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How To Clean Your Child's Car Seat

How To Clean Your Child's Car Seat

Posted in car seat

Little kids + car journeys = messy car seats. And no matter how quickly you clean them, they just get dirty again! That’s because your family lives a lot of life in your car. And, although you promised yourself you wouldn’t allow your kids to eat snacks in the backseat, they inevitably do. 


Eventually, your long-suffering car seats become a receptacle for crumbs, spilled milk, muddy footprints, spit-up and basically anything else. But stale food left in difficult-to-reach crevices or any liquid or wet food spillage – especially milk – soon starts to smell. By thoroughly cleaning your car seats – leather or cloth – you’ll make your car a more pleasant, odor-free place to be.


It’s a tedious task, but cleaning your car seats yourself is affordable and convenient – especially when children are ill or have an accident in the car and you need to clean up immediately. Here’s the PishPosh Baby guide to how to clean your car seats when the mess gets out of control.

How To Clean Car Seats

Whether your car seats are leather or cloth, your first step is to give them a vacuum with your upholstery or brush tool. 


You could drag out an extension cord and plug in your household vacuum for this or purchase a handheld cordless vacuum. A small car vacuum will be easy to maneuver around the tight spaces in your car. It will also come with a variety of attachments to get between the seats.


Next, use the crevice tool to reach crumbs, dirt, dust and any other debris stuck in your car's nooks and crannies, like between the seats. 

Side on shot of toddler in car seat.

Now vacuum the floor mats, carpet and dashboard.

Once you've vacuumed up every last stray Cheerio, you can clean your leather or cloth seats.

How To Clean Leather Car Seats

You’ll need leather cleaner and conditioner plus three soft, microfiber cloths.

  1. Dampen your first cloth. 
  2. Working on one small area at a time, smooth the cleaner into the seat.
  3. With another damp cloth, rinse until all the leather cleaner has come out.
  4. Buff with the third dry cloth. 
  5. Apply a protectant to make it easier to remove future stains. 

How To Clean Cloth Car Seats

You'll need an upholstery cleaner, a soft brush and two soft cloths.

  1. Spray on the upholstery cleaner.
  2. Work the cleaner into the seat with the soft brush.
  3. Let it sit according to the label's directions.
  4. Rinse with a dampened cloth. Reapply for stubborn stains.
  5. Blot dry with the second cloth.

How To Clean Your Child’s Car Seat

Address accidents like milk spillages, spit-up, urine or a diaper leak as soon as possible. If liquids are left to linger, they could weaken the straps. 

Refer to the car seat’s guidelines to select the right approach for tackling the mess. Each manufacturer will have a different set of instructions for cleaning, which must be followed. 

Some car seats, for example, have removable parts that can go in the washing machine. Others can’t, and some need to be washed without soap. Most car-seat covers aren’t dryer safe, either. 

Ignoring these guides could result in damage to the seat’s materials, which could compromise your child’s safety.

Protect your child’s car seat with the Britax Seat Saver Waterproof Lines. Designed with deep sides to contain liquids, crumbs, diaper leaks, potty training accidents and wet bathing suits, it’s made out of EZ-Dry wicking fabric to pull moisture away from your child and keep the seating area dry and comfortable.


Product image of Britax Grow With You Seat

Or choose the Britax Grow With You Clicktight Booster Seat. The car seat material is made of a four-way stretch athleisure easy-clean fabric.

How To Get Stains Out Of Car Seats

Whether it’s sweat, vomit, milk or something else, accidents happen. 

First, mop up excess fluids off your car’s carpet or upholstery as soon as possible with absorbent paper towels or a damp cloth.

Next, with a fresh damp cloth or towel blot the stain with an enzyme-based cleaner. Don’t rub, as rubbing can cause the liquid to penetrate further into the fabric. Your aim is to thoroughly flush the liquid from the fabric.

For set stains, try a steam cleaning tool or a high-powered wet and dry vacuum to break down the residue.

If you can’t spare the time, take your car to a professional cleaner to steam clean and deodorize the fabrics and carpets.

How To Keep Your Car Seats Cleaner For Longer

Families tend to clock up a lot of miles in their car, so it can be challenging to keep those seats as pristine as they were after you’ve cleaned them. Here’s how to keep your car seats cleaner for longer. 

  • Put protective car seat covers over seats and floor mats over the carpets.
  • Try not to let your child eat crumbly foods in the car! Give them a covered snack cup – we’re obsessed with the super-cute Mushie Silicone Snack Cup. The soft opening ensures your little one’s hands can slide easily in and out, while keeping food securely inside. 
Image of three toddlers on the beach smiling and using the Mushie Cup
  • Keep a cordless vacuum in your car to suck up crumbs there and then (or get your toddler to do it!).
  • Give your toddler a spill-proof sippy cup – we like the BEABA Stainless Steel Straw Sippy Cup
  • If your little one gets travel sickness, a large bib with a practical collection pocket, like the BIBS Overall Bib, can help catch the mess.


Product image of a yellow BIBS Overall Bib being worn by a smiley toddler

  • Clean up spills before they soak in with a small towel or baby wipes. Don’t use antibacterial wipes, which may contain chemicals that impact your child’s car seat straps or fabric.

Need some advice on cleaning your child’s car seat? We’re here to help. Contact PishPosh Baby’s friendly Customer Service team.

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