How To Clean Baby Car Seats At Home: 5 Quick & Easy Steps

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beige toddler car seat

You can’t prevent car seats from getting dirty if you often travel with your toddlers. It’s just impossible. Vomiting, eating, and drinking all contribute to soiling children’s car seats. Luckily, cleaning baby car seats at home isn’t hard, and today I’m going to show you five quick and easy steps to clean children’s car seats.

Quick steps you need to take to clean baby car seat:

  • Vacuum the seat
  • Spray fabric cleaner
  • Steam clean the seat or agitate the area with the brush
  • Extract the water from the seat using a wet vac
  • Dry the seat

You should always strive to have spotless baby seats in your car, and there are numerous reasons for that (which I’ll discuss later). So, make sure to read the whole article and learn the proper way of cleaning toddler car seats.

5 Steps For Cleaning Toddler Car Seats In Your Car

I’ll try to keep this short and to the point. That way, you’ll quickly adopt all the necessary information to make your toddler car seats spottles in no time.


Vacuuming is the essential part, and you can’t do any other step without vacuuming the seats first. In order to get as clean seats as possible, you should remove all the trash, dirt, and dust particles from the seats.

Since children’s car seats are so small, it’ll only take a minute or two to vacuum them thoroughly. Just take the vacuum hose and clean the dirt from all the nooks and crannies, especially under the seat covers.

Pay close attention to hard-to-reach areas since most of the dirt will be trapped there. Another thing, turn the seat upside down and thoroughly vacuum any dust or cobwebs you see.

Applying Fabric Cleaner

Fabric cleaners (also called carpet and upholstery cleaners) are products you’ll need to remove all the dirt and stains from the baby car seats. Without them, it’ll be impossible to get that spotless look.

Use upholstery cleaner and spray the seat. Pay specific attention to the dirtier parts since these stains will come off harder. Once you spray the whole seat, wait a minute, and you can do the next step.

Also, don’t forget to clean all the plastics on the seat, especially from the bottom, where most of the dust usually caught up. Fabric cleaners are also safe on plastic, so no worries.

Steam Cleaning The Seat (Or Agitating With a Brush)

Now that the fabric cleaner has had enough time to act against stains, you should agitate it further to break up all the dirt and make the seat clean. For this, I like to use a steam cleaner and go all over the car seat to clean as many stains as possible. Just make sure to use a microfiber towel over the steam gun – that’ll make the cleaning part easier, quicker, and in the end, safer for the car seat fabrics.

You can buy steamers for as low as $20, and it’s a worthy investment for every home. However, if you don’t have it, don’t worry. Another way of agitating the stains is to use a soft detailing brush.

Just take a brush and thoroughly scrub the toddler car seat. If you spot some hard-to-remove stains, you can apply a bit more fabric cleaner and agitate it further.

The best combination so far is to use both steamer and brush, that way, you’ll be able to remove the most stains from toddler car seats.

Using Wet Vac To Extract The Water

Removing the dirt from the seats is extremely easy now that you have agitated the dirt. All you need is a wet vac or carpet extractor. Here’s a quick way of turning your wet vac into a carpet extractor.

Just take the extractor attachment and use a wet vac to suck up as much dirt and water from the seats as possible. During this process, you can also use a bit more fabric cleaner, which will help to remove the most stubborn dirt.

Suppose you don’t have a wet vac or carpet extractor, no worries. You can take a clean and dry microfiber towel and wipe the area with it, allowing the towel to soak as much moisture as possible. Just make sure to press it hard and scrub until all the dirt and water are gone.

Using a microfiber towel will require some elbow grease, but it’s the cheapest option. Also, you’ll probably need two or three microfiber towels to do this properly.

Drying The Child Car Seat Covers

Even though you’ll vacuum the most water and dirt from the seats using wet vac or carpet extractor, they won’t be completely dry. To keep healthy for your kids, you should dry car seat covers as soon as you finish washing them.

If there’s a way to disassemble the cover from the seat, even better, hang dry it.

After a few hours, once the car seat is completely dry, you can reassemble it inside your vehicle, and you’re good to go for a few months.

Here’s a great video explaining all the steps thoroughly, so make sure to check it out:

Why It’s Important To Clean Baby Car Seats

I think that there’s no need to explain all the benefits of cleaning baby car seats or the dangers of not cleaning them. Yet, let’s mention a few of them quickly.

Reasons to clean child car seats:

  • Removes dirt, stains, viruses, and bacteria
  • Reduces the chances of your child getting allergies
  • It makes driving inside the seat much healthier and more comfortable
  • You’ll prolong the lifespan of car seats
  • Car seats will have a higher selling price if maintained well (once you don’t need them anymore)

How Often To Clean Infant Car Seats?

In general, you should clean baby car seats every two to three months as a part of regular maintenance. However, if the baby or someone else gets them dirty, it’s ideal to get rid of the stains as soon as possible.

What you should do weekly is vacuum the car seat. That way, you’ll always clean any dust and debris and prevent the buildup on the seat.

Can You Wash Car Seat Covers In The Washing Machine?

You may wonder if it’s possible to wash infant car seat covers in the washing machine. Well, in theory, it is for most of them. However, not all baby car seat covers are detachable from the seat, and that’s why you should always read the manual before attempting anything.

There are a few cons of washing seat covers in the washing machine:

  • You may have trouble re-installing them back to the seat
  • Fabrics may shrink
  • Colors may fade

Also, if you decide to wash them in the washing machine, use only liquid detergents, and don’t use fabric softeners, especially if your baby is still very young.

Final Words

As you can see above, washing children’s car seats isn’t problematic, and it takes only 15-20 minutes of work (without the drying part). I think washing car seats is essential if you want the best for your child, especially their health.

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