How To Clean Car Seat Cover At Home
Today we will show you how to super clean your car seats. We will discuss how to clean very dirty seats and also regular dirty seats along with the leather covered ones. In that way we will cover the entire cleaning process. Let’s get started.
Regular Dirty Seats
First, before continuing with the blog, please note that you need some cleaning items to continue the process. We will try to keep it simple and use only common products.
Common things you’ll need is a vacuum cleaner, a brush set, a microfiber cleaning cloth, carpet and upholstery cleaner and for leather seats a leather cleaner and conditioner. It’s that simple
First let’s discuss cloth or fabric seat covers. There is a huge difference between cleaning a cloth seat and a leather seat and I want to talk about both. Leather seat cleaning will be discussed after cloth seats.
For a proper thorough cleaning it is advisable to remove the seats from the car first.
To start with, first disconnect the negative terminal of the battery. We want to do it for two reasons:
First, we will be keeping the doors open for an extended amount of time and we don't want to drain the battery.
Second, many seats have airbags in them. So, disconnect the battery and let it rest for around 20 minutes so that the capacitors are fully discharged and the airbags don’t get launched and cause accidents during removing the seats.
After 20 minutes, we are good to proceed to the next steps. Push the seat forward and remove the two screws from two sides. Then, push the seat backward and remove the other two screws on the sides.
Next, you have to angle your seat back so that you can get access to the bottom portion of the seat to disconnect any wires present.
Now, you can safely remove the seat. Make sure that you do not touch any metal surface on the car’s body as it may develop scratches. Also, don’t hit any interior panels with the seat.
Now the cleaning part. In the beginning, turn on the vacuum cleaner and try to suck out as much dirt as possible from the seats. Then, brush out the dirt from vacuum unreachable areas with a soft bristle brush. Never let your seat cover get too nasty as it will make the job harder. Regularly brush out the dust from your seat covers.
Do not use a hard bristle brush as it will damage the fabric and make the fibers frail.
Open the seams of the cover with your fingers to remove all the hidden debris. This prevents debris from getting embedded into the seat.
If you have spilled tea or cold drinks on your seat cover, blot the liquid with a clean microfiber towel and do not rub the towel as it will lead to penetration of the liquid.
If you have spilled food items or sauce then spray the area with a mild soap solution and wipe off with a microfiber towel. Remember the goal here is to soak the top layer while keeping the underlying cushion as dry as possible. So, do not oversaturate the soap solution. Also read ultimate guide to engine bay detailing.
How to clean stained seat covers?
Stains can be caused if you drop certain food items, sauce, tea or coffee or some chemicals. They look nasty and a passenger won’t develop a very positive attitude about you upon seeing them. It is always better to clean these off. For this you need cleaning solutions.
Now, take the carpet and upholstery cleaner and spray on the seat cover. Most cleaners will have a gap period of around 30s. So, wait 30 seconds or as mentioned on the can of your cleaner and then start brushing the seat cover. Many cleaners come with a brush head but those are generally hard bristle brushes for carpets. Don’t use them to brush your seat cover as they may damage seat covers and rip it off. You don’t want that.
On the stains you need to brush more thoroughly and may even need to apply the cleaner and brush a few times until you get the stain off. But for the rest of the seat cover, you can just wipe it off after spraying with a microfiber cloth. Cleaners dry really fast, so don’t delay in cleaning.
After getting over cleaning with the carpet cleaner, you can use the vacuum cleaner over the seat cover once again to get rid of any cleaner that is left on the seat. This may make the seat in a better position.
Super Dirty Seats
For super dirty seats, I will advise to first remove the seats from the car for a thorough cleaning. You can do the cleaning process without removing the seats from the car too but that may become a bit inconvenient.
Even these are super dirty but we will still start from the vacuum process. Vacuum won’t be enough to get out the dirt in this case. To loosen the dirt, brush out the dirty areas. On extreme dirty seats, brushing is very necessary and you need to brush for that extra cleaning. Brush the entire seat cover
Then spray with the carpet cleaner and brush properly. For seats this dirty you may want to use an extractor vacuum. For it to use, wet the seat by spraying water and extract all of it. Don’t rush this vacuum process as it won’t clean properly if you do. Slowly use the extractor vacuum over and over again. This will clean super dirty seats.
I’ll discuss how to clean really dirty leather seats which may have not been cleaned for years. Let’s jump right in
Leather seats are high maintenance seats and demand more attention than fabric or cloth seat covers. In most cases, the seats are coated. We will not be cleaning the leather but the coating. That is important to understand as that dictates what product you’re going to use. The products we will use are leather and vinyl applicable. So, we are going to take a leather and vinyl cleaner and a conditioner along with it as the coating is vinyl.
You’ve already known how to clean a seat. So, start by vacuum cleaning the seat. For leather this part is simple but it gets harder in between the stitches as leather seats are stitched tightly. You guessed it right. You’re going to need a brush to take those debris and dirt out from the stitches part. But, all dust may not come off, so put a bit of the vinyl cleaner in between the stitches and brush it out. Then get a microfiber towel and soak that up. And then finally finish the vacuum process.
A trick in the vacuum process is to use the tip of the vacuum in between the stitches as it will stretch the stitches a bit and get more dirt out.
You’ll notice the dirt in the towel from cleaning the crevices. Clean each stitched part carefully as they are the most hard to reach and a lot of dirt settles there. Cleaning the flat part is easy. But cleaning in between the stitches is hard.
Then for the flat surfaces, take the leather and vinyl cleaner on a microfiber towel and clean the surfaces with medium to high pressure. We are not using brushes unnecessarily on leather seats as they are more prone to getting ripped off if pricked.
After cleaning is done, we want to condition our seat as it will look a bit dull and is unprotected. Conditioning the seat cover will give a ;layer of protection to the seat covers against accidental liquid spills and your seat cover won’t develop a stain.
Now, you can apply the conditioner and buff it in and buff it out but I have an additional trick to make it so much better
For this trick you need a steamer. When you steam the seats, the heat opens up the pores a lot more and that will soak the conditioner much more and much deeper which will give you a way better result.
After steaming, dry the seat with a towel and you’ll feel that the seat is warm which denotes that the pores are open and it is the perfect time to apply the conditioner. Get the conditioner on your soft brush. Don’t be afraid that you may use more as you can’t really use too much. Apply the conditioner on all the areas of the seat cover and let it sit for about a minute.
After a minute, take a clean microfiber towel and buff the seat off. You’ll definitely notice the difference before and after applying the conditioner.
So, cleaning car seats is an easy DIY process which just needs cleaner sprays and some other things. That’s all. You can save a lot of money by cleaning the seat covers yourself and your pocket will thank you for that. You really don’t need dry cleaning for your seat covers anymore. Keep reading our blogs for more tips and tricks like this one. Also read fuel system cleaning.