How to Get Stains Out of Car Seats

Updated: Feb. 22, 2023

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

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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

  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Spray Bottle
  • Towel
  • Vacuum (with brush attachment)

Materials Required

  • Baking Soda (optional)
  • Dish soap
  • Toothpaste (optional)
  • Vinegar
  • Water

Project step-by-step (5)

Step 1


Thoroughly vacuum all the car seats using a stiff brush attachment to remove any pet hair, food or dirt, and to loosen stuck-on residue. Think of this as pre-treating the upholstery. Once you lighten the layer, it will be easier to clean deep-set car seat stains.

Hoovering SpeedKingz/Shutterstock

Step 2

Apply Homemade Cleaner

You don’t need expensive sprays to get stains out of car seats; you can make an effective cleaner with items from your pantry. In a spray bottle mix a cleaning solution of two cups water, one cup vinegar and about a tablespoon of dish soap. Spray solution on the stains. (If you can’t stand the smell of vinegar, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your cleaning solution.)

If you’d rather not make your own cleaner, try this highly reviewed CarGuys Super Cleaner that works on all types of upholstery.


Step 3

Scrub or Blot Stain

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.

• How to get stains out of leather or vinyl car seats? Dab on a little non-gel toothpaste, then use a toothbrush to gently scrub.

• How to get stains out of fabric car seats? Make a paste with baking soda and warm water, then scrub it onto the stain with a toothbrush.

When you’re done scrubbing, blot away the stain and cleaning product with a damp microfiber cloth. Always spot-check first for color fastness in an inconspicuous area.

microfiberAtstock Productions/Shutterstock

Step 4


It’s easy to wipe away 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, then let the car air dry with the windows open. This is also a good time to recondition with leather care wipes and to fix any rips or holes in your leather.

Car Peter Gudella/Shutterstock

Step 5

Additional Tips for Getting Stains Out of Car Seats

bissel spotclean carpet