June 17

How to Clean Car Seats with Household Supplies

Need to clean your car seats?

Want to do it yourself to save on the cost?

Then you’ve come to the right place. 

In this article, we’re going to show you how to clean car seats with household supplies. Yes, most of the things you’ll need can be found in your home. 

Plus, we’re going to show you how to clean different car seat materials. And also, we’ll share some cleaning hacks from the pros. 

There’s something for everyone here.

So are you ready?

Let’s dive right in!

How to Clean Leather Car Seats

How to Clean Car Seats with Household Supplies
Source: canva.com

Leather seats improve the interior of any car. 

However, leather needs a special kind of care to keep it in great condition.

And it’s so important to use the right materials and cleaning method. If you don’t, then you might see your leather car seats cracking sooner rather than later. 

Here’s what you’ll need to clean leather car seats:

  • Microfiber cloth or towel (best to have 3 on hand)
  • Leather cleaner, mild leather soap, or a homemade solution using one part white vinegar and two parts linseed oil
  • Soft-bristled interior brush
  • Vacuum

Here are the steps to cleaning your leather car seats:

  1. Secure the cleaning materials listed above. If unsure of the solutions suitable for your car seat, it’s best to ask for assistance in the hardware store.
  1. Grab your vehicle’s manual and see if there’s a list of dos and don’ts for seat cleaning.
  1. Plug your vacuum and remove all dirt and particles seeping through and in between the crevices. Use the smaller attachments and nozzles to suck in dirt from the sides of the seats.
  1. Spray your leather cleaning solution on the microfiber cloth and wipe the seats clean.
  1. If there is caked in dirt, spray the solution onto the seats directly. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before wiping off. If your car uses perforated leather (those with holes), spray the solution on the brush instead. Scrub lightly until you no longer see grime coming off the leather.
  1. To dry, get another clean and unused microfiber towel and wipe the surface.

There! As easy as that!

How to Clean Vinyl Car Seats

If you have vinyl car seats, then you’re in luck. 

Sure, it might not be the most visually appealing, but it’s the easiest to clean and maintain. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Microfiber cloth or towels (again, best to have 3)
  • Mild cleaning soap or a homemade solution using warm water and a cap of laundry detergent
  • Spray bottle
  • Soft-bristled interior brush
  • Vacuum
  • Baking soda

Here are the steps to cleaning your vinyl car seats: 

  1. Grab your cleaning supplies. For the homemade solution, we recommend transferring it to a spray bottle.
  1. Create a baking soda paste for darker stains. Mix a small amount of baking soda, a few drops of water, and half a cap of liquid detergent. Make sure it creates a thick and paste-like texture that’s not diluted.
  1. Check your vehicle’s manual for cleaning precautions. 
  1. Plug your vacuum and remove all dirt and particles seeping through and between the crevices. 
  1. Spray your cleaning solution on different sections of the car seats and immediately scrub using your soft-bristled brush.
  1. Once done, get a damp towel to wipe off the residue and grime.
  1. Still seeing stubborn stains and spots? Get your baking soda paste and apply it on top of the surface. Leave it there for 3 minutes to absorb.
  1. Gently scrub off the baking soda paste. Only brush on the stained area so that it won’t spread. 
  1. Reach for your dry and unused microfiber towel to wipe off all the solutions and dirt.

And tada! You now have clean vinyl car seats 

How to Clean Cloth Car Seats

Cloth seats are the easiest materials to get stains. 

So if your car has cloth seats, it’s best to clean them regularly. You don’t want to prolong the stain, too, as it’ll be harder to remove. 

Here’s what you’ll need for cloth car seats:

  1. 3 microfiber cloths or towels 
  2. Mild cleaning soap or upholstery solution
  3. Spray bottle
  4. Soft-bristled interior brush
  5. Oxygen-based bleach
  6. Vacuum

These are the steps to cleaning cloth car seats:

  1. Start by vacuuming the car seats. Since cloth is the most absorbent, push down the vacuum nozzle, so it captures dirt found deeper into the seat.
  1. Unlike other types of car seats, you need to pre-treat the stains you see on cloth, whether it’s ink, food, drink, or mud. Pour the upholstery solution on the stains and leave it on for 15 minutes.
  1. For stains where another bright color is transferred to your seat, it’s time to bring out the bleach, specifically an oxygen-based bleach. Bleach is generally a harsh solution, so grab an oxygen-based one from the grocery. Pour a small amount of bleach into a spray bottle and dilute with water. Spray the bleach solution onto your car seat and let it seep for an hour.
  1. When 15 minutes or the hour is up, brush the area using a soft-bristled brush or scrubber.
  1. Next up is to spray the upholstery solution on the surface of the seats. You don’t have to shower it with the solution. Just keep it damp.
  1. Start scrubbing from top to bottom until you see no more dirty water dripping from the seat. You can also scrub this off with clean water.
  1. Now that is done, you just need to wipe off the excess moisture and dirt with a microfiber cloth.
  1. Keep your doors open for the seats to air-dry.

As we said, it’s best to clean stains right away. This way, it’ll be a lot easier to remove. 

Tips to Clean Car Seats Faster

We know. Who has 2 to 3 hours to spare cleaning their car seats?

To help you cut down the time, we’re going to share these fast car seat cleaning tips from professional cleaners. 

Tip 1: Clean from Top to Bottom

The last thing you want is to keep dirt going back to the already clean areas. So in that case, vacuum and scrub from top to bottom and collect all remaining grime at the bottom of the seat.

Tip 2: Change your brush and micro-fiber towel as needed

Only you can tell how dirty these towels become while cleaning. If you see that it needs replacing or hosing with water, then go ahead! 

Don’t skimp on cleaning your towels. You don’t want dirt to accumulate on the bristles and get transferred back to your seats.

Tip 3: Invest in your upholstery and mild cleaners

Choose the most recommended solutions in the groceries or the hardware stores. This way, you don’t have to keep spraying the liquid on your car and towels as you clean. 

Remember, more sprays don’t necessarily mean better removal of dirt, stains, and grime. It’s the solution that matters most. 


It’s so important to keep your car seats clean. 

Thankfully, you can get the job done with a few household supplies. 

So whether you have a leather, vinyl, or cloth car seat, make sure you clean it the proper way. And don’t forget to use the right materials.

What are you waiting for?

If you see your car seat needs cleaning, get started right away! You already know how to clean car seats with household supplies. 

And, as we said, the materials you need are most likely already with you. 

Happy cleaning!

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