How to clean your car seats properly

Every time I drive, I learn how important it is to have a clean car inside. And at the heart of that interior detailing? The clean car seats. They've been there for long trips, seen coffee spills, and even sandy days at the beach.

Over time, I've learned that clean car seats aren't just about looking good. They help keep the memories of all our trips. I've had some challenges with interior detailing, but I've also learned a lot. I want to share how I keep my car seats clean and why it's so important to me. Let's dive into the world of car seat cleaning!

A Personal Exploration of Car Seat Materials


When I drive, I notice car seats can be made of different materials. Each type of seat feels different and needs special interior detailing. Here's what I've learned about them:

  • Fabric Seats: These seats are soft and comfy, perfect for long trips. But, they can get stains and smells easily. It's here that my interior detailing skills truly come into play.
  • Leather Seats: Leather seats look fancy and feel smooth. But they can get scratched and can fade if not taken care of. But with luxury comes tricky interior detailing tasks. I make sure to clean them gently so they stay looking nice.
  • Vinyl Seats: These seats are great for rainy days or after going to the beach because water doesn't soak in. They're easy to wipe clean but still need special care to keep them shiny. They need the right interior detailing touch beneath that tough exterior to maintain their luster.

Every time I drive, I learn more about these seat materials. Just like we pick clothes based on where we're going, knowing about our car seats helps us take good care of them.

General Tips Before Car Seat Cleaning Process in Interior Detailing


Before you start interior detailing, it's good to get ready. Here's what I do to make sure I clean my car seats the right way:


  • Quick Checks: Every car is different. I always check the car seat's manufacturer manual. These manufacturer's instructions have special tips just for my car seats.
  • Spot Test: Ever notice how a cleaning spray bottle says to “test in a small area first”? That’s a spot test! Try cleaning solutions in a hidden spot to ensure they won’t hurt the material or change color, a crucial step in interior detailing. You might want to try out which car upholstery cleaner, dish soap, or laundry detergent you can use to clean car seats.
  • Gather Supplies: Let’s get all our interior detailing stuff together before we start. This might include a cleaner, a brush, a bucket of warm water, and some soft clothes. It's easier when everything is ready. For premium car detailing supplies, you might consider checking out Detailing Express for products designed to enhance and simplify the automotive detailing process.
  • Vacuum First: Vacuuming first is super important. A quick vacuum can pick up crumbs and dirt from the seats. A handheld vacuum cleaner makes the rest of the deep cleaning easier. Interior detailing is efficient when we don’t have loose stuff in the way.

I've learned these interior detailing cleaning steps from years of practice. They help me prepare to make my car seats look new again.

Cleaning Fabric Car Seat Cover



Fabric car seats are soft and comfy. They've been there for various rides, from fun trips to everyday drives. But they require special interior detailing. Especially, a child's car seat cover could be a bit nastier. Let me show you how to do interior detailing of fabric seats step by step:

Step 1: Shake and Vacuum


I take a moment to remove the floor mats and give them a hearty shake. It's almost therapeutic, watching the dust and debris fall away.

Step 2: Spot Treatment


Over the years, I've become somewhat of a detective. Identifying the culprit behind a stain is half the battle. Once pinpointing the cause, I gently apply my trusted upholstery cleaner or dish soap, treating each stain.

Step 3: Foam Fun


Using foam to clean is cool. I spray it on the seat and let it soak in. It helps remove the dirt and makes my seats look new again.

Step 4: Wipe and Dry


Once the foam has been applied, I wipe away any remaining residue with a damp microfiber cloth. This step is crucial for interior detailing, ensuring no remnants are left behind.

Step 5: Final Touch


Once the seats are dry, I apply a fabric protector spray. It's like giving my seats a protective shield. This ensures they're ready for future adventures.

I've spent much time learning how to clean fabric car seats. I care about them and want every ride to be comfy and nice.


Cleaning Leather Cloth Car Seats


Isn't it wonderful to have leather seats in our cars? But they also need extra love and gentle care to keep them looking and feeling fabulous.

According to an article by J.D. Power, genuine leather provides a premium, authentic experience with its texture, comfort, and pleasant aroma. However, it does require a lot of care and is quite expensive, although it provides good resale value. Let’s explore how we can pamper our leather car seat covers and keep them clean:

Step 1: Gentle Dusting


Wipe off dust or loose dirt from leather using a soft and dry cloth. We want to be gentle to keep the leather cloth seats happy! Don’t forget sneaky spot cleaning where crumbs and dust might be hiding.

Step 2: Mild Cleaning


Pick an upholstery cleaner made just for leather to ensure it’s gentle enough. Apply the cleaner with a soft cloth, gently rubbing it in circles to remove dirt without being too rough on the leather.

Step 3: Tough Stains Removal


Find any tough stains and treat them with a special leather stain remover, always doing a small test first to be safe. Use a soft sponge or cloth to carefully work on the stubborn stains, being super gentle to protect the leather.

Step 4: Conditioning


Lather Up: Apply a leather conditioner to keep the cloth seats soft and protected. It’s like lotion for the leather-cloth car seats! Gently rub the conditioner with a soft microfiber towel, ensuring it soaks in and nourishes the leather.

For a naturally based leather treatment that ensures durable and long-lasting conditioning, you might consider using Feynlab Leather Treatment, which has been well-received for providing excellent protection without a greasy look.

Step 5: Polishing


You can use a leather polish to give the clean cloth car seats a lovely shine. Use a soft and clean cloth to buff the seats with a gentle cycle until they gleam.

Step 6: Protecting


Consider using a leather protector to help guard against future stains. If possible, park in the shade to avoid direct sunlight damaging the leather cloth seats.

Voila! Our leather car seat padding should now be clean, soft, and shining, ready to make every drive feel just a bit more luxurious.


Clean Car Seats Stubborn Stains and Odors


Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we end up with stubborn stains or smells in our car seats. But don’t worry! With some cool tricks and a bit of elbow grease, we can tackle them head-on. Let’s explore how:

Step 1: Investigate the Issue


Let’s play detective and find out where that stained area or smell originates. Knowing what caused the tougher stains or smell helps us figure out how to beat it!

Step 2: Special Stain Strategies


  • Ink Stains: Did a pen explode on seat padding? Using rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth might help lift that ink away.
  • Food Stains: A mix of dish soap and hot water can gently tackle those food spills.
  • Mud Marks: Let the mud dry thoroughly, then vacuum the loose bits before gently cleaning the rest.

For a more specialized approach to dealing with stubborn stains, especially on the interior and trim, products from Detailing Express’s Interior & Trim Car Detailing Supplies collection might offer a solution. The collection includes various products, such as the Citrus Clean Multi-Purpose Cleaner Degreaser, which could be particularly effective in dealing with tough stains.

Step 3: Battling Bad Smells


Baking soda can be a secret weapon against bad smells! Sprinkle it on, let it sit, and then vacuum it up. Sometimes, a deep clean of the whole seat is needed to chase away stubborn odors. Letting fresh air flow through the car can also help kick out any lingering smells.

Moreover, as highlighted by Detailing Express, maintaining a clean interior, optimizing ventilation, and using quality air fresheners, especially those designed to mimic the new car smell, can significantly enhance the freshness inside your vehicle.

Step 4: Prevent Future Problems


The quicker we deal with spills, the less likely they become stubborn stains or smells. Using seat covers can help protect against future spills and are easy to wash.

Step 5: Seek Professional Help


If a stain or smell won’t budge, it might be time to call in the professionals. Professional detailing can sometimes help reset our seats and make them look new.




Keeping our car seats clean is not just about good upkeep. It's about improving our little adventures and happy moments on the road. Our seats hold us on long rides, help us on short ones, and quietly see all the fun stories in the car. Making sure the interior detailing looks nice means we have a pretty and clean space that makes driving even more fun.

What fun times will we have in our clean car? Maybe a trip to a new place or a quiet drive under the stars. A clean car lets us focus on making memories instead of avoiding messes.

Thank you for exploring the world of clean car seats and interior detailing with us. We hope every ride in your clean car helps make a new, happy memory. And we hope the inside of your car always shows how much you care about it.

Edwin Anthony - Business Strategist/Blogger

Edwin is a seasoned Business Strategist and Blog Writer, partnering with numerous Fortune 500 companies globally. His insights and strategies have been instrumental in driving success for businesses around the world.

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