How To Clean My Cloth Car Seats?

Cloth Car Seats

How are cloth car seats cleaned? Cloth car interiors typically rank first for being the least forgiving. If you’re fortunate enough to have dark-colored upholstery, you might get away with the occasional spill, but otherwise, your car will probably look pretty dirty. 

The majority of garages offer full detail cleaning, but paying a professional to clean your car on a regular basis can get pricey. Fortunately, you can do it yourself for a much lower price. 

Our instructions on how to clean car seats can be helpful whether you’re trying to save money or are just interested in doing some DIY. To start, we’ll go over all the dos and don’ts of cleaning cloth interiors so your car looks like it was professionally cleaned. (If you’re in the wrong place, check out our posts on how to clean leather car seats or vinyl car seats.)

Can You Wash The Material Of A Car Seat?

It’s simple to build up dirt, sweat, and grease from your regular journeys, even if you don’t frequently take long car trips. A buildup of stains and spills makes for a pretty unpleasant interior and can result in unpleasant odors, whether it’s yogurt, juice, or your takeout coffee that’s stained your seats.  

Fortunately, figuring out how to clean your car’s interior doesn’t really require the help of a professional. The majority of cloth car seat fabrics can be washed without too much difficulty, and even the most difficult stains are treatable using a variety of techniques. 

How Frequently Should You Wash Cloth Car Seats?

Weekly vacuuming of cloth car seats is ideal; don’t forget to vacuum the car mats as well. Any recent stains should be treated on the spot. Depending on how much use your car gets, you might want to clean the seats more thoroughly more frequently or every season.

How Are Stains Removed From Cloth Car Seats?

The first thing to do before getting down to the nitty gritty cleaning is to give your car a good tidy, and vacuum up loose dirt. If you have any dirt or mud stains, wait for them to dry then gently scrape or brush off any excess

Then, it’s a good idea to assess how thoroughly your seats need to be cleaned. If the only stains on your seats are a couple of small ones, you might be able to quickly spot treat each area. You’ll probably have to stay a little longer if the condition has generally declined.

For set stains, there’s various products you can choose from to get your seats back looking spick and span. Although there are many cleaners available, you can create your own cleaning solution and treat stains in just a few simple steps: 

  1. Washing powder or laundry detergent and warm water are combined in a small amount. 
  2. Dab the solution on.
  3. As soon as the stain has lifted, blot it with a cloth or gently wipe it. 
  4. Use a soft brush or toothbrush on particularly difficult stains.

The solution can be sprayed over larger areas with the help of an empty bottle for larger stains. Although we’d advise applying pressure gradually to prevent any unnecessary wear, you might want to use a larger brush. 

Avoid using excessive water when cleaning stains, whether they are small or large, or when simply sprucing up your seats. In fact, doing so might wear down the fabric and be ineffective. Additionally, you run the risk of having a wet car for several days or weeks.

How Should Cloth Car Seats Be Cleaned?

Equipment / Tools

  • Vacuum with a hose, crevice tool, upholstery brush
  • Spray bottle
  • Stiff-bristled scrub brush
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Sponge
  • Bucket


  • Commercial carpet and upholstery cleaner
  • Oxygen-based bleach
  • Water
  • Fabric protector (optional)


  1. Vacuum The Seats: When you’re prepared to clean your cloth car seats, start by vacuuming the material. By doing so, you’ll be able to get rid of dirt, debris, and pet hair and avoid simply rubbing them in deeper to the seat padding. Reach between the back and seat using the crevice tool. Use the upholstery brush after that to aid in lifting the fabric’s fibers.
  2. Pre-treat Stains: Pre-treating specific stains before performing a thorough cleaning will yield better results if you can see them. The majority of stains from food and drink, grease, and mud can be removed by applying a small amount of upholstery cleaner to the stain and rubbing it into the fabric with a scrub brush. Give it at least 15 minutes to work before performing a thorough cleaning. Lightly dampen the stained area to remove dye-based stains that have bled or transferred color to your seat. Dry oxygen-based bleach and a few drops of water should be combined to form a paste. That should be applied to the stained area, and you should give it at least an hour to work. Throw the powder in the vacuum. Repeat as needed.
  3. Apply The Upholstery Cleaner Solution: It may be necessary to combine the cleaning agent with warm water, depending on the cleaner you chose. As for how much to use per gallon of water, follow the instructions on the product label. You can control how much cleaner is applied to the fabric with a spray bottle, making it the ideal application method. Spray the entire seat lightly, beginning at the top. The fabric doesn’t need to be overly saturated.
  4. Scrub Away The Dirt: Spray the cleaning agent onto the seat, then scrub the area with a scrub brush. Starting at the top, go over every square inch of the seat to ensure that any soiled solution drips down. As your scrub brush accumulates dirt, rinse it in some clean water and shake it to get rid of any extra moisture.
  5. Wipe Away Excess Moisture: To remove any extra moisture, wipe it away with an absorbent microfiber cloth. Any matted fibers will also be lifted by doing this.
  6. Repeat All Steps: If Needed Repeat the procedure if the upholstery still seems dirty. You’ll get better results by making several passes to remove the dirt if the upholstery is really dirty (or if it has already been cleaned). 
  7. Allow The Seats To Dry: Before using the car again, if at all possible, let the seats completely dry. Normally, two to three hours pass. If you need to hasten the process, direct a powerful fan in the vehicle’s direction of the seats. Alternatively, you can accelerate drying time by parking the car in the sunniest spot. Place some moisture-absorbing crystals (a drying agent) in a small container and leave it in the car if the seats still feel damp. This will help to capture the moisture.
  8. Add A Protective Coating: Use a spray-on fabric protector to help prevent dirt and stains from penetrating the fabric once you’ve finished the work and the seats look clean and new. The next time you clean, it will be much simpler because of this.
Cloth Car Seats

How Can Cloth Car Seats Look Brand-new?

Maintaining regular cleanings and avoiding significant wear in the first place are the best ways to restore your car seats to their original, pristine condition. Wipes are a convenient way to quickly clean up spills and stop stains in their tracks. The amount of work you’ll have to put in over time can be decreased by including cleaning in your routine car maintenance checklist. 

You can spend money on car seat protectors if you anticipate having trouble keeping your interior clean. Despite the fact that they might not match the style you were going for, they can stop muddy dogs and children from wearing them out quickly.

Tips To Keep Your Cloth Car Seats Clean Longer

  • Knowing what kind of cloth car seats you have is helpful. Because it is sturdy and absorbs spills, nylon is the most popular fabric used for car upholstery. Microfiber or microsuede upholstery is made of polyester. Although it feels great, the soft texture’s resemblance to suede leather makes cleaning it more challenging.
  • For those occasions when you eat in the car, keep a towel tucked under your seat. For spills, the towel will serve as a placemat.
  • When consuming liquids in your car, make sure the covers are securely fastened and use sealed cups.
  • The interior and upholstery of a car are thoroughly cleaned when it is detailed. Your upholstery will remain cleaner and in better condition the more you take care to detail it. Depending on how dirty your car gets over the course of the year, it is recommended that you detail it every few months.

Lorraine Winnie

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