Baby’s car seats are made of high-density sponges, shock-absorbing materials, and fibrous foams. During fabricating covers, the commonly used materials are polyester, nylon, and leather. All these materials together provide breathability and comfort by absorbing energy.

But most quickly, the car seat materials absorb moisture from unexpected diaper leaks, sweat, or spilled drinks. So here comes the need for your car seat cleaning and maintenance.

The required cleaning materials for your car seat are dish soap or castile soap, a vacuum, laundry detergent, and a small scrub brush. Depending on the toughness, dirt, and strains, you can vacuum or spot-clean your car seat.

To spot-clean your car seat, remove its cover, wash and dry the cover, remove the shoulder straps, and clean the frame. And finally, reassemble it.

Want to learn more details about car seat cleaning and maintenance? Well, then go through this guide till the end!

Proper Car Seat Cleaning And Maintenance

What You Need For Your Car Seat Cleaning and Maintenance?

Let’s start with what material you need to clean and maintain your car seat. Those are:

  • Instructions From The Manufacturer: The guidelines for cleaning and maintaining the car seats differ based on the brand and manufacturer.

For example, you can clean some car seats in the washing machine while others can’t go in the machine. And you may need to wash some car seats without soap. So before starting cleaning, it’s crucial to find the specific guidelines on the manufacturer’s website or manual.

  • Dish Soap Or Castile Soap: The vegetable-based, gentle Castile soap cleaner works best for most messes. But to clean the stains, regular dish soap is the better option.
  • Vacuum: With a crevice attachment, use a shop vac, upright vac, or hand vac to clean up crumbs or debris.
  • Laundry Detergent: You can wash the car seat covers with the bleach-free standard laundry detergent. But before using the detergent, ensure the cover can go in the washing machine. Some car seats need to be washed without soap.
  • Small Scrub Brush Or Toothbrush: Small scrub brush or toothbrush is essential for scrubbing and removing stubborn stains.

Keeping Your Child’s Seat Safe And Sanitary Through Proper Care – How Long Does It Take?

Depending on your car seat cover type, how long it will require to wash or clean it varies. The active labor may need to scrub the car seat, remove the frame’s cover, thoroughly wash it and wrestle it back on.

Cleaning your car seat properly through maintaining all these can take a few hours or more. However, most car-seat covers are not safe to use in the dryer. So completely air drying the cover can take up to a day. Before putting your car seat’s cover back, thoroughly dry it.

How To Clean & Maintain Your Car Seat?

You can clean your car seat mainly in two ways: Vacuum cleaning and spot cleaning.

Vacuum Cleaning

With a shop vac, upright vacuum, or hand vac, start vacuuming the crevices debris with the car seat cover. After finishing the cleaning, keep your vacuum cleaner safe because you will require it later.

Spot Cleaning

Dip a small brush into the water and castile soap mixture. Using this brush, you can tackle stains. If the stains on your car seat are more challenging, like the mineral sunscreens, then instead of castile soap, use water and dish soap mix.

Don’t get the soap on the buckles. Different residues and soap can prevent the buckles from correctly latching. However, if you want to spot-clean the car seat only and don’t want to move to the next steps, use a moist rag to finish cleaning. The damp rag helps to remove the cover’s excess soap (if any).

For getting a good-looking car seat, spot cleaning may be enough for easy messes like a bit of dried mud, crumbs, etc. But for bigger messes, it’s essential to eradicate the cover. So if you have significant messes on your car seat, your next step is removing the cover.

2. Remove The Cover

If you want to remove the cover, you must uninstall it from your car. During uninstalling your car seat, check whether it has expired or not. Double-check the date; it is usually on your seat’s bottom or back. Once your car seat is past its expiration date, then don’t keep it.

After using your car seat for several years, changes can occur in its integrity. Changing its integrity increases the accident risk and potentially makes the seat unsafe. The new models come with the upgraded safety features. So once your previous one expires, buy a new one.

We recommend recording a video when removing your car seat’s cover. The video will let you remember the way or steps to put back the cover. Alternatively, you can search for the manufacturing video online that will demonstrate how to put back the cover on a seat.

3. Wash The Cover

Before washing the cover, inspect the instructions from your manufacturer. Some cleaning agents can react with or remove flame-retardant chemicals. Or some manufacturers may advise you to avoid immersing the cover in soapy water.

You can put the non-machine-washable cover in a bathtub, bucket, or large sink with soap and warm water. Then stomp on it or swirl it around. Also, before rinsing it, we recommend you let it soak for 15 minutes or more.

However, it will be better if your manufacturer allows you to machine-wash the cover. Set the water temperature and detergent for machine washing according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The detergents, including bleach, can sometimes react with your cover’s flame-retardant chemicals.

4. Dry The Cover

Most car seat covers aren’t safe to go to the dryer. So to air dry your cover, a good place is the back of a drying rack or chair. If you need to return your car seat cover ASAP, then put your seat cover in direct sunlight or in front of the fan.

It will speed up the cover drying-up process. It also helps eliminate bacteria (if any). But to dry your cover avoid using anything with concentrated heat. Don’t use the blower dryer or similar things, as it can cause the cover fabric damage or shrinkage.

Before putting the cover back on your car chair, ensure it is fully dry. Otherwise, the wet cover within your seat will trap moisture. Ultimately it will cause mold, straps to weaken, and metal parts to rust.

5. Remove The Shoulder Straps

Before removing the strap from your car seat, take a picture of it. The image will help you to put back the straps later in the correct orientation. For your child’s proper safety, the straps are crucial. The precautions against straps are:

  • Avoid using bleach-type chemicals on the straps
  • Don’t submerge the straps in water

Chemicals and water both affect the strap’s integrity. If strains, vomit, debris, or anything else are on the straps, scrub the dirty area with a bit of soap and water. Don’t thoroughly soak the straps in the soap water, and be careful.

Many manufacturers sell replacement straps. So if your strap is heavily soiled, you can replace it. Buy the strap directly from your seat’s manufacturer, and it’s best for you. While purchasing it, ensure it matches your old strap’s exact model.

6. Clean The Frame

After removing the cover, remove your car seat frame’s debris using the vacuum. Also, you can use this opportunity to clean your car’s area where the seat usually rests. After that, if the frame has any icky surfaces, wipe it down using a damp rag.

Avoid making your seat’s exterior too wet. Too wet a seat can damage the manufacturer’s labels, providing expiration dates, installation assistance, and identifying information.

7. Reassemble Your Car Seat

Start by ensuring you put back your car seat’s straps in the same previous position without twists. After that, check whether for the crotch strap there is more than one slot or not. You must check it to ensure it is positioned perfectly for your child.

Also, for the perfect guidelines, you can consult your manufacturing instructions. The video you took upon cover removal will help you to put the fully dried cover back on your car seat. Or, to put the cover back correctly, you can get help from the manufacturer’s video.

Finally, have your baby sit in your car seat and confirm that you have adjusted the straps to the right height. After that, reinstall your seat or take installation help from a professional.

Things To Avoid In Car Seat Cleaning and Maintenance

We recommend you avoid the following things while maintaining and cleaning your baby’s car seat:

  • Avoid getting soap or detergent on the buckles. If there is any residue or soap on the buckle, it will prevent your car seat from latching correctly.
  • Don’t use bleach, harsh cleaners, peroxide, antibacterial products, or other cleaners on the straps.
  • Saturating straps thoroughly with water can impact their strength in an accident. So don’t saturate the straps thoroughly with water.
  • Avoid steam-cleaning your car seat.
  • Don’t use bleach, vinegar, enzymatic cleaners, or antibacterial products on your car seat cover. All these cleaners can have a negative impact on your car seat fabric’s flame retardancy.

Few more important things to remember while cleaning and maintaining your car seat are:

  • Only spot clean the seat’s straps and harness; never launder. Straps and harnesses are made of woven threads. So if you soak them in heavy-duty chemicals or run them through the dryer and washer, their fibers weaken prematurely.
  • One of the best cleansers is the baby shampoo. So use it rather than harsh chemical cleansers.
  • Towel dry the moisture as much as you can to help with your car seat’s drying process.  A moisture-absorbent rag from your car seat foam will extract much moisture. Also, you can finish the moisture-absorbing job using paper towels.
  • Do light-duty cleaning if the strain is small.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Do You Clean A Child’s Car Seat?

To clean your baby’s car seat:

  1. Use and apply mild soap all over the seat.
  2. While putting the soap, focus on the strains.
  3. Using a bristle brush or wet cloth, scrub the seat.

What Is the Safest Way to Clean A Car Seat?

The safest way to clean a car seat is to use only water or mild soap. Using warm water, wash your seat’s grime and gunk. If there is a potent strain, use a more robust solution combining water cleaning solution and mild soap.

How Do You Maintain A Car Seat?

To maintain your car seat remove the large debris and small obstacles, vacuum clean your seats, and clean off additional grime. Use a damp towel to wipe the seat and a microfiber towel to dry the seats.

Final Thoughts

Car seat cleaning and maintenance are essential because dirt or moisture can make a mess. There are hidden cereal bits wedged in astonishing amounts into every crevice and seam, and every parent can relate to it. So it’s essential to keep your car seat clean.

Overall cleanliness, tackling stains, and managing loose debris is essential for car seats. Through cleaning, keep the unwanted mold and mildew at bay. Moreover, through regular cleaning, your car seat will last longer.

We have already explained all the tips and details of car seat cleaning and maintenance and provided you with the cleaning guideline. Now if you have any more questions, you can comment. Our team will reply to you.

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