The Importance of Knowing How to Clean Cloth Car Seats Like A Pro

Jun 3, 2024 | Car Spa, Interior Detailing

Do you really know how to clean cloth car seats? Keeping your cloth car seats clean is essential for maintaining your vehicle’s overall appearance and hygiene. Whether you’re dealing with everyday dirt or stubborn stains, regular maintenance can prolong the life of your seats and keep them looking new.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of How to Clean Cloth Car Seats.

Why Clean Cloth Car Seats Regularly? How to Clean Cloth Car Seats

Before we jump into the how-to, let’s discuss why it’s important to keep your cloth car seats clean:

  • Hygiene: Regular cleaning helps remove dust, allergens, and bacteria that can accumulate over time.
  • Appearance: Clean seats enhance the overall look of your car, making it more pleasant to drive and ride in.
  • Longevity: Proper maintenance can extend the life of your car seats by preventing fabric deterioration.

Regularly cleaning your cloth car seats is crucial for various reasons, encompassing both health and aesthetics. Firstly, over time, dirt, grime, and spills can accumulate on your seats, leading to unpleasant odors and unsightly stains that can deteriorate the overall appearance of your vehicle. These stains and odors can be particularly bothersome, making your driving experience less enjoyable.

Secondly, dirt and allergens trapped in the fabric can pose health risks, especially for those with allergies or respiratory issues. Regular cleaning helps eliminate these contaminants, creating a healthier environment inside your car.

Additionally, maintaining clean car seats can extend the life of the fabric, preventing wear and tear and keeping your vehicle in better condition for longer. Finally, a well-maintained car interior can also improve the resale value of your vehicle.

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Prospective buyers are more likely to be attracted to a car that looks and smells fresh, giving you a better return on your investment. Therefore, regular cleaning not only ensures a more pleasant and healthier driving environment but also contributes to the longevity and value of your vehicle.

The Essential Tools and Supplies for Washing Cloth Car Seats: How to Clean Cloth Car Seats

Cleaning your cloth car seats effectively demands a set of specific tools and supplies to ensure that you achieve a thorough and professional-level clean. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

Tools You Will Need: How to Clean Cloth Car Seats

  1. Handheld Vacuum with Brush Attachment: Ideal for removing loose dirt and debris from the seats.
  2. Soft-Bristled Upholstery Brush: Used for scrubbing the fabric without causing damage.
  3. Microfiber Cloths: These are perfect for wiping down surfaces and absorbing moisture without leaving lint or scratches.
  4. Spray Bottle: Useful for applying cleaning solutions evenly across the fabric.
  5. Fan or Hairdryer: Helps to speed up the drying process, ensuring that the seats don’t remain damp for too long.

Cleaning Solution: How to Clean Cloth Car Seats

  1. Fabric Cleaner: Opt for a specific car upholstery cleaner or a gentle fabric cleaner suitable for the type of cloth in your car.
  2. DIY Cleaning Solution: A simple mixture of water and white vinegar can effectively treat stains and deodorize seats.
  3. Stain Pre-Treatment Solution: Essential for tackling tougher stains before the main cleaning process.

Additional Items: How to Clean Cloth Car Seats

  1. Disposable Gloves: Protect your hands from harsh cleaning chemicals and ensure hygiene.
  2. Old Towels: These can be useful for absorbing excess moisture and for protecting other areas of the car that are not being cleaned.

With these tools and supplies on hand, you’ll be well-prepared to clean your cloth car seats comprehensively and effectively. Remember, proper preparation is key to achieving the best results and maintaining the fabric’s integrity

white and black wall on concrete floor

Step 1: Vacuum the Seats

Begin by thoroughly vacuuming your car seats to remove loose dirt and debris. Use the upholstery attachment to reach into crevices and seams. This initial step makes it easier to clean the fabric without grinding dirt into it.

Step 2: Pre-Treat Stains

For tough stains, pre-treating is crucial. Here’s how:

  1. Identify the stain and choose an appropriate cleaner. For example, mild laundry detergent works well for most stains, while a specialized upholstery cleaner might be necessary for more stubborn spots.
  2. Mix your cleaner with warm water in a spray bottle (follow the product’s instructions for the correct ratio).
  3. Spray the stained area lightly and allow the solution to sit for a few minutes.
  4. Gently blot the stain with a microfiber cloth. Avoid rubbing, as this can spread the stain and damage the fabric.

Step 3: Clean the Entire Seat

Once stains are pre-treated, it’s time to clean the entire seat:

  1. Mix your cleaning solution (a few drops of mild detergent in a bucket of warm water).
  2. Dip a soft-bristled brush into the solution and gently scrub the seats in a circular motion. Be careful not to soak the fabric.
  3. Wipe away excess moisture with a microfiber cloth, ensuring you don’t leave any soap residue behind.

Step 4: Rinse and Dry

Rinsing is essential to remove any remaining cleaning solution:

  1. Fill a spray bottle with plain water and lightly mist the seats.
  2. Blot with a clean microfiber cloth to remove any soapy residue.
  3. Allow the seats to air dry. Open the car windows or use fans to speed up the drying process. Avoid using direct heat, as it can damage the fabric.

Step 5: Deodorize (Optional)

If your seats have lingering odors, deodorizing can help:

  1. Sprinkle a light layer of baking soda over the seats.
  2. Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Vacuum up the baking soda thoroughly.

Maintenance Tips: How to Clean Cloth Car Seats

  • Regular Vacuuming: Aim to vacuum your car seats once a week to prevent dirt buildup.
  • Immediate Stain Treatment: Address spills and stains as soon as they happen to prevent them from setting.
  • Use Seat Covers: Consider investing in using seat covers to protect your cloth seats from daily wear and tear.

DIY Interior Cleaning VS. Taking Your Car to a Car Spa: How to Clean Cloth Car Seats

Let’s dive into DIY Interior cleaning versus taking it to a professional:

DIY Interior Cleaning


  • Cost-Effective: One of the main advantages of cleaning the interior of your car yourself is the cost savings. You don’t have to pay for professional services, which can be quite expensive.
  • Convenience: Cleaning your car whenever it fits into your schedule can be a huge benefit. There’s no need to make appointments or drop your car off and wait.
  • Personal Satisfaction: A certain satisfaction comes from doing a job yourself, especially if you can achieve professional-looking results.


  • Time-Consuming: Thoroughly cleaning your car’s interior can take a significant amount of time, which may not be convenient for everyone.
  • Limited Access to Professional-Grade Tools and Cleaners: While you might have basic cleaning supplies, you might lack access to professional-grade tools and products to achieve a deeper clean.
  • Risk of Damage: Without the proper knowledge and tools, you can damage your car’s interior, such as with stains, tears, or discoloration.

Taking Your Car to a Car Spa


  • Professional Results: Car spas use specialized equipment and professional-grade cleaning products to ensure a thorough and high-quality cleaning.
  • Time-Saving: Professionals can complete the job in a fraction of the time it would take you to do it yourself, allowing you to focus on other tasks.
  • Expertise: Car spa technicians are trained to handle various materials and stains, ensuring that your car’s interior is cleaned without causing damage.


  • Cost: The expense is the biggest drawback of taking your car to a car spa. Professional services can be pricey, especially if you opt for add-ons like fabric protection or odor removal.
  • Inconvenience: Scheduling an appointment and being without your car for a period can be inconvenient, especially if the car spa is not nearby.
  • Variable Quality: Not all car spas offer the same level of service, so you may need to research and choose wisely to ensure you get the best results.

In conclusion, deciding between cleaning your car’s interior yourself or taking it to a car spa depends on your specific needs, budget, and time constraints. If you enjoy DIY projects and have the time and basic supplies, you might find personal satisfaction and save money by doing it yourself. However, a car spa might be the best option for those who want a deep, professional clean or have a busy schedule.

man cleaning silver SUV

Popular Products for Cleaning Your Cloth Or Fabric Car Seats: How to Clean Cloth Car Seats

Choosing the right products is essential to achieving a spotless clean without damaging the fabric of your car seats. Here are some of the most popular and highly recommended products for cleaning your car’s cloth seats:

Chemical Guys Fabric Clean Carpet and Upholstery Shampoo: This powerful,hyper-concentrated cleaner can be diluted for versatility. It effectively breaks down dirt, grime, and stains on car seats and leaves a pleasant citrus scent behind.

Turtle Wax Power Out! Upholstery Cleaner: Known for its integrated brush cap, this product penetrates deep into the fabric to remove stains and odors. It also includes an Odor-X technology to eliminate unpleasant smells.

Meguiar’s Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner: With its fast-acting foam formula, this cleaner lifts away stains from cloth seats rapidly. It comes with a detachable scrub brush for targeted cleaning and effectively deodorizes the fabric.

Armor All Oxi Magic Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner: This oxygen-action cleaner works wonders on tough stains. The deep-penetrating foam lifts away dirt and debris, restoring your car seats to their original cleanliness.

Black Diamond Upholstery Cleaner: This versatile, non-toxic cleaner is suitable for various fabric types. It effectively tackles stains without leaving any residue. It’s safe for allergies and gentle on the fabric.

Bissell SpotClean ProHeat Portable Spot Cleaner: Though not a traditional spray, this portable cleaner uses strong suction and specially formulated cleaning solutions to remove deep car seat stains. It’s particularly effective for those tougher, hard-to-remove spots.

Blue Coral Upholstery Cleaner with BrushThis product, featuring a scrubbing brush on the cap, is designed for ease of use and deep cleaning. It removes tough stains and leaves the car seat fabric looking refreshed and clean.

Using these products can greatly enhance the cleanliness and longevity of your cloth car seats. Always be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure compatibility with your car’s upholstery.

Love My Car Car Wash uses only the highest quality cleaning products professionals use, so there is no chance your cloth seats will be damaged, while DIY cleaning presents the chance of cloth damage. Stop by today!

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Conclusion: How to Clean Cloth Car Seats

Cleaning your cloth car seats doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right tools and techniques, you can keep them looking fresh and new. Regular maintenance enhances your car’s appearance and contributes to a healthier driving environment.

For more tips and tricks on car maintenance, subscribe to our newsletter or visit our blog. Happy cleaning!

Full Detail
Interior + Exterior starting at
Add $50 for SUV and large vehicles
Interior Only
starting at
Add $50 for SUV and large vehicles
Exterior Only
starting at
Add $50 for SUV and large vehicles

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