Easy Steps to Clean Your Car Seats With Soap And Water!

It’s appreciated that you want to be careful while cleaning your car seats because the materials are vulnerable to abrasive cleansers like bleach, concentrated detergents, or acid-based cleansers. It’s safe to use soapy water instead. So, how to clean your car seats with soap and water?

Make a solution of soap and water first. Then, dip a scrubber in the solution and wipe the car seats with it. Make sure to get rid of any excess moisture and then sun-dry the seats.

Now, you know the process. But you need to know the details like how much soap to mix with how much water and what precautions you should take. Let’s keep on reading to know all the details.

How To Clean Leather Car Seats With Soap And Water!

Before we discuss what things you need for the process and which steps you should follow, here’s a suggestion for you.

Do not use cleansers with ammonia or bleach because they’ll damage the leather. Instead, take Castile soap or simply liquid dishwashing soap. It will get the work done without damaging anything in your car.

Now, let’s follow the steps below.

Step 1: Gather The Stuff That You’ll Need.

Start by gathering all the tools like the liquid soap (any kind), 2 buckets filled with lukewarm and hot water, olive oil (optional), a scrubber, and 2 rags. 

Step 2: Make A Mixture Using Soap & Water.

  1. Take the bucket filled with 4 parts of lukewarm water and add 1 part of liquid soap. 
  2. Add 1 part of hot water to the bucket. 
  3. Mix and match the solution. 

Step 3: Dip The Scrubber & Start Wiping The Car Seats.

  1. Soak the rag into the mixture that you just made and squeeze a little. Make sure the rag is filled with soapy bubbles. 
  2. Now, keep on rubbing on the car seats until it becomes white. 
  3. Wait for 2 seconds. 
  4. Take the scrubber and dip it into the mixture to scrub down the seat surfaces. 
  5. Again, dip the rag and rub it on other seats with the same effort. 
  6. Use the scrubber and soak it to clean the other seats properly.

Tip: Be sure to do the small surface test using the mixture to ensure it doesn’t fade or lighten the original shade of car seats.

Step 4: Take Clean Rag & Dip Into Clean Water.

Once you have done rubbing and scrubbing the seats, it’s time to dip a new rag into fresh water to wipe out the soapy layer from the top. 

Make sure there is no residue left on the seats with a white layer. Never pour water directly on the seat as it can hurt the leather and fabric deeply. 

Plus, it’s hard to remove water that flows inside the cushions. Use a dry towel to clean the above wetness. 

Step 5: Leave It Under Sun Ray For 20 – 30 Minutes.

Next, open the truck door on both the left and right sides. And place the truck under sunlight so that the seats can dry naturally. It would take not more than 20 to 30 minutes to air dry.

In case you prefer extra caring for your lovely car seats, use the olive oil (which I mentioned above as optional) on the surfaces.

It contains natural ingredients like fatty acid which provides shine to the leather nicely without staying on the surface. That’s how to clean car seats fabric yourself.

Note: If your car seat is made out of vinyl then be sure to use a soft-bristled brush instead of a scrubber and soft sponges rather than rags. These will do better to clean the seats nicely.

Best Ways to Clean Cloth Car Seats

Cleaning cloth seats can be more difficult than leather seats. Although there are different options for doing the job, we’ll be sharing how to clean cloth car seats and make them look new.

Step 1: Make a cleaning solution

Take a half-liter of water in a bucket and add a pinch or two of detergent to the water. Using dish soap to clean cloth seats is also okay but we prefer the traditional method that uses laundry detergent.

Step 2: Apply the solution and rub the seats

No need to soak the seat covers. Instead, take a soft-bristled brush and dip it in the cleaning solution. Take an adequate amount of cleaning solution for the job and rub the brush gently on the seats to get rid of the dirt.

Step 3: Use a stiff brush if there’s a stubborn stain

Stubborn stains like soda stains, lipstick, or catsup will not go vanish just by soft brushing. You need something stronger in this case. But still, use light pressure with the stiff bristle so you don’t cause any damage.

Step 4: Rub the seats with a microfiber towel

Take a dry and clean microfiber cloth and rub it in a back-and-forth motion to get rid of excess moisture.

Repeat the process as needed because you must ensure that the seats are free from any moisture or residue of the cleaning solution. Once done, air dry the seats and you’re done!

How Can You Clean Vinyl Car Seats?

You can use soap and water to clean vinyl car seats just like we discussed earlier. Make sure you don’t use any acid-based cleaners, waxes, solvents, petroleum distillates, concentrated detergents, or undeluded bleach to clean the seats. These ingredients are highly damaging to the seats.

Step 0: Follow Some Preparatory Steps

Before starting, take the maintenance instructions for your seats provided by the manufacturer. If there’s something forbidden, note that and act accordingly.

If the seats have removable cushions, make sure you remove them because you need to clean the cushions separately.

Step 1: Get Soft Cleaning Implements

Avoid using any abrasive cleaner to clean the seats. Instead, use soft dishcloths, sponges, or soft-bristled brushes. Using anything like a shart cleaning tool can damage the vinyl seats.

Step 2: Mx Soap and Water

Before mixing them, dip a sponge into distilled water and wipe the seats using the sponge. Then, take mild dish soap and mix it with some water.

Step 3:  Scrub and Ringe

Now, you need to dip the soft cleaning implement (e.g. dishcloth, sponge, or brush) into the soapy water. Scrub the seats with the implement and make sure you do it using gentle pressure.

That’s all you need to do!

Things to Avoid While Cleaning Car Seats with Soapy Water

There are a few things you need to be careful about while cleaning car seats with soapy water. Otherwise, you increase the risk of damage to the seat materials. Here’s what we’re trying to say.

  • Make sure you don’t get soap on the buckles. If there’s any soap residue on a buckle, it will prevent the buckle from latching correctly.
  • Avoid using enzymatic cleaners, bleach, vinegar, or antibacterial products to clean the seat covers.
  • If you’d like to steam-clean the seats, make sure the manufacturer says it’s okay to do so.

Can You Use Commercial Cleansers to Clean Car Seats?

Yes, you can. If you don’t want to use soap and water to clean your car seats, there are some commercial cleansers you can consider using. Let’s have a look at our list.

Product NameUsed forUnique FeaturePrice Range
Lexol Leather Cleaner and Conditioner KitLeather seat cleaningIt comes in 3 separate bottles and each bottle does a different task- clean, condition, and protect.$15-$18
KevianClean InteriorVnyl car seat cleaning3 in 1 product that cleans, conditions, and polishes at the same time. It has no toxic dunes or chemical irritants.$25-$27
Turtle Wax T440r2WCloth car seat cleaningIt contains a triple-action formula that helps clean mild to stubborn stains.$10-$15

How to Make Car Seats Allergy-Proof

Lastly, we saved some tips for you to make car seats allergy-proof. Because if you’re allergic to dirt, only getting rid of dirt won’t help that much. There are other things you need to take care of.

  • Try not to eat in your car and of course, never keep trash inside it.
  • Clean your car twice a month (at least!).
  • Keep the car windows closed when you drive in the countryside because pollen from trees can bother you.
  • Don’t get in your car with dirty shoes.
  • Don’t spray any air freshener that can cause nasal irritation.
  • Disinfect your seats and carpet regularly.
  • Try to get floor mats made of rubber or plastic.
  • Replace the cabin air filter regularly. The interval can differ according to different brands. Generally, we recommend replacing the air filter at 12,000-15,000 miles.
Car Seat Cleaning Infographic

Wrapping Up

It’s okay to spill something on your car seat. However, like everything else, it does need cleaning. As you have ample knowledge of how to clean your car seats with soap and water by checking this piece of content, I hope this won’t give you headaches ever. 

One trick you should try is adding a slight lemon juice to the mixture to get rid of stubborn dirt which works like magic.

So next time when your kid drops any food or drinks in the car seat, just try the above step-by-step technique with water and soap to clean the mess. 

Thank You For Reading This Guide!

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William Baldwin

This Is William Baldwin, The Founder & Managing Editor of this website. Me and my team share automotive tips, tricks, and news

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Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at Autoglobes.com with a passion for the automotive industry.