As per a study by Fatherly, Americans spend an average of one hour in their cars daily. Whether you’re running errands or travelling, the cabin can get quite dirty no matter what you’re doing. Leaves, dust, road chemicals, and so much more get in, including food and drinks. It is a famous saying that the seats in cars take a lot of abuse since they serve as mobile workstations, dining areas, and so on. Even more, dirt can accumulate in your car if you have young children in separate seats.

You do not have to hire a professional car detailer or use a car seat cleaning company to get rid of stains. It’s possible to make your car seats look brand new with some know-how, which we will provide you with if you’re willing to put in a little effort.

13 Simple Ways to Remove Deep Stains from Car Seats

How to remove deep stains from car seats


You can only remove deep stains from your car seats by regularly cleaning them and preventing them from recurring. If your car seats are leather or fabric, you may need a different cleaning solution, but the basic procedure is the same regardless of cleaning a child’s car seat. No matter what type of surface your car seat has, you can apply these methods for car seat cleaning.

Tools and supplies you will require:

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Spray bottle
  • Brush for scrubbing
  • Brush set
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Baking Soda (Optional)

Step 1 – Use the vacuum cleaner

How to remove deep stains from car seats

Starting with a thorough vacuuming of the entire seat surface is a good idea, whether it has fabric or cloth. In the case of infant car seats, this step is doubly important since babies are prone to dropping everything. To have better access to the child’s car seat, take it out of the car. Dust, pet hair, debris, and other items that shouldn’t be on the car seat are vacuumed away. Remove all the debris from car seats and pockets by using a crevice tool with an extended nozzle. Cleaning child car seats will be more accessible if you have a handheld vacuum. Cleaning leather seats without vacuuming first can leave crumbs and other debris behind.


In order to collect as much dust as possible, follow seams and crevices with the vacuum attachment. As soon as you have vacuumed, check to ensure there is no excessive dirt left on the car seats. If so, vacuum again. Wipe the seat surface clean with a microfiber cloth once you have finished. To deep clean cloth seats, brush the fibers with an upholstery brush.

Here are the top vacuum cleaners for detailing your car.

Step 2 – Pre-treat stains on seats

How to remove deep stains from car seats

If your stains are particularly stubborn, pay special attention to this step. Pre-treatment is crucial for thoroughly removing stains—pre-treat stains with a mild solution. First, try a household solution before using a commercial one. Avoid chemicals as much as possible. It’s always a good idea to test any cleaning solution in a small area before using it. Upon seeing discoloration or other indications of degradation, stop using the solution and choose another. Never apply the solution directly to car seats; always apply it to the rage first. Let the solution sit for 10 minutes to work its magic.


Typically, to remove stains caused by mud, grease, and food, scrub the affected area with a scrub brush and let it sit for 10 minutes. For dye-based stains, solutions must sit for at least 1 hour. Vacuum or wipe away the solution after that time. Use a spray bottle to mix a commercial cleaning solution with warm water. Apply stain remover according to package directions. Spraying cleaning solutions on stains is the best way to prevent oversaturation of stains. Scrub the surface lightly with a scrub brush.

Step 3 – Clean the car seats.

Steam the car seats to remove dirt. Start at the top of the car seat and move from left to right quickly. You can always repeat this process if an area is excessively dirty. After steaming, use a shampooer to finish the cleaning, following the same steps as steaming. Similarly to pre-stain treatments, the shampooer should use a mild solution.

Pro Tip:

For stubborn stains, repeat steaming and shampooing as necessary. If the process is repeated several times, dirt will build upon the surface, where it can be easily removed using a microfiber towel.

Step 4 – Allow the seats to dry.

How to remove deep stains from car seats

To remove excess moisture, you can use a microfiber cloth, but steamers and shampoo extractors will help to remove most of it. Before using your car, let the seats completely dry. Allow two to three hours for this to happen. Leaving your vehicle in the sun or with a fan inside will speed up the process. Collecting moisture with a clean microfiber towel is very helpful.

Step 5 – Protect the interior surfaces.

How to remove deep stains from car seats

After deep cleaning your car upholstery, it’s a good idea to protect it. An upholstery protector is a great way to protect your car seats from dirt and stains. By protecting your leather or cloth seats and carpets, you will spend less time in the future cleaning your car.

Step 6 – Cleaning floor mats and car seats of spills and dirt

Despite your best efforts, accidents will happen on the inside of your vehicle. To minimize the number of particles that fall onto your clean car seats while you eat, carry a towel in your trunk. Another good idea is to keep a towel or wet wipes in your car. If spills occur, wipe them up immediately and spot treats if necessary. When on a road trip, think about adding a small kit for handling interior mishaps.

Check out the best-detailing kit of 2022.

Step 7 – Understanding the Impact of Fabric Type on Cleaning

How to remove deep stains from car seats

As a porous material, nylon soaks up spills. Although polyester appears like microfiber or micro suede, it is difficult to clean due to its softer texture. Care for your fabric accordingly.

Step 8 – Detail your car on a quarterly basis.

Detail your car’s upholstery at least quarterly to keep your interior and upholstery in good shape. You should perform it more often for vehicles that receive a lot of use.

Step 9 – Do one section at a time.

When cleaning cloth seats, don’t allow the cleaning solution to dry, especially on leather seats. Start with small sections to prevent the cleaning solution from drying. Never put your leather cleaner directly on the leather surface. Always place it on a microfiber cloth first. Directly applied cleaners can drip into crevices, increasing the likelihood of damage.

Step 10 – Avoid chemicals that damage leather.

How to remove deep stains from car seats

When it comes to cleaning leather seats, DIY cleaners can be a good alternative since you know exactly what is in the solution you use. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid acetone, alcohol, and petroleum products that damage leather. Even baking soda dulls leather, so choose the right stain remover carefully. Make sure to dilute your cleaner with hot water. Doing so will increase its cleaning power and speed up the process.

Step 11 – Look for holes, cuts, and cracks.

Make sure your leather seats don’t have holes, deep cuts, or cracks before cleaning them. Avoid these areas since liquids will flatten the cushion. If you need to clean these areas, use much less cleaning solution to avoid leaving residue behind.

Step 12 – Use a gentle brush.

If you want to work pre-treatments into leather, you’ll need a soft-bristled brush. Using your brush, lightly scrub the upholstery in circles to lift dirt. Look for horsehair brushes approximately an inch long. Working in the cleaning solution will take longer because you have to apply less pressure to the brush. Do not use drill-attached brushes on your seats, as they can damage the leather.

Step 13 – Never let leather products dry.

Also, make sure that cleaning products do not dry on leather upholstery because you don’t want them to. Scrubbing the leather can scratch it when it is dry. Apply the cleaning solution to the cloth as necessary by dipping it into the spray bottle.

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Bonus Tips on removing deep stains from seats

  • Invest in a vacuum cleaner: If you need to clean your car seats frequently or if they have deep stains, consider buying a portable carpet cleaner.
  • Always keep a backup: Stock up on baby wipes in case you need them between washings. It is easy to clean all types of upholstery since they are convenient, effective, and gentle.
  • Install removable and washable car seat protectors.

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  1. […] Detailing car upholstery is an important step in how to detail a car interior like a pro at home. But there are some important points to keep in mind.       […]

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