and prevent stains building up. Plus, when it comes to leather seats, it will also keep the material in good condition and stop cracks and splits developing. With a few simple tools and cleaning solutions, it’s easy to clean your car seats at home.

How to clean leather car seats

Leather takes a bit of TLC to keep it looking great and feeling plush. For regular upkeep, you can use leather wipes to remove dirt and apply conditioning oils in one easy step. Aim to give your seats a wipe every month or so. Your seats will also benefit from being treated to a deeper clean every 3-6 months. Follow these steps to bring out the best in your leather car seats:

  • Vacuum thoroughly to get rid of loose dirt and debris.
  • Use a soft cloth to apply a leather cleaning solution – you can buy a specialty cleaning product, or make your own using five parts warm water to one part mild detergent (try dishwashing liquid or castile soap). You can also use a 50/50 water and vinegar solution, with a few squirts of dishwashing liquid (always spot check a solution on a non visible part of the seat first).
  • Gently wipe clean with a damp microfibre cloth.
  • Buff dry with another cloth.
  • Apply leather conditioner to keep leather soft and supple, prevent cracks and reduce the risk of staining from dirt and spills.

How to clean fabric car seats

The first step when cleaning fabric car seats is to grab the vacuum and suck up all loose dirt and crumbs. The last thing you want is to be scrubbing loose material back into the seat! Then you will need a few basic supplies to get started on the real dirty work:

  • Soft or medium-bristle scrubbing brush (a stiff carpet brush may damage the fabric fibres)
  • Microfibre cloths
  • A bucket of clean water for rinsing

When it comes to cleaning solutions, you have a few options at your disposal. There are specialty car cleaning products you can buy, but for a cheaper and more eco-friendly option, you may like to try out some solutions with ingredients from around your home (always spot check a solution on a non visible part of the seat first). Just be sure to apply a minimal amount of liquid to the seat – if the foam underneath becomes drenched, it can develop mould issues and start to smell.

  • Mix laundry detergent into a bucket of hot water and rub down the seat. Use a clean cloth with cold water to wipe up the dirt.
  • Add 1 cup of vinegar to 4 litres of water, with a couple of squirts of dishwashing liquid for good measure. Use a clean towel to dab onto stained areas, then scrub with the brush. Blot up the liquid and dirty suds with a clean cloth.
  • Bicarb soda is a great one for eliminating odours and can be left for up to half an hour to remove stains. Mix ¼ cup of bicarbonate soda with 1 cup of warm water and gently scrub in with your brush.
  • Soda water is the simplest solution of all: spray onto stained areas, scrub with a brush, then wipe up excess moisture with a cloth.

After you have scrubbed and wiped, get the vacuum again and go back over the seat carefully. This helps to air it out and ensure it dries thoroughly.

Keep your car seats in top condition

Clean car seats don't have to be difficult or expensive to achieve. Keep up a regular cleaning schedule, and your car seats will stay in top condition – meaning a more comfortable ride for you, and appealing to buyers if you decide to sell your car down the track.

Does something seem wrong with your car that isn’t car seat related? Speak to your local mycar mechanic today.

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