Cleaning car seats – explained step by step by a pro

Once not careful and you have a huge coffee stain on the car seat.

Stains on the seat are particularly annoying because they are usually the first thing you see when you get in the car.

The professional car seat cleaning is in most cases associated with high costs.

We show you how to make your car upholstery look like new again with a simple home remedy.

Cleaning car seats

Table of Contents

The instructions – car upholstery cleaning made easy

Proper cleaning of car seats requires a lot of material to make the cleaning really effective and to remove all the stains from the car seats.

The following materials should be used in every household be found.

Utensils needed to clean car upholstery:

  • A brush (a normal upholstery or carpet brush is sufficient)
  • detergent
  • About 250ml of warm to hot water
  • A bucket or bowl (needed to mix the upholstery cleaner)
  • Clean microfiber cloths
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • Optional: gloves, plastic bag and car dehumidifier pad

The car seat cleaner test winner

  • Safe on all interior surfaces
  • Removes even stubborn dirt and stains
  • With integrated odor eliminator
  • Also suitable as a plastic cleaner

Sonax Xtreme Car Interior Cleaner

Step 1: preparation of the car interior for car seat cleaning

Before we start with the actual car seat cleaning, we need to prepare our car interior for it. Cleaning car seats can be for a layman quickly become a huge mess that’s why it’s advisable to clear all personal items out of the car first

(for example: sunglasses, child’s seat or even the car lucky charm).

This will prevent these items from being splashed with the cleaner during the cleaning process. If the upholstery cleaner dries, it can cause irreparable damage to the surface.

If you want to go one step further, you can also cover the cockpit and the steering wheel with a garbage bag.

Step 2: Mixing the upholstery cleaner for the car seats

After we have cleaned out the entire interior of our car, we start to clean the car seats homemade upholstery cleaner to clean car seats.

we fill our provided bucket or bowl with warm water and add about two tablespoons of commercial washing powder for textiles.

Then we mix the washing powder with the water until it is completely dissolved in the water. Now we have our homemade cleaner for car upholstery.

Step 3: pre-cleaning the car seats

To really remove all the stains from the car upholstery, some preliminary work is needed before proceeding to wet cleaning.

In order not to lose later the to incorporate the dirt and dust that is already on the car seats into the upholstery, do we need to pre-clean the seats.

We take a normal household vacuum cleaner and vacuum the affected areas completely. If the upholstery is extremely dusty or dirty, we rub it dry again with the brush.

we are amazed how much dust is still in the car seats despite the thorough vacuum cleaning. Repeat this process until the surfaces are completely free of dust. Already in this step a lot of stains on the seats should be dissolved, if the dirt was not too stubborn.

Pre-clean car upholstery with vacuum cleaner

► first we have to remove the coarse dirt from the car seats.

Step 4: wet cleaning of the car upholstery

Now our upholstery is pre-cleaned and should already look a lot better.

However, to really clean the car seats completely, it needs a little more work. We have already mixed our upholstery cleaner and removed all personal items from the car to a safe place.

Let’s start with the proper cleaning and removal of stains on the car seat. We now put our brush, which we used for pre-cleaning, into the bucket with the washing powder/water mixture. Afterwards we let the brush drip off so that we do not apply too much moisture to the car seats.

With the soaked brushes we now start to work on the surface. It is important that we work on the whole surface and not in one spot. This means that if the stain is on the seat, we have to clean the entire seat with the damp brush, not just the stain. This way we avoid that unsightly water stains remain on the car seats after cleaning. We work our upholstery cleaner on the upholstery until we see that the stains are completely dissolved.

In extreme cases we have to repeat this procedure two or three times. In this step we remove all the dirt that has accumulated over time in the fibers of the upholstery of the car and that has caused the unsightly stains.

Important here it should be noted, however, that the dirt has only been loosened so far and is still present in the fibers. To remove the loosened dirt from the fibers, please continue with step 5.

shampooing car upholstery

► then we work the washing powder/water mixture into the car upholstery with a brush.

Pro Tip: if you don’t want your dashboard, center console or door panel to come into contact with the upholstery cleaner, you can cover them with a plastic bag beforehand and remove them again after cleaning the car seats.

Step 5: drying the cleaned car upholstery

This step is underestimated and omitted by most readers, although it is probably of the greatest importance.

By working the homemade upholstery cleaner into the surfaces, we have so far only dissolved the dirt in the fibers, but this must now still be removed. For this we need our microfiber cloths. It is advisable to use higher quality microfiber cloths for this step, as they have a much better ability to absorb dirt and liquids than inexpensive ones. At the same time we guarantee that our upholstery will be spotlessly clean.

Our processed surfaces should now still be damp from cleaning. We take a microfiber cloth and start to rub the damp areas thoroughly dry. When we notice that our cloth gets wet, we take a new one. Otherwise we run the risk of rubbing the dirt that the microfiber cloth has absorbed from the car seats back into the upholstery. We continue this process until the seats are almost dry. Residual moisture in the upholstery is a problem with this cleaning method for cleaning car seats perfectly normal.

After we have completed the car upholstery cleaning and removed all the stains from the surfaces of our choice, we need to counteract the residual moisture present. We do this by simply leaving the car in a dry place overnight with a small fixed gap open. At the same time, we prevent a damp musty smell from developing in the car. One night should be sufficient in most cases, if the seats are not completely soaked with upholstery cleaner.

If the method with the open window is too unsafe for you, alternatively, close the windows completely overnight and place a car dehumidifier pad in the car.

…and the best part?

Cleaning the car upholstery removes many of the causes of bad odors in the car interior.

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