Nothing feels worse than having your car cleaned from the outside and go into a dirty interior. While most dust and dirt inside the car can easily be removed with a car vacuum for detailing, there is no similarly fast method to remove stains. Apart from being an eye sore, car seat and upholstery stains can also lead to long-term damage of the seat’s color or material. Leather seats are generally easier to tackle, as they don’t absorb liquids too easily, while normal cloth car seats will stain almost immediately upon contact. Here we will go through some of the best tips and tricks on how to get stains out of your car seats.
Some of the best ways to get stains out your car seats are done by using household items like vinegar, dish-washing soap, rubbing alcohol, or simply cold water. If you want to try commercial stain removers, make sure you follow the steps we laid for you. Always test stain removers on inconspicuous areas before going after the stain, as they can discolor the seats or upholstery materials.
If you are interested in cleaning your car’s interior in general, check out our detailed article on the topic by clicking here. Now, let’s jump straight into this.
There are two ways by which you can approach your issue. One of them is using everyday household items and the other is by using commercial stain removes.
Cleaning the seat with household items
You’d be surprised how many of your everyday household items can help you clean hard stains on your car’s seats. Here are some of the best things you can use:
- Baking Soda
- Detergent & Vinegar
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Dish-washing Soap
- Cold Water
Now, let’s check how to use each one of those. ..
Using Baking Soda
One of the most common solutions used in cleaning car seats is using baking soda. It absorbs most staining compounds even things like motor oil.
Put enough baking soda to cover the whole stain. It is important for you to create a thick layer of soda above the whole stain so that the soda can absorb as much as possible.
Using Detergent & Vinegar
Another great solution is a combination of soap (dish-washing) and vinegar. Mix one tablespoon of the soap with a cup of vinegar and mix them in a gallon of lukewarm water. This is one of the best homemade solutions for grease stains on your car.
Have in mind that mixing things with vinegar can result in toxic solutions that can be harmful to you. One example of that is vinegar mixed with bleach. When combined, those two create chlorine gas which is harmful even in low concentrations.
Using Rubbing Alcohol
If you had a kid then you are maybe used to ink stains on your car seats. One of the best tools to remove those is alcohol. Alcohol mixes well with ink and lifts if up from your car’s seats. Use cotton or any other soft towel to apply the alcohol and dry it up with kitchen paper.
Using Dish-washing Soap
Dish-washing soap goes after the greasy stains very hard. Apply some of the soap onto the seat and dab it with a soft towel or kitchen paper until you take the stain out.
Simply Using Cold Water
Coffee and bloodstains are particularly hard to get out of your car’s upholstery. People tend to dry all sorts of ideas without realising that the best solution here is to just blot the seat with ice-cold water. Don’t use lukewarm or hot water as that can permanently set the stain into your seats.
If cold water doesn’t work as effectively, try adding some detergent to the mix.
Now that we’ve gone through some of the best methods using household items let’s check out how you can clean your seats with stain removers like this CarGuys Super Cleaner.
Cleaning the seat with commercial stain removers
When going with the commercial method, you will need to remember 5 steps that can be applied to basically any upholstery cleaning process:
- Scraping and/or vacuuming the stained area
- Blotting the area
- Applying your commercial stain remover
The first step to any stain in your car should be scraping the excess part off the top and/or vacuuming it. For scraping a dull butter knife would do a perfect job. Vacuuming is great since it can suck some of the particles from within the seat and make it easier to get the stain out later on. One great handheld vacuum we’d recommend for this job is the Bissell Lightweight Cordless Car Vacuum Cleaner.
Blotting is the logical next step since you want to take out as much of the stain as possible before you move on to the stain remover. Don’t rub or brush the stain as that can drive it deeper into your seats. Blot until you no longer see any color transferring onto the cloth/towel you are using.
When using a commercially available stain remover make sure you pick one that is designed for your type of stain. Most are universal but there are some narrowly specialized in specific stains. There are also products which are specific to the types of seats (leather, cloth, and others).
Pro Tip: Always use the stain remover on an area which cannot be easily seen first. That way you can determine whether or not it discolors your seats. Also, always follow the instructions on the back of the stain remover no matter what you know, since they all have different steps to the process.
After you’ve applied the remover, rinse the area well with water. That will take care of any remaining particles and the remainder of the cleaner. Use a wet cloth by dabbing it.
Finally, you need to dry the area. What we suggest is using paper towels. Make sure that they don’t have any color on them, which could mean that your stain isn’t fully out yet or you haven’t washed the stain remover well in the previous step. Press hard on the area and try to absorb as much as you can. An easier alternative to this step is using a wet/dry vacuum.
Knowing how to get stains out of your car seats is a valuable tool every parent needs to know in order to keep his car’s interior fresh and clean. Even if you aren’t a parent, everyone is familiar to the accidental drops of coffee on your seats while you are driving through a bumpy road. We hope that our tips on how to remove those have been helpful. If you need more assistance, make sure you let us know!