How to Clean Your Cloth Car Seats Properly

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How to Clean Your Cloth Car Seats Properly

The more time people spend time in their car, the dirtier the seats become and the more likely they are to get stained from spills or bad weather. No matter how careful drivers are, inevitably something will get on the seats at some point, whether it is their fault or the passenger's. Cloth seats in particular are susceptible to dirt and stains because fabric absorbs everything. In order to keep the interior of the car looking nice, the seats have to be cleaned regularly. In addition to this, the seats also must be kept in good condition in order to maintain the value of the car. A vehicle's value is not just based on how it runs and looks on exterior. Buyers also want a car that has been well maintained on the inside as well. After all, the inside is what owners see the most.

The trouble with cleaning cloth seats is that the fabric cannot be removed, and seats themselves cannot be taken out of the car. In order to wash them, owners have to apply a specific kind of soap, scrub the seats down, and lightly rinse them. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it sounds. If people use too much soap, they cannot get it all out, and if they use too much water, it will absorb into the cushions and take forever to dry. However, it is possible to get the cloth seats clean with the right instructions.

How to Clean Cloth Seats

In order to maintain the vehicle, it is important to owners to learn how to clean their cloth seats properly. It is an entirely different process from cleaning leather seats or seat covers. More care has to be taken when washing cloth seats because they can get damaged.

Step 1: Vacuum the Car

Before cleaning, all of the dirt and debris should be removed from the car. Be sure to use a high-power vacuum with a large nozzle so that it can suck up big chunks. The small, hand-held vacuums are okay to suck up small amounts of dirt, but they are not very effective for anything else. The powerful vacuums are capable of suctioning the dirt out of cracks and crevices that cannot be reached otherwise. Most high-powered vacuums also have various nozzles that can each reach in to different areas. Those who do not have their own vacuum can go to a car wash station and use the coin-operated ones there. However, these are timed so it is important to bring extra coins.

It may seem unnecessary to vacuum the entire car just to wash the seats, but this is an important step because it prevents dirt and dust from circulating in the air and getting on the seats once they are wet.

Step 2: Remove Everything

Next, take everything out of the car. All of the things on the seats, such as boosters for children must be removed in order to get to the fabric. It is also a good idea to take out any loose accessories like bobble head decorations or things hanging on the rearview mirror. These things do not necessarily have to be removed, but since it is already hard enough to squeeze into the car and clean the seats, it is just easier to have fewer things that can get in the way or be knocked over.

Step 3: Apply the Cleaner

It is very important to only use auto upholstery cleaner on cloth seats. Other soaps, such as carpet cleaners or washing machine soaps may be too concentrated and never come out of the seats.

After getting the auto upholstery cleaner, spray a one-foot are on the seat. Doing one section at a time helps people keep control of what they are doing. Washing too large of an area at a time could result in certain areas not getting rinsed fast enough.

When spraying, hold the can far enough away from the seat to apply a light mist. Do not saturate the fabric or it will take a long time to get the soap out. If too much is applies, the seats will dry with a sticky residue that all of the dirt will adhere to.

Step 4: Let the Cleaner Sit

After spraying the one area on the seat, let the cleaner sit for about five minutes.

Step 5: Clean the Seats

Get a clean towel and moisten it slightly. It should not be soaked because the seat cushions will just absorb all the extra water. Next, begin rubbing the area with the cleaner on it until all of the surface dirt is removed. Spend extra time rubbing out the stains, but do not be too surprised if they don't all come out. If there are stains remaining after scrubbing the area, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the fabric fibres better. Be careful not to over-do this because it could rub a worn spot in the fabric.

Next, get another clean and moist towel to go over the area again lightly and remove any remaining soap residue. Then get a dry towel and wipe off the seats to help them dry faster.

Continue cleaning other sections of the seats in this manner until they are all done.

Step 6: Protect the Cloth Seats

To keep the cloth seats clean for a longer period of time, owners can apply a protective coating to them called a neutraliser. Coating the seats with this helps seal the fabric fibres and prevent them from attracting dirt and absorbing liquids and odours. Spray it very lightly over the cloth and then let it sit for half an hour. This gives it time to bond to the fabric.

Another thing that owners can do is purchase seat covers. These are much easier to clean in the future and certain kinds completely block dirt and liquid from getting to the seat. When the seat covers get dirty, they can simply be removed and washed individually. Keep in mind that not all seat covers are waterproof, though. Some of them merely deflect liquid, but eventually soak it in if the liquid remains there for too long.

Seat covers are also fairly inexpensive to purchase and can easily be replaced when damaged. Buying a new seat cover is far cheaper than purchasing a whole new seat for the car. Since the covers are affordable and they help maintain the value of the car by protecting the seats, they are a worthy investment to make.

However, keep in mind that the generic seat covers are cheaper, but they also do not fit perfectly. In order to get covers that are not obvious, shoppers have to get the custom ones that are specifically designed for their make and model of vehicle. Naturally, these are a lot more expensive to buy than the generic ones.

How to Shop for Cloth Car Seat Cleaning Supplies on eBay

In order to clean cloth car seats, owners need towels, auto upholstery cleaner, and a high-powered vacuum cleaner. Rather than making a trip to the shop for these, you can buy them all from the comfort of your home. Sometimes it is even possible to get them delivered without paying for postage.

To start shopping, go to the eBay website and use their search bar. Simply type in the name of the product you want to find. For example, enter "auto upholstery cleaner" and then click on the search button. The site will then populate a list of all the upholstery cleaners for sale and you can begin browsing through them.

As you shop, compare the prices, the quantity, and the postage costs. Also be sure to review the feedback that each seller has received from their past clients. Make sure that they have built up a reputation for fast deliver and quality products. Also see if the cleaners have the instructions listed. Some of them require special machines and are not meant for the kind of DIY cleaning described above.


A lot of vehicle owners have a tendency to focus only on keeping the exterior of their car clean because that is what other people see. However, it is just as important to maintain the interior as it is the exterior because how the inside looks will also affect the value of the car. Cloth seats in particular are susceptible to dirt, grime, and liquid, so they must be cleaned often in order to continue looking nice. If the seats go too long without being cleaned, the discolouration can become permanent and lower the value of the car.

Cleaning cloth seats is easy as long as people understand how to do it properly. The biggest part thing to remember is that only auto upholstery cleaner should be used. Then, if buyers follow the instructions listed on the bottle, they are unlikely to end up damaging their seats. The cleaners are easy to find at auto shops as well as online. If owners do not have the other supplies needed, then those can also be found at the same places.

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