How to Get Stains Out of Car Seats

With commutes to work, carpools to soccer practice, and eating on the go, it's no wonder the interior of our cars can take a beating. But surprisingly, vehicle upholstery is generally quite easy to clean.

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All you need is a few common products and a little bit of time. Read on to find out how to get stains out of car seats so they look like new again.

Tools Required

  1. Microfiber Cloth
  2. Spray Bottle
  3. Towel
  4. Vacuum (with brush attachment)

Materials Required

  1. Baking Soda (optional)
  2. Dish soap
  3. Toothpaste (optional)
  4. Vinegar
  5. Water

Project step-by-step (5)

Step 1


Hoovering SpeedKingz/Shutterstock

Thoroughly vacuum all the car seats using a stiff brush attachment to remove any food or dirt, and loosen stuck-on residue.

Check out our all-time best car cleaning tips and tricks!

Step 2

Apply Homemade Cleaner


In a spray bottle mix a cleaning solution of 2 cups water, 1 cup vinegar and about a tablespoon of dish soap. Spray solution on the stains. (If you don't like the smell of vinegar, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your cleaning solution.)

If you don't want to make your own cleaner, try this highly reviewed CarGuys Super Cleaner that works on all types of upholstery.

Here are 11 clever tips for how to keep your car clean (including a tip for pet hair).

Step 3

Scrub or Blot Stain

microfiberAtstock Productions/Shutterstock

Once the cleaning solution has been applied to the stains, blot with a microfiber cloth until the stain is lifted.

Is the stain extra stubborn? For hard-to-remove stains like coffee, cola or juice, try these options, in addition to the vinegar solution.

• On leather or vinyl seats, dab on a little bit of non-gel toothpaste, and then use a toothbrush to gently scrub.

• For fabric seats, make a paste with baking soda and warm water, and scrub it onto the stain with a toothbrush.

When you're done scrubbing, blot away stain and cleaning product with a damp microfiber cloth.

Save money with these DIY car detailing tips from the pros.

Step 4


Car Peter Gudella/Shutterstock

It will be easy to wipe away any leftover moisture from leather or vinyl seats, but you might have a few water marks if you have fabric seats. Use an old towel to absorb as much moisture as possible, and then let the car air dry with the windows open. This is also a good time to recondition leather seats with leather care wipes.

Psst! Here are 15 cleaning secrets only car detailers know!

Step 5

Additional Car Seat Cleaning Tips


  • If your car seats have deep, set in stains, or if you are cleaning them frequently; you might want to invest in a portable carpet cleaner (shown here) to make the job easier.
  • Keep a pack of baby wipes in the car for in between cleanings. They are convenient, work surprisingly well and are gentle enough for all types of upholstery.
  • Another option is to install car seat protectors that can be removed, washed and reinstalled.

Check out more car detailing tips from the pros in this video:



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