How to wash fabric seats in car (2022 Guide)

how to wash fabric seats in car

A car is a perfect place for people to eat, drink, smoke, etc. As a result, these activities can cause a lot of stains on the fabric seats. You don’t always have to take your car to the professionals just to clean fabric seats. You can easily clean the fabric seats with few supplies. To clean the car fabric seats, you just need to read our detailed guide on “How to wash fabric seats in car.”

Among all car interior materials, cloth has the least forgiving properties. Those with dark-colored fabric seats are lucky enough to get away with the strange spills and stains, but you might end up with a dirty car. Most car detailing professionals will offer a full cleaning package, but it will strain your wallet since professional detailing is quite expensive. Luckily, you can do all the work like detailing car interior and cleaning car seats by yourself for just a fraction of the cost.

Why should you clean the fabric seats in the car?

how to wash fabric seats in car

No matter how rarely you take long trips in your car, it is very easy for fabric seats to accumulate dirt, dust, and grease from everyday travels. The buildup of stains and spills in your seats, whether it’s food trash, juice cans, or your takeaway coffee, can create an unpleasant interior and eject unpleasant odors.

Fortunately,  you don’t need an expert to clean the car’s interior. It is easy to clean fabric seats; you can use a cloth to clean them and even try different cleaning methods to remove stubborn stains.

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How to wash fabric seats in car

Listed below are the methods and instructions you must read before washing car fabric seats. Ensure that you all read the pre-requisites before starting the cleaning process.

Tools and materials required.

  • Vacuum with a hose and crevice tool (Choose vacuum cleaners from recommended brands like VacLife or Stanley)
  • Bottle for spraying
  • Stiff-bristled scrubbing brushes
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Cleaning sponge
  • Buckets for the water
  • Upholstery cleaner
  • Fabric protector (recommended)

Step 1: Vacuum the fabric seats

There is a lot of abuse our car seats undergo, such as food stains, pet hair, spilled drinks, and grocery mishaps, so it becomes necessary to clean them. The first step to deep cleaning fabric seats and removing stains completely is to vacuum them. In this way, you will prevent dust, debris, and pet hair from getting deeper into the seat padding.

Important Note:

If necessary, attach a crevice attachment to a vacuum and vacuum any crevices you find between seat backs and bottoms and any other seams, nooks, and crannies in your vehicle.

Step 2: Treat Spotty Stains

how to wash fabric seats in car

When you see clear stains on the seats, pre-treat them before you do an overall cleaning for better results. For most food and beverages, oil, and mud stains, simply put a drop of the upholstery cleaner on the stains and work it into the fabric with a scrub brush. Rub the cleaner into the fabric with the scrub brush until all cleaners are absorbed. You should wait at least 15 minutes before doing an overall cleaning.

Lightly moisten the stained area for dye-based and ink stains that have bled or transmitted colors onto your seat. Mix a paste of baking soda with a few drops of water and apply the paste. Spread that over the affected area and allow it to settle for at least one hour. Vacuum away the remaining. Repeat the process as needed.

Step 3: Clean the fabric seats with an upholstery cleaner

Always use a fabric or cloth cleaning solution when cleaning fabric or cloth seats instead of using an all-purpose cleaner. Gently spray the solution on the area you want to clean. A spray is the best source for applying the cleaning solution onto the seats because it helps you handle the amount on the cloth. Spray the area four to five times.

Also read our article on “8 best Car upholstery cleaners for your car”.

Step 4: Scrub the cloth seats

how to wash fabric seats in car

Scrubbing the fabric seats after applying the cleaner is an important step on how to wash fabric seats in car. After spraying the cleaning solution on the seat, use a scrub brush to work it into the fabric. Clean every inch and corner of the seat, starting from top to the bottom; this way, any filthy solution will trickle down. Rinse the scrub brush in a bucket of clear water and shake it to remove excess moisture as soon as it gets dirty.

Important Note:

  • If you have fabric interiors, avoid using a stiff carpet brush. The fibers of the cloth on the seat can become tangled as a result.

Step 5: Wipe away the dirty residue with a microfiber towel

Rubbing the cloth with a brush helps bring dirt and dust to the surface. When the residue starts to collect dirt in them, use a microfiber towel to wipe out the sludgy leftovers. Do this before the seat dries; otherwise, dirt will reappear

Step 6: Repeat the entire process if necessary

Repeat the entire procedure if the fabric upholstery still looks soiled. A few rounds of cleaning will get better results if the upholstery is filthy (if it has been cleaned before).

Step 7: Let the seats dry after cleaning

If feasible, give the seats some time to dry before using the car again. It usually takes two to three hours. To speed up the drying process, open the car’s doors and windows or park it in a sunny area.

Step 8: Apply a protective coating

Now that you are done cleaning, and the seats look new and neat, it’s time to apply a fabric protector to help control dirt and stains from soothing into the fabric seats for the future. This will save your time and make cleaning much easier next time.

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Is a homemade cleaning solution a good option for cleaning fabric seats?

If you have cleaned a car by yourself, you might have faced the problem of choosing the right product for your interior because thousands of cleaning products are offered online, and some do not work well with a car’s interior.

The other big problem with these cleaning solutions is their pricing, so there’s no need to run behind these expensive cleaners when you can create a solution at home that works well with your car interior.

Creating a homemade cleaning solution for fabric seats

Creating a homemade cleaning solution is really important element on how to wash fabric seats in car. Below, we’ve listed some of the most popular homemade cleaning solutions for fabric seats. You can try:

  • Homemade baking soda paste: Make a homemade paste by mixing a small amount of baking soda with a few drops of water to remove extra tough stains. Spread the paste, leave for a few minutes, and gently cleanse with a scrubbing brush.
  • Vinegar Cleaning Solution: To clean the fabric seats, mix one cup of vinegar with two cups of water and apply the solution onto the seats through a spray.

Important Note:

Never apply bleach or bleach-contained products onto the fabric. Fabric seats lose their color due to it.

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Tips by professionals to keep fabric seat cleaner for a longer time

  • Knowing the type of car seats makes cleaning the seats very easy. Most car upholstery is made of nylon, which is long-lasting yet absorbent, so it soaks spills easily. Microfiber and microsuede upholstery are made from polyester. While the soft texture is similar to suede leather, it is also harder to clean.
  • Ensure you have a towel folded under your seat while eating in your car. You can use the towel as a placemat to catch spills.
  • Ensure your cups’ covers are secure when you drink beverages in your car.
  • When you detail your car, the interior and upholstery are deep cleaned. Detailing your upholstery will keep it cleaner and in better shape for longer. Depending on how filthy your car gets throughout the year, you should detail it every few months.

Also read our article on “How to detail a car interior like a pro at home“.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Question 1: How often should you deep clean your fabric seat?

Answer: It is recommended to deep clean and treat cloth seats in a car every six months and to do so more often if you have children or pets.

Question 2: Are fabric protectors effective in keeping cloth seats cleaner longer?

Answer: You can protect your cloth seats from spills and stains by spraying a fabric protector. Make sure to reapply after each deep cleaning.

Question 3: Caring for fabric seats vs leather seats?

Answer: Leather seats need conditioning regularly to remain flexible and prevent breaking and splitting. Cloth seats need to be vacuumed and deep cleaned regularly.

How to wash fabric seats in car (2022 Guide)
How to wash fabric seats in car (2022 Guide)

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