How to Clean Cloth Car Seats: Quick & Easy Guide

To clean cloth car seats, vacuum the seats thoroughly to remove loose dirt. Then, apply an upholstery cleaner and scrub gently.

Keeping car seats clean enhances your vehicle’s appearance and prolongs its lifespan. Cloth seats, while comfortable, can accumulate dirt, stains, and odors over time. Regular cleaning helps maintain their look and feel. Start by vacuuming to eliminate crumbs and dust.

how to clean cloth car seats
how to clean cloth car seats

Use a quality upholstery cleaner, applying it evenly across the fabric. A soft-bristled brush works well for scrubbing without damaging the material. Wipe away excess cleaner with a microfiber cloth. Allow the seats to dry completely before using the vehicle. This simple yet effective routine ensures your car seats remain fresh and inviting. Regular maintenance prevents stubborn stains and keeps your car interior looking pristine.


Cleaning cloth car seats keeps your car looking fresh and new. It also helps remove dirt, stains, and allergens. Proper preparation is key to achieving the best results. This guide will walk you through the steps to clean your car seats effectively.

Gather Necessary Supplies

Start by collecting all the supplies you will need. Having everything on hand makes the process smoother and faster. Here is a list of items you should gather:

  • A vacuum cleaner with attachments
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Bucket of warm water
  • An upholstery cleaner or mild soap
  • Spray bottle (if using soap)
  • White vinegar (optional for tough stains)

Always use a cleaner that is safe for cloth upholstery. Test the cleaner on a hidden area first. This ensures it won’t damage or discolor the fabric.

Remove Any Debris

Before you start cleaning, make sure to remove all debris from the seats. This step helps you avoid spreading dirt around.

Use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to pick up loose dirt. Pay extra attention to the seams and crevices where dirt can hide. If there are any large pieces of debris, pick them up by hand.

After vacuuming, use a soft-bristled brush to loosen any remaining dirt. Brush gently to avoid damaging the fabric. This will make the cleaning process more effective.

Ensuring the seats are free of debris prepares them for a deep clean. This helps the cleaning solution work better and gives you a cleaner result.

Spot Cleaning

Cleaning cloth car seats can be a daunting task. With proper techniques, your car seats can look brand new. Spot cleaning is essential for maintaining the cleanliness of your car seats. This guide will help you identify stains and choose the appropriate cleaning solutions.

Identify Stains

First, it is important to know what kind of stain you are dealing with. Different stains need different treatments. Common stains include food and drink spills, dirt, and ink. Here are some steps to identify the type of stain:

  • Look closely at the stain. Check the color and texture.
  • Smell the stain. This can help you identify food or drink spills.
  • Check your car seat material. Some stains may be more visible on certain fabrics.

Once you have identified the stain, you can choose the right cleaning method. For example, grease stains need a different approach than ink stains. Here is a simple table to help:

Type of StainCommon SourcesInitial Steps
Food and DrinkSpilled beverages, saucesBlot with a clean cloth
DirtMud, soilBrush off loose dirt
InkPens, markersBlot with a damp cloth

Choose Appropriate Cleaning Solution

Choosing the right cleaning solution is crucial. The wrong solution can damage your car seats. Here are some common cleaning solutions:

  • Mild soap and water: Good for general stains.
  • Vinegar and water mixture: Effective for tough stains like coffee.
  • Baking soda paste: Works well on greasy stains.
  • Commercial cleaners: Available for specific types of stains.

Test the cleaning solution on a small, hidden area first. This ensures it will not damage the fabric. Use a soft cloth or sponge to apply the solution. Gently rub the stain in a circular motion.

Rinse the area with clean water. Blot the area dry with a clean towel. Repeat the process if the stain is still visible. Always allow the seat to dry completely before using the car.

Deep Cleaning

Keeping your car seats clean can be a challenge. Dirt and stains can make your car look old. Deep cleaning your cloth car seats can refresh them. It can also extend their life. This guide will show you how to clean your cloth car seats deep. Follow these steps to make your car seats look new again.

Vacuum The Seats
Vacuum The Seats

Vacuum The Seats

Start by vacuuming your car seats. This removes loose dirt and debris. Use a vacuum with a brush attachment. This helps get dirt out of the fabric. Vacuum all parts of the seat, including:

  • Seat cushions
  • Seat backs
  • Seat crevices

Make sure to vacuum under the seats too. This area often collects a lot of dirt. A clean seat surface makes the next steps more effective. Take advantage of this step. It is the foundation of a thorough cleaning.

Apply Cleaning Solution

Choose a good cleaning solution for cloth seats. You can buy one or make your own. A mix of water and dish soap works well. Test the solution on a small, hidden area first. This ensures it won’t damage the fabric. Once tested, spray the solution on the seat. Don’t soak the fabric. Lightly misting is enough.

Let the solution sit for a few minutes. This helps break down stains. Stubborn stains might need a bit more solution. Remember to read the instructions on commercial cleaners. Some need different application methods. Proper application of the cleaning solution is key to lifting dirt and stains.

Scrub The Seats

Use a soft-bristle brush to scrub the seats. Gently scrub in circular motions. This helps the solution penetrate the fabric. Pay attention to stained areas. They may need extra scrubbing. Be careful not to damage the fabric with hard scrubbing. Gentle scrubbing is effective for most stains.

After scrubbing, wipe the seats with a clean, damp cloth. This removes the cleaning solution and dirt. Repeat the scrubbing and wiping if needed. Let the seat air dry completely before using the car. Dry seats prevent mold and mildew from forming. Enjoy your fresh, clean car seats!

Drying And Finishing

Cleaning cloth car seats can be tricky. Drying and finishing are important steps. If you skip these, your seats might smell or get moldy. This blog will help you dry and finish your cloth car seats properly.

Remove Excess Moisture

After cleaning, removing excess moisture is essential. You can use a clean, dry towel. Press it firmly on the seats to soak up water. Do not rub the fabric, as it might damage the fibers.

Another way to remove moisture is by using a wet/dry vacuum. This tool is great for sucking up water from the seats. Here’s how to use it:

  • Turn on the vacuum.
  • Place the nozzle on the wet area.
  • Move it slowly over the seat.
  • Repeat until the seat feels dry.

If you do not have a wet/dry vacuum, paper towels can help. Lay them on the wet seat and press down. Change the towels when they get wet. Keep doing this until the seat is mostly dry.

Allow Seats To Air Dry

After removing excess moisture, it’s time to air dry the seats. Make sure your car is parked in a well-ventilated area. Open all the windows and doors. This helps air circulate and speeds up drying.

If the weather is sunny, you can park your car outside. The sun will help dry the seats faster. Do not park in direct sunlight for too long, as it might fade the fabric.

Using a fan or a blower can also help. Place a fan inside the car and turn it on. Aim the airflow at the seats. This will help evaporate the remaining moisture.

It might take a few hours for the seats to dry completely. Check the seats by touching them. If they still feel damp, give them more time. Wait to use the car until the seats are fully dry. This prevents any mold or bad smells from forming.

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Frequently Asked Questions On How to Clean Cloth Car Seats:

What Is The Best Way To Clean Fabric Car Seats?

Use a vacuum to remove debris. Apply a fabric cleaner and scrub with a soft brush. Blot with a clean cloth. Let it air dry.

Can You Clean Cloth Car Seats With Dawn?

Yes, you can clean cloth car seats with Dawn. Mix Dawn with warm water, scrub gently, then rinse. Always test on a small area first.

What Is The Best Cleaner For Car Upholstery?

The best cleaner for car upholstery is a specialized upholstery cleaner. Brands like Chemical Guys or Meguiar’s are highly recommended. Always test a small area first.

How To Clean Cloth Car Seats Smell?

Vacuum the seats thoroughly. Use a mixture of water and mild detergent. Scrub gently with a soft brush. Rinse with clean water. Let seats air dry completely.


Keeping your cloth car seats clean extends their lifespan and enhances your vehicle’s appeal. Regular maintenance, use appropriate cleaning methods, and ensure a fresh and comfortable interior. Follow these steps to maintain your car seats’ pristine condition. Enjoy a cleaner, more pleasant driving experience with minimal effort.

Happy cleaning!

Last Updated on July 10, 2024 by Brian Beasley

Written by Brian Beasley