What is the Best Way to Clean Car Seats?

Whether you have a family car filled with muddy footprints and food wrappers or use your car for the work commute, it’s wise to regularly deep clean your car’s seats.

By deep cleaning the car seats, leather, or cloth, you will reduce unwanted odours and give your car a fresh clean feel. If your car is carrying an unwanted odour, here are our top 5 tips for removing unpleasant smells from your car’s interior.

Car seats absorb sweat and dirt from our clothes as we drive and can harbour germs. So, whether you are selling your car or just want to keep your car clean, here are our top tips for cleaning car seats.

Best Way to Clean Leather Car Seats

Many modern cars are now fitted with leather seats, which adds a level of luxury and is helpful when you suffer an accidental spill, as potential stains can be wiped away. However, leather seats can still attract dirt and grime, so here is the best way to clean them.

A black leather driver's and passenger's seat of a vehicle. The two seats are divided by a center console with the emergency brake visible. The driver's seat is positioned a bit further forward than the passenger's seat. The seats are stitched with white thread.

  1. Park your car in a safe, well-lit area.
  2. Start by vacuuming all the seats using the soft brush head attachment, this will remove any crumbs, dust and dirt. Don’t forget the back seats, even if you don’t often use them, you will be surprised how far dirt can travel.
  3. Start by wiping each seat down with Leather Cleaning Wipes of choice, plenty can be found in automotive stores or online. Here are our favourite car upholstery cleaners.
  4. Then apply a leather cream cleaner of choice and follow the product guidelines. You should notice the leather becoming brighter as the product removes surface dirt.
  5. Once the leather seats are clean, buff with a clean dry cloth for a perfect finish.
  6. Finally, apply a specialist leather protector to make it easier to remove any future stains.

How to Clean Cloth Car Seats

Not all vehicles are fitted with luxury leather upholstery. Many cars and vans have standard cloth seats, particularly older models.

Man hoovering seat of car during car cleaning

Seats that are light in colour, will make dirt more visible. But don’t be fooled by dark materials looking ‘clean’ as they are likely to be holding hidden dirt.

  1. Choose a mild day and park the vehicle in a safe, well-lit area.
  2. Begin by vacuuming the seats to remove any loose dirt and crumbs. If you have pets, you can use a pet hair brush to remove the hair from the seats.
  3. Once the seats have been vacuumed and all pet hair removed, take an upholstery cleaner or car interior shampoo of choice. Following the product’s guidelines, apply the product to the seat, avoid soaking the seat as this will take much longer to dry. Gently work the product into the material with a soft brush. It’s recommended that you work in small patches to avoid water stains.
  4. Once the shampoo has worked its magic, take a clean microfibre cloth to dry the dampened area as much as possible.
  5. Then leave your seats to dry naturally.

How to Keep Car Seats Clean

  • Consider buying car seat covers, especially for family cars. Most protective seat covers are machine washable and will keep your car seats in good condition for longer.
  • Like any stain on your car’s interior, quick action is the best solution and will avoid permanent staining. Keep a cleaning cloth or seat cleaning wipes in your glovebox for emergency spills.

Now your car seats are clean and fresh, here are our top tips for keeping your car clean.


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