Car seats, like all other types of upholstery, can become marred over time due to extended use. Dirty and worn car seats can ruin the appearance of the interior of your vehicle and can also contribute to an unpleasant smell. Thankfully, cleaning car seats is a fairly simple process that doesn't require any specialized tools or materials.
You should gather what you'll need before you get started to ensure that the cleaning process is as fast and straightforward as possible.
You'll need two spray bottles, cleaning detergent, vinegar, and a soft, lint-free rag. All of these items can be found at most hardware stores if you don't already have them at home.
If you have leather car seats, you'll need a vacuum cleaner and specialized leather cleaning products, which can be found at most automotive supply stores.
For general cleaning on non-leather seats, combine a mixture of warm water and two teaspoons of detergent in a spray bottle. Then, take the second spray bottle and fill it up with warm water by itself.
Simply spray the detergent on the car seats and let it sit for a few moments. Then, use the rag to rub the car seats clean in a circular manner – this helps prevents staining and streaking on the surface of the seats. Then, take the spray bottle with only water in it and spray that on the seats as well. This will dilute any remaining detergent on the seat and prevent it from causing damage to the material of your seats. Just let the water air dry before driving.
In order to remove smells from your vehicle, you can make use of a mixture of warm water and vinegar instead of cleaning detergent. This is because vinegar is naturally acidic and will cut through the organic matter and bacteria that is attached to food particles on your seats that are contributing to the smell. Simply spray the solution on the seats, let it sit for a few minutes, scrub with the rag and then rinse with warm water.
Cleaning Leather Seats
For leather car seats, it's a little more complicated. You'll want to vacuum the car seats thoroughly first to prevent any debris or materials from disrupting the cleaning materials.
Then, follow the directions on the side of the leather cleaning product. It varies depending on the manufacturer and type of cleaner, but most simply have you rub it into the leather in a circular manner, similar to how you would polish a shoe.
Then, use a wet rag to wipe off the cleaning material, and allow the seats to dry before sitting on them.