How To Clean Vinyl Car Seats? (A Guide For Beginners)

Vinyl Car Seats

Although vinyl seats are stylish and comfortable, they require occasional cleaning just like other types of seating. For instructions, refer to the maintenance manual that came with your vinyl seat before you begin. Use dish towels, sponges, and other cleaning tools that won’t tear the vinyl on your seats to keep them looking good. Most of the time, water and soap will suffice, but sometimes you’ll need to use stronger cleaning solutions like ammonia or diluted bleach. Cushions should be taken out and cleaned separately whenever possible.

How Can Stains Be Removed From Vinyl Car Seats?

Having marks on your vinyl that just won’t go away shouldn’t worry you. There are many items in your cupboard that are just waiting to take on those challenging marks.

One of the most popular methods is using baking soda paste. To make this, combine a small amount of baking soda with a few drops of water and a dash of dishwashing liquid. Apply a generous layer of the paste, let it sit for a few minutes, and then use a brush to gently scrub it away.

Use of pre-formulated products might be a good idea for more severe marks. Though not specifically a vinyl cleaner, Simple Green is popular for those with vinyl interiors due to its impressive cleaning powers. If stains are more difficult to remove, you can apply the formula directly to the material or dilute it first. 

Another fantastic option is Mothers VinylLeatherRubber Care, which has a 4.7 star rating on Amazon. It easily cleans and conditions, and you can use it on vinyl, leather and rubber to remove even the most worked in soil and stains.

Which Cleaning Technique Is Best For Vinyl Car Seats?

Just like with any other interior, vacuuming your seats beforehand will help quicken your cleaning process by removing any loose surface dirt. 

By skipping this simple step, you run the risk of rubbing foreign objects into your material and possibly escalating the problem. To avoid scratching the surface, just be careful to lightly vacuum.

Once you’ve vacuumed, you can move on to cleaning with either a shop bought or homemade cleaning solution. If your stains are on the lighter side, a homemade mixture will probably work just as well as some of the more pricey products available. To use on larger areas, simply combine some warm water with the laundry detergent cap and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. 

If your vinyl seats are particularly dirty, you’ll need to find an interior brush, but for the majority of vinyl seats, a cloth should be sufficient to remove any dirt. Just adhere to these simple instructions:

  1. Test your brush and solution in a discrete area first to see how the material responds, starting with a brush with softer bristles. This can also stop any rips or tears that might result from using a brush that is too harsh. 
  2. Spray your cleaning solution over the first areas you’re going to work on in sections, then use a soft brush to go over the seats. For tougher stains, apply more pressure or a slightly stiffer brush (but not too stiffly, as this will damage the vinyl).
  3. When finished, use a damp cloth to remove any remaining product from the vinyl. 
  4. The material should then be dried off and any remaining grease or dirt should be removed with a dry cloth. 

What Equipment Do You Need?

Your ability to thoroughly clean the vinyl seats in your car without harming them depends on the use of the right cleaning supplies and tools. Therefore, to ensure thorough and secure cleaning, make sure to purchase the appropriate ones.

  • Soft Cleaning Tools – Only soft cleaning supplies like soft sponges, soft cloths, and brushes with soft bristles should be used.

Additionally, stay away from sharp and abrasive cleaning tools like steel wool because they can damage the vinyl of the car seats during cleaning.

  • Vinyl Seat Cleaner – Even just distilled water would be sufficient to clean your vinyl car seats if they aren’t too grimy. However, dishwashing soap and water would work just as well if the state of your vinyl car seats called for more.

Use of a specialized commercial vinyl seat cleaner is the recommended method for cleaning vinyl car seats. These cleaners are efficient and secure for cleaning vinyl car seats because they were created especially to clean vinyl seats.

However, a commercial vinyl cleaner and softener can be used if you’re dealing with old vinyl car seats. In addition to cleaning vinyl surfaces, this cleaner is also designed to soften and restore them.

  • Spot Cleaners for Vinyl Car Seats – obstinate stains on the vinyl car seats that would require a spot cleaner. Thankfully, you can create one using some common items. You can find three different types of spot cleaners you can make below, along with a list of the ingredients you’ll need.
  • Baking soda paste – three parts of baking soda, one part of water, and five to ten drops of dishwashing soap.
  • Ammonia mixture – a tablespoon of ammonia, ¼ cup or 59 milliliters of hydrogen peroxide, and ¾ cup or 177 milliliters of water.
  • Bleach mixture – a one-to-one ratio of bleach and water.
Vinyl Car Seats

How To Clean Vinyl Car Seats?

You can learn how to typically clean vinyl car seats here. However, it’s still a good idea to refer to the car care and maintenance manual that your vehicle’s manufacturer provides. However, you can read the instructions below for a more thorough explanation of the cleaning procedure.

Step 1: Consult The Manufacturer’s Car Care And Maintenance Guide

There can be differences between vinyl car seats. Additionally, your car’s maintenance manual may contain some specific instructions for cleaning vinyl car seats.

There, you might discover suggested cleaning solutions and techniques as well as guidance on how to handle difficult-to-clean areas.

Step 2: Vacuum Clean The Vinyl Car Seats

You must first remove the dirt and debris from vinyl car seats before using any cleaner to clean them. By doing this cleaning, the vinyl will not be scratched by the dirt and debris.

Step 3: Try Cleaning The Vinyl Car Seats With Distilled Water

Clean the vinyl car seats by gently wiping the surface with a cloth or sponge that has been dampened with distilled water. After that, use a different dry cloth or sponge to dry the vinyl car seats.

Step 4: If The Distilled Water Method Didn’t Work, Try Cleaning With A Cleaner

A DIY or store-bought cleaner should be used once more to clean. To avoid it drying out and running off the sides of the vinyl car seat, use a small section at a time, no matter what cleaner you choose to use.

If you decide to try the do-it-yourself approach with dish soap and warm water:

  • To start, make the cleaning solution by combining a small amount of mild dishwashing soap with warm water until suds form.
  • The vinyl car seats should then be scrubbed clean using a soft-bristled brush dipped in the soapy water, followed by a damp cloth to rinse them.

An expert commercial vinyl cleaner, however, would be a much more potent and effective cleaning solution. According to the product’s instructions, you should use it.

  • Usually, it would be sprayed onto the vinyl car seats’ surface
  • and then rubbed into the surface with either a towel or a soft-bristled brush.
  • Following that, cloth would be used to wipe the surface dry.

Step 5: Clean Serious Stains With A Spot Cleaner

As previously mentioned, there are three possibilities for a vinyl car seat spot cleaner: baking soda paste, ammonia mixture, and bleach mixture. Simply pick one spot cleaner, make it as directed below, and then clean one section at a time, just like you would with the DIY or commercial cleaner.

Baking Soda Paste

A well-liked and efficient DIY cleaner is baking soda paste.

  • By mixing three parts baking soda, one part water, and five to ten drops of dishwashing soap, you can make.
  • After making the paste, apply a small amount to the difficult stain and let it sit for a few minutes.
  • The stain can then be removed by rubbing a cloth over it.
  • A towel dampened with hot water should then be used to wipe the residue off the vinyl car seats.

Ammonia Mixture

If you’d rather use the ammonia mixture:

  • A tablespoon of ammonia, ¼ cup (59 milliliters) of hydrogen peroxide, and ¾ cup (177 milliliters) of water are required to make it.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush or sponge to scrub the vinyl car seats with the ammonia mixture after it has been prepared.
  • After that, use a cloth to dry off the vinyl car seats.

Bleach Mixture

You can make the bleach mixture solution by mixing bleach and water in a 1:1 ratio.

However, you must exercise caution when using it and test a small patch of the area first to see if discoloration will result before using it on a larger area. To test, dunk a paper towel into the mixture, wipe it on a discrete, small surface, and look for discoloration.

If there was no discoloration when you performed the spot test, only then should you proceed to clean with the bleach mixture.

  • To clean the vinyl car seats with the bleach mixture, dip a cloth, sponge, or brush into it
  • Scrub the vinyl car seats
  • Then use a cloth to completely dry them.

How Are Worn-out Vinyl Car Seats Cleaned?

Use a bleach mixture to attempt to restore your once-prized interior for older vinyl car seats that need a little extra TLC. Just dilute bleach with water on a 1:1 ratio, applying the solution with a cloth or brush. 

But keep in mind that there are risks involved when using anything that contains bleach. If you can, test the solution on the underside of your seats first to see if the color or material reacts negatively. 

If you have particularly discolored vinyl, another option is to use an ammonia solution. Just mix up:

  • One tablespoon of ammonia
  • ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide
  • ¾ cup of water

Once more, use a soft brush or cloth to apply the solution and clean thoroughly until you notice an improvement. 


Although cleaning the inside of your car may seem like a time-consuming task, you’ll often find that doing it yourself will result in significant financial savings. Additionally, you’ll enjoy watching your car seats transform from drab to brand-new. 

Were you satisfied and found this article to be useful? What do you think? Please let us know. Additionally, it would be wonderful if you shared this article so that we could assist other car owners.

Lorraine Winnie

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