How to Clean Car Seats with Household Products

Stains on car seats can be pretty annoying, as they reveal an unattractive appearance. Nevertheless, a good cleaner and some everyday household products can effectively get rid of such stains. This article on how to clean car seats with household products would help you out of such a situation.

It is pretty common for spills to happen while seated in the car. Thus, things may go messy, causing some less appealing stains on your vehicle’s seat. If you are one of such persons who needs a DIY cleaning solution, this piece would help you get rid of the stains with ease.

You can find various household products useful in removing such stains or get suitable cleaners for leather or fabric car seats. Kindly read through, as I would be revealing some helpful tips and tricks to clean your car seats without creating more mess.

How to Clean Car Seats with Household Products


Often, most cleaning services would clean the car seat as they wash the vehicle. Nevertheless, you can decide to clean your car seat without needing to wash the car. It would help if you clean the seats frequently or when you notice a few stains.

In a bid to maintain the pristine condition of your vehicle’s seat, you should make some preparations and get ready with the cleaning materials.

Before you get started with your cleaning, you should remove the dirt and particles off the seat. Thus, vacuuming the car seat, ensuring you remove particles from every crevice would make the cleaning process more manageable and prevent further mess.

3 Ways How you can Clean Car Seats Using Household Products

Car seats often get dirty from time to time, and even though you seem like the most careful person, some dirt or grime would often find their way to your vehicle’s seat. In worst cases, the dirt may soak into the seat cover (non-water-repellant materials) and create a bigger mess.

The problem persists even if your car seat has leather material. Thus, there is a need for a quick and thorough cleaning before the stain becomes permanent or very difficult to get out. For instance, I will be using baking soda, vinegar, detergent, and warm water. You can follow the steps below for the preparatory process.

  • Get ready your baking soda (1/4 cup) and warm water (1 cup) for the first part of the cleaning
  • Mix both the baking soda and the warm water
  • The second part of the cleaning would require that you mix some detergents in warm water. Then add vinegar and mix thoroughly in a spray bottle.
  • Get some part of your laundry detergent mixed in water

Step 1: Using Baking Soda

Instead of running around to get a chemical to remove the stain on your vehicle’s seat, you can make use of baking soda. Kindly get a cup of warm water and empty the baking soda (¼ cup) into it. Then, mix properly to create a solution of dissolved baking soda in water and apply immediately.

You can apply the solution with an old toothbrush, focusing more on the stains as you scrub gently. This solution is proven effective against nasty stains on fabrics and can work well in getting rid of the stain on your car seat.

Step 2: Appling a Vinegar Solution

This second solution is also effective on stains, and you can find the products right within your home. Kindly get a spray bottle and mix a cup of water with one gallon of warm water. Then, add some detergent; you can also use any mild dish soap you have at home.

Shake the mixture in the spray bottle to mix thoroughly, and apply some on the stains. With a piece of cloth or soft brush, dab the stained areas and apply the solution. Once done, get out excessive moisture from the car seat using a clean and dry cloth.

Step 3: Using Laundry Detergents

This method of cleaning car seats is also effective and serves as an alternative if you don’t have vinegar and baking soda at home. Kindly get some warm water and mix some parts of laundry detergent into it.

Then, pour gently or spray some amount of the mixture onto the stained areas and let it sit for a while. Doing so would allow the solution to absorb the stain in a bid to clean the seat fabric. Continue by scrubbing the seat with a cloth or soft brush and dry afterward.

Cleaning Car Fabric Seats

Most of the car seats that you see nowadays come covered with fabrics that appear pretty attractive. These high-quality fabric materials also provide excellent comfort, especially for and can last for an extended period.

Knowing how to clean fabric car seats is crucial to maintaining the seat and ensuring it looks good even after use for an extended period. However, cleaning the car seat may seem like a daunting task, much more if the fabric cover does not come with a zipper.

how to clean cloth car seats

Not to worry, here is how to clean car seat fabric yourself without any hassles.

Get the Seat Out

For easy access, it would be best to take out the seat from the car. Doing so would provide you with sufficient space to reach out to the stained or dirt area for easy cleaning.

Remove Dirt Particles

It is often common to find some particles on the seat of cars. These dirt particles often include droppings from snacks and even sands. Thus, it would help you vacuum the vehicle seat, ensuring you get out the dirt from all corners and crevices.

Start Cleaning

Using a mild soap or detergent mixed with some water, spray gently on the stained part of the seats. Then, get a bristle brush or cloth and scrub gently depending on the extent of the stains. Once done and satisfied with the results, kindly use a dry cloth to wipe out excess moisture from the car seat.

Dry the Seat

It would be a bad idea to reinstall the car seat before letting it dry, as this can support the growth of microorganisms and give off an unpleasant smell. Still, the wet seat can easily attract dirt and grime that may cause some more stains.

So, it would help if you let the car seat dry completely before fixing the seat back in the vehicle. You can employ a dryer to quicken the drying process, setting it on low heat to avoid damaging the seat cover.

Cleaning Leather Seats

Many car manufacturers use leather for their car seats, as they tend to last longer and have an excellent appearance. Nevertheless, a dirty leather seat may start fading soon, and you may see some stains that look unappealing.

Hence, you should always get rid of dirt and clean your car leather seat very often. Although the cleaning leather seats seem similar to the way you tend cloth seats, there are a few differences. By now, you should know that leather materials seem delicate and prone to scratches.

So, you may want to be gentle with the scrubbing and get a specific upholstery cleaner that works well for leather. It would also help if you get a leather conditioner to make the seat shine and look attractive after the cleaning process.

how to clean leather car seats

Here is a DIY process of cleaning leather seats.

  • Apply some rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover on the stained area, blotting it with cotton balls. Then, wipe off the stain with some water and mild dish soap
  • You can also apply a gel tooth-paste to get off tough stains on the leather seat and gently scrubbing the stains away
  • A mixture of lemon juice and cream of tartar would also work well. Kindly mix an equal portion of both products to form a paste and apply it to the affected area. Kindly let it sit for 30 minutes before wiping it off with a damp cloth or sponge.
  • You can also make a vinegar mixture and apply some stains to remove them from the leather seat.

Necessary Tips and Tricks for Keeping Clean and Long-lasting Car Seats

Keeping the perfect car interiors may seem pretty challenging, much more since an average person spends more than four years in their car. The bodily oil, food particles, dust, and dirt that land on your car seat can often get it dirty.

Undoubtedly, a messy car seat looks unappealing and would leave you uncomfortable. Nevertheless, there are effective ways to maintain the car seat, making it look clean and ensuring it lasts longer.

Here are a few tips and tricks to make you achieve the desired results.

Placing a Towel on the Seat

Towels on car seats can prevent accidental spills from staining the seat cover as you drive. Most folks eat in the car, and you may not be able to control your little ones. With the towel placed on the car seat, you can avoid that messy situation by letting the food crumbs drop on the towel rather than the seat itself.

This strategy can further save you from seeking ‘how to get liquid stains out of car seats,’ as the towel would effectively absorb the spilled beverages. Thus, your car seat is less likely to get stained or look messy.

Using Seat Covers

There are various car seat covers in the market, and you can easily opt for one to maintain your car seat effectively. These seat covers do a great job of preventing the accumulation of dirt and grime on the car seat.

Whatever dirt lands on the seat would be on the seat cover, and after a while, you can wash it off without tampering with the car seat material. The good news is that these covers come in various designs and colors. Hence, you can easily choose an option that would complement your vehicle’s interiors.

Get a Fabric Protector

One way you can prevent stains from forming on the seat of your vehicle is by using fabric protectors. These high-quality products would effectively prevent dirt from settling on the seat. You can quickly get one for your car seat and apply the fabric protector periodically.

Keep to a Regular Vacuuming Schedule

One crucial thing that car owners should do is vacuum their seats regularly to get rid of all forms of dirt. It is common for dirt to build up and cause tough stains over time. So, when you keep to a regular vacuuming schedule for your car seat, it remains in good condition with lesser chances of developing stains.


How do you get stains out of cloth car seats?

A combination of vinegar, dish soap, and warm water can effectively get stains out of fabric cloth car seats. Kindly mix these products in a spray bottle and apply them on the seat, focusing on the stained areas. Then, you can use a brush or cloth to scrub the stains out gently.

In some cases, all the stains may not come out at once; hence, there may be a need for multiple applications and scrubbing till you can successfully get out the messy appearance. In place of the vinegar solution, you can comfortably use baking soda and warm water. You can look up how to clean car seats with baking soda.

What is the best product for cleaning cloth car seats?

There are various cleaning products for car seats with fabric covers that you can find in the market. Some of the top options include Car Guys Super Cleaner, Meguiar’s Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner, and Tuff Stuff Multipurpose Cleaner.

However, the one you choose would depend on your needs. Nevertheless, it would help if you looked out for effective cleaning products formulated to get rid of stains and restore the pristine condition of the vehicle’s seat.

How do you clean car seats without extractors?

You can comfortably clean your car seats with extractors by applying the cleaning solution and scrubbing with a bristle brush or clean cloth. As you continue scrubbing, you notice some slight changes on the stained areas as the mess starts fading away.

Kindly apply some more cleaning solution and repeat the scrubbing until you can successfully remove all the stains or get the desired result. Then, get a dry and clean cloth and remove the excess moisture while leaving the seat to dry.

What is the best DIY car upholstery cleaner?

A vinegar solution can effectively eradicate stains from upholstery and serve as a good cleaner. Interestingly, you can formulate one from the comfort of your home. Kindly ix vinegar (1 cup) to a gallon of warm water and add a few drops of your dish soap.

If you are searching for an excellent DIY car seat cleaner without vinegar, you should try a baking soda solution. Gently add ¼ cup of your baking soda to a cup of water and mix properly to let dissolve the baking soda.

What does professional clean car upholstery with?

Cleaning professionals employ a variety of chemicals that appear effective in cleaning the seats of vehicles. Some commonly used products include Lithium Auto Elixirs Hyper Cleanse, Black Diamond Upholstery Cleaner, and Mother Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner.

The formulation of these products offers deep cleaning, reaching out for the toughest stains and removing them completely. Hence, you would often find your car seat looking anew after every professional cleaning service.

What is the best homemade upholstery cleaner?

A good upholstery cleaner that you can make at home is a solution of vinegar and olive oil. It is pretty effective in deep cleaning the upholstery and getting rid of stains—kindly mix vinegar (1/4 cup) with a half cup of olive oil. Mix in a spray bottle and shake vigorously before applying on the couch.

Another effective option that works better for synthetic upholstery is a mixture of vinegar, dish soap, and warm water. You can mix half a cup of vinegar and half a tablespoon of dish soap with a cup of water and use the solution for cleaning your upholstery.

Can I use carpet cleaner on car seats?

Carpet cleaners can effectively remove stains from car seats and make them smell fresh. One excellent option is the Bissell Carpet Cleaning foam; applying some on the messy area and scrubbing would get the stain out.

Nevertheless, there are other suitable cleaners formulated explicitly for car seats, which you can also try. Again, you can make your cleaner using some household products, which are effective against stains and dirt.

Can baking soda clean upholstery?

Baking soda is one of the most effective household products for getting rid of stains. You can easily use a baking soda solution for cleaning your upholstery and making it look good again. For this purpose, you would need baking soda, some warm water, and a spray bottle.

If you are keen on knowing how to clean car upholstery, kindly measure half a cup of baking soda and mix in a cup of warm water.

Empty the solution into a spray bottle and shake thoroughly. Then, apply on the upholstery and wipe with a clean cloth or scrub gently with a bristle brush. You can repeat this process to remove any signs of stains from your couch effectively.

Can you use SuperClean on car upholstery?

SuperClean works well for cleaning fabric seats and can serve as the most effective upholstery cleaner. Using such a solution would ensure that dirt and grime from greasy foods and bodily oils that appear challenging to remove gets off quickly without hassles.

For spot treatments, applying some SuperClean on a clean cloth and gently scrubbing the stained area would remove the stains with much ease. Interestingly, you can use Super Clean for seats with vinyl covers. If you use this solution for cleaning leather, endeavor to apply a suitable leather conditioner afterward.

Final Words

A clean car seat improves the interiors of your car and makes the ride comfortable. However, you may often find the seat of your vehicle getting dirty after a while due to the accumulation of dust and other particles.

Nevertheless, there are effective ways you can clean the seat and maintain its pristine condition. Knowing how to clean a car with household products can save you some money and keep your car seat in good condition. You can look through this article on how to get stains out of fabric car seats and leather seats.

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Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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