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How to Clean Car Seats with Household Products [Safely!]

How to Clean Car Seats with Household Products [Safely!]

Having stained seats in your car can be frustrating. After all, a single stain can diminish the entire look of your otherwise pristine vehicle.

Even though this can be annoying, you’ll find that cleaning stains off your car seats is relatively easy, and that you can even use products you have in your home.

Cleaning car seats with household products is possible, but it depends on your seat type. For cloth seats, cleaners like baking soda, vinegar, dish soap, and club soda are effective against many stains. For leather seats, use rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, non-gel toothpaste, or lemon juice and cream of tartar.

Read on to learn more about how to safely clean your car seats!

Cloth Car Seat Cleaning

There’s no need to spend money on a professional cleaning service when you can easily clean your car’s cloth seats at home. Some of the best cleaning methods include:

Club Soda

Club soda is a great way to clean carpets in your home and works on cloth car seats, too.

Spray or pour some club soda onto the stained area first. Use a brush to scrub the stained area and wipe off the excess liquid with a dry cloth.

Baking Soda Solution

Mix a quarter cup of baking soda with a cup of warm water for this cleaning method. Add a thin layer of this solution to the stained area and use a toothbrush to scrub it.

If you have an old stain or one that’s hard to remove, let your solution sit on the stained area for around 30 minutes to an hour.

Vinegar Mixture

Mix a cup of vinegar and a small amount of dish soap in a bucket of hot water. Dab the mixture on the stained area and then use a brush to scrub it away. Use clean water to rinse your seat.

Laundry Detergent

This is another great and effective cleaning agent. You can mix the laundry detergent with hot water and dampen the stained areas.

Use a towel and cold water to dab away the stain and then rinse the detergent off your seat.

Auto service worker wiping leather car seat with sponge

Leather Car Seat Cleaning

If you have leather seats, you must be more careful about cleaning them. Some of the best methods to try with products you have at home include:

Rubbing Alcohol or Nail Polish Removal

Soak a cotton ball in the liquid to use rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover to remove stains. After that, dab the stained area, which should lift away from the leather.

After the seat is clean, use dish soap and warm water to clean the alcohol or nail polish remover off the seat.

Non-Gel Toothpaste

Using a small amount of non-gel toothpaste can also be effective. Put a small amount over the stain and then use a toothbrush to scrub the stained area.

Once removed, use a damp cloth to remove any left-over toothpaste.

Cream of Tartar and Lemon Juice

You can mix equal parts cream of tartar and lemon juice to make a paste and spread it over the stained area. Let it sit for about 30 minutes, and then wipe it off using a damp sponge.

*Helpful Tip: Lemon juice can have a bleaching effect, so only use this method on lighter leather.

Tips for Cleaning Your Car Seats with Household Products

The methods above will work well if you want to remove stains from cloth or leather car seats. However, you must ensure that you use the right cleaning methods to avoid causing damage or other issues.

Some tips to help you clean your car seats with the household products mentioned above can be found here.

Prepare for Seat Stain Cleaning

Before you start cleaning using the methods described above, remove any dirt, dust, or other debris that has accumulated there.

You can do this by vacuuming the seat and all the crevices. This will make the stain cleaning process much easier. It will also help you avoid making an even bigger mess.

Gather Your Supplies

Make sure to get all your supplies before you start cleaning. This is going to help ensure the process goes smoothly.

It will also ensure you have the cloth or cleaning method to ensure your product doesn’t soak into the seat or cause any discoloration.

Let the Area Dry

Ensure the area is dried completely to see if the stain is fully removed. This can take some time, but you may need to repeat the process if some of the stain is left behind.

Preventing Future Stains on Your Car’s Seats

Keeping pristine car interiors can seem like a huge challenge. It’s even more difficult when you consider the average person will spend over four years in their car.

The dirt, dust, food particles, and body oil that land on the car seat can cause it to get quite dirty.

If the car seat is dirty, it will look unappealing and leave you quite uncomfortable. While this is true, there are some steps you can take to maintain your car seats, making sure they look great and last longer.

Some ways you can do this include:

  •  Put a towel on the seat. Doing this will help you prevent accidental spills from causing stains while you drive.
  • Seat covers. You can find all types of seat covers today and protect your vehicle’s seats from stains. Also, seat covers are easy to remove and wash as needed to keep them clean and fresh.
  • Fabric protector. Fabric protectors keep dirt and grime from getting into your seat’s fibers. This will protect the seat from some stains.
  • Vacuum regularly. It’s best to remove dirt, debris, and other grime on a regular schedule. Doing so can help you prevent serious stains.

Car Seat Care: The Bottom Line

As you can see, you can use multiple household products to clean cloth and leather car seats safely.

Try some of the methods here to see what works best for you.

You can also implement the prevention tips, which can help you avoid further staining in the future. When you keep your car seats clean and stain-free, it will create a better driving experience.

Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!