2 Best Ways To Protect Cloth Car Seats From Getting Dirty

fabric car seats, old car

The main disadvantage of cloth car seats is that they get dirty quickly. Luckily, there are ways to protect them from spills and dirt, and today, I’ll show you the two best ways I do when protecting cloth car seats.

Key Takeaways:

  • One way of protecting cloth car seats is by installing car seat covers, and it’s a great long-term investment.
  • Another way of protecting fabric car seats is by applying fabric protectants to seats.
  • For ultimate protection, you can install new seat covers and apply fabric protectants on top.

1. Car Seat Covers – Long Term Option

If you want long-term protection for your factory car seats, the best option is to buy car seat covers. That’s a more expensive option but is undoubtedly worth it. 

I wrote an article reasons to buy car seat covers, so make sure to check it out and learn all the advantages they offer. 

If you’re in a rush, I’ll summarize this article for you.

Here are the most important pros of seat covers:

  • They protect the cloth and leather seats
  • Many designs to choose from
  • Many materials to choose from
  • You can cover damaged car seats with them
  • Easier to wash and maintain
  • You can easily replace them with new ones once they’re worn out

Another great thing about seat covers is that you can buy them for as low as $20. However, I don’t recommend doing that. Cheap seat covers aren’t good at all. Trust me. I tried it before. Not only that they’re not good enough, but cheap car seat covers may destroy your OEM seats.

If you want to buy car seat covers, my advice is to invest a bit more initially. You’ll be happier later. 

The best way is to buy fully customized seat covers for your vehicle. That way, they’ll 100% fit into your car and will surely last longer. That’s the most expensive, but the best option. So, if you have the budget, go for it.  

2. Apply Fabric Protection To OEM Car Seats

The second best way to protect your car seats is by applying fabric protection to car seats. It’s also the cheapest way and is actually very good. 

I know that many people don’t want to buy car seat covers because of the price tag and because they love the look of car seats in their vehicles. That’s entirely reasonable. 

Fabric protectants make a hydrophobic layer on the top of the cloth, preventing liquids from soaking in the seat and protecting dirt and stains from sticking to fibers.

Here is the fabric protectant that I recommend to you:

303 Products Marine Fabric Guard - Restores Water and Stain Repellency To Factory New Levels, Simple...
  • Restores lost water and stain repellency to factory new levels. Safe for all fabrics and dries...
  • Greatly increases water-based stain resistance, keeping fabrics dry and maintaining color fastness....
  • Directions – Use product outdoors only, in supplied packaging. Spray product onto fabric until...

There are more options out there, but these two are proven products that I’ve had the best experiences with. 

It’s easy to apply fabric protection to cloth car seats. Here’s the process:

  • Clean your seats thoroughly
  • Spray a light coat of protectant all over your seat
  • Don’t overuse the product
  • Once dried, you’re finished.

PRO TIP: Combine Seat Covers and Fabric Protectant If Possible

Here’s another variation of protecting your genuine car seats, and it’s by combining both of the methods I mentioned above. 

Most seat covers are made from cloth/fabric, which means that they leak spills onto your original car seats. You want to prevent that from happening. 

By combining car seat covers with fabric protectants, you’ll get the ultimate protection for your OEM car seats. Seat covers will become hydrophobic, and you’ll keep the original seats from aging.

Of course, it’s not always possible. For instance, if you buy leather seat covers, there’s no need to apply fabric protectants since leather is already hydrophobic and easy to clean. 

So, you can do this method only if you buy cloth seat covers (or similar material). 

Three quick steps for this method:

  1. Deep clean car seats
  2. Install seat covers
  3. Apply fabric protectant

After doing all three steps, you’re finished, and your vehicle’s seats are fully protected from damaging, dirting, spilling, and aging too. 

Frequently Asked Questions on Protecting Car Seats

How do I waterproof my car seat?

You can waterproof your car seat by applying a thin coat of fabric protectant to it. Fabric protectants make a hydrophobic layer on your seat, making it waterproof.

What are the best fabric protectants?

There are two best fabric protectants I can recommend to you. The first is the 303 Fabric Guard, and the second is Scotchguard. Check the links above.

How long do fabric protectants last?

It depends on how you use your car, but they should last at least a month or two once you apply them to your seats. After that, you can re-apply them to extend the protection. It’s a straightforward process.

Is it worth getting car seat covers?

In my opinion, it’s completely worth it. Seat covers protect your seats from stains, spills (liquid and body), pet hair, damage, etc.

Are the cheap seat covers any good?

Cheap seat covers will work, but they’re not the best option. I don’t recommend buying the most affordable covers out there. Cheap seat covers will be worn out very quickly, and they’ll leave plenty of lint on your car seats.

Do all car seat covers fit all cars?

No, it’s impossible to make one-size-fits-all seat covers. However, there are universal seat covers that can fit in most vehicles – mostly mid-sized cars. If you want seat covers that completely fit your vehicle, you should get customized seat covers.

How long does it take to install car seat covers?

It depends on your skill and knowledge. Mostly, you’ll need anywhere from 1-3 hours to install them to all the seats in your vehicle. Here’s the guide you can check.

Do seat covers affect airbags?

If you have airbags inside your car seats, you should be careful which ones to choose when buying seat covers. Always choose seat covers that are designed to be used on seats with airbags.

Should you put covers on leather car seats?

In my opinion, there’s no need to do that. Firstly, leather seats are classy, and you don’t want to ruin that look. Secondly, leather seats are usually easier to clean and maintain than cloth car seats. Just make sure to treat them with the right products. However, the decision is up to you.