Can You Pressure Wash Car Seat Belts – Is It Safe?

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car seat belts, illustration

Pressure washing car seat belts seems like the best and quickest option to clean them and return them to factory look. But is it any good? Can you pressure wash car seat belts?

Key Takeaways:

  • You shouldn’t use a pressure washer to wash car seat belts.
  • Pressure washers may destroy seat belt webbing.
  • Damaged seat belt webbing may break in the case of an accident.

Why You Should Never Pressure Wash Seat Belts

The main reason why you should never wash car seat belts with a pressure washer is the passenger’s safety.

Seat belts are made to save our lives in case of an accident, and if we treat them in a way that could destroy them, we jeopardize our own safety.

Pressure washers use high pressure to wash things out. They are great for cleaning some things, such as the car exterior. However, when it comes to seat belt cleaning, you should stay away from pressure washers.

Washing seat belts with high pressure may cause several damage to the seat belt webbings. If you do that, you’ll oversaturate the material, and the safety belt webbings will lose their properties, firmness, and flexibility.

With time, weakened material will start to fall apart and may even break in the case of a car accident.

What Are Safety Belt Webbings Made Of?

Seat belt webbings are mostly made of polyester or nylon. These materials are extremely durable and resistant.

Polyester webbings are better for those who need superior strength and little stretch.

Nylon webbings are better if you want high value. They are resistant to mold, mildew, and rot. However, they tend to stretch a little with time.

Even though both of these materials are great, they aren’t made to be pressure washed.

All the webbings are made for spot cleaning and light cleaning. So, with that said, you should never use a pressure washer to clean car seat belts.

How Does Pressure Washing Destroy Seat Belt Webbings?

By using a high-pressure washer, you may destroy both nylon and polyester webbings.

Even though the seat belt webbing fibers are extremely strong and can hold a lot of force, they aren’t resistant to direct high water pressure.

Water from a pressure washer (especially from a close distance) will go between nylon or polyester fibers, stretch and split them, and reduce their firmness, flexibility, and, in the end, durability.

Also, using a pressure washer will over-saturate webbings, which will also weaken them with time.

How To Clean Car Seat Belts

car seat belts

To clean your seat belts, all you really need is a degreaser, a magic sponge or brush, and a microfiber cloth.

If you have not cleaned them for a long time, then you will need a lot of time to clean them completely.

Check my guide: How To Clean Dirty Car Seat Belts

To safely clean dirty car seat belts, you should:

  1. Pull the seat belt all the way out and lock it with a clip
  2. Spray the seat belt with a degreaser
  3. Scrub the seat belt with the magic eraser or a brush
  4. Wipe off the seat belt with a clean microfiber towel
  5. Apply fabric protectant on the seat belts

Trust me. It’s the only proper way to clean seat belts. Using a pressure washer will make the whole process quicker and easier, but you don’t want to ruin the seat belt webbing material.

The Older The Material, The Worse The Properties!

Also, the older the material, the worse its properties. Accordingly, if you are a proud owner of an older vehicle or possibly an old-timer, you need to think carefully about your vehicle’s condition, which needs to be cleaned.

Safety belt webbings, if they’re very old, are already weakened. Washing them only once with a pressure washer will weaken them even more, if not destroy them.

So, if you thought of a quick method for washing old seat belts – there isn’t one. Take your time, and clean safety belts in a safe way that won’t destroy them.

Safety Before Cleanliness

car safety belts

Even though we all like it when everything is clean and appealing, with seat belts, the thing is different. Safety should always be in the first place, not cleanliness.

If your safety belts are very dirty, there’s a big chance that you won’t be able to clean them completely.

The only way you could clean them is by using a pressure washer, but as I said, you should never do that.

If you really want nice-looking seat belts, my advice for you is to buy new seat belt webbings.

That way, you’ll get nice-looking seat belts but also a new set of webbings that are strong, flexible, and durable that won’t break in the case of force braking or an accident.

The Risks of Damaged Seat Belt Webbing

When seat belt webbing is damaged, it can lead to:

  • Seat Belt Malfunction: A damaged seat belt may fail to function correctly during a crash.
  • Reduced Protection: If the webbing is weakened, it may not be able to withstand the force of a collision, leading to the seat belt breaking or failing to restrain the passenger properly.
  • Increased Risk of Injury: This can result in severe injuries or even fatalities that could have been prevented with a fully functioning seat belt.


In any case, my recommendation is not to use a high-pressure cleaner to clean seat belts, as it can do more harm than good.

I think that in this article, I gave you all the justified reasons why using a pressure washer isn’t the smart option when it comes to safety belt cleaning.

I always vote for handwashing them since it’s the safest way out there. Nobody wants their seat belts to break in situations when we really need them to protect us.

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