How to Remove Stains on Your Car Seat

Could your car seats use a little TLC? While it’s easy to give the dashboard, steering wheel, and handles a quick wipe over, cleaning your car seats can be a little more difficult. 

Over time, it’s easy for stains to develop on the upholstery of your vehicle. So, how can you remove these pesky stains when they do occur? Here, you’ll learn some of the best ways to clean fabric and leather car seats.

Removing stains from fabric car seats

Stains and spills can quickly embed themselves within fabric car seats. Like any type of stain, the sooner you clean it up, the easier it will be. 

The good news is there are a lot of different methods you can use to remove stains from fabric car seats. So, let’s look at some of the most effective ways you can try without delay.

Preclean the car

Before you go ahead and tackle the stain, you’ll want to make sure you preclean the car. This means giving it a vacuum, including going over the seats. Use a stiff vacuum brush attachment to remove any food, dirt, and other debris lurking in the fabric.

Try vinegar

If you don’t have any specialist cleaning solution to work with, vinegar is an excellent alternative. This powerful natural cleaning agent can be used to easily remove stains, though it can stink your car out if you aren’t careful.

To use this method effectively, mix one cup of vinegar with a gallon of hot water. Now, follow these steps:

Step 1: Apply the vinegar solution onto the stain and leave it to seep in.

Step 2: Scrub the stained area with a soft brush until the stain begins to disappear.

Step 3: Apply hot water to the area to wash out any excess vinegar.

Step 4: Eliminate excess moisture from the area with a microfiber cloth.Step 5: Open the car windows while the seats are drying to get rid of the vinegar smell.

Use laundry detergent

Laundry detergent can leave fabric car seats looking like new. However, you will need to be careful not to use too much detergent as it could saturate the seat. To do it correctly, follow these steps:

Step 1: Mix liquid or powder detergent in a bucket with warm water.

Step 2: Pour some of the solution onto the stained area and let it fully seep in.

Step 3: Scrub the area with a clean cloth until the stain fades.

Step 4: Run another clean cloth under cold water and wipe over the stained area to remove any excess solution.

Step 5: Leave your car windows open as you let the seat air dry.

The baking soda method

One of the cheapest ways to remove stains from car seats is to use baking soda. You’ll need an old toothbrush, and a small bowl to get started. Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Mix ¼ cup of baking soda with warm water in a small bowl until it forms a paste.

Step 2: Apply the paste to the stained area of the seat with your old toothbrush. Make sure you use circular motions as this will help the bristles of the toothbrush loosen up the stain.

Step 3: If the stain is old, leave the paste on for around 30 minutes before you attempt to scrub it off.

Step 4: Using a clean, damp cloth, gently wipe away any excess residue.

This is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways of cleaning up fabric stains.

Removing stains from leather car seats

If you are dealing with leather car seats, it can be a little trickier to remove stains. This is because car seats can be made from different types of leather and each one requires a different cleaning method. Leather is also much more absorbent than fabric, which means liquid will easily soak into it.

Here, you’ll discover some of the best ways to clean leather car seats to remove staining.

Cleaning leather car seats 

To clean stains off leather car seats, you will need:

  • Olive oil
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray bottle 
  • Microfiber cloth

There are other methods you can try, but this one is especially good at removing old, stubborn stains. To remove the stain, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Vacuum the seats to remove any loose dirt and debris.

Step 2: Take the spray bottle and add ¼ cup of vinegar, ½ cup olive oil, and top it up with water.

Step 3: Spray the solution onto the seat and leave it for around five minutes. Wipe off the solution with a clean, dry microfiber cloth. 

Another option is to use a specialist leather cleaner. These are often great at removing stains and are specifically designed for leather seats. This means you won’t need to worry about damage. 

The best way to clean stains on leather seating is to wipe them up quickly. However, if you do have a stubborn stain left over, the method above can help to eliminate it.

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