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Clean car seat

How To Get Stains Out Of Car Seats

Car interiors take a beating over time and it is inevitable that, through use, dirt and stains will begin to occur. With care however it is possible to maintain that ’new’ look by taking care of the upholstery, both leather and fabric. Stains for example can be troublesome and you would be right in thinking that a stain is a stain, whatever the cause, but there are some subtle differences. Here’s how to go about keeping your car interior showroom fresh.

You Will Need:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Bucket of clean, fresh warm water.
  • Selection of clean microfibre cloths.
  • Purpose-designed drying towel.
  • Suitable branded cleaning product.
  • Small soft and hard bristle brushes.
  • Fabric or leather protection.

How to get water stains out of car seats

It’s easy to think that spilt water will simple dry out. Yes, it will, but it will likely also leave behind drying marks caused by the minerals in the liquid, marring the look of the upholstery. Better to deal with it straight away.

The first step is to vacuum the seat. This will remove any loose dirt or ingrained grit and the like. Next use a good quality upholstery cleaner that is right for the seat material; cloth, vinyl, suede or leather. Most good cleaning products work on all types of material but make sure by testing a small area. Bear in mind too that leather needs a different procedure. A regular interior cleaner will be fine for vinyl; one that cleans interior plastics and so on.

Spray or apply the cleaner to the affected area, working it in gently with a brush and leave it for the recommended period. Using a damp, not wet, microfibre cloth, wipe away the residue, rinsing often. It may take more than one attempt. Basically, if the cleaning cloth shows no further evidence of dirt, then the job’s done. Any moisture remaining could be soaked up with a soft drying towel. Allow to finally air dry.

Top Tip: while you are there, is it worth while cleaning the whole seat or seats? Cleaning one area alone might make the rest look shabby. That way too, after the cleaning is done, it makes sense to carefully apply a fabric or leather protection, one that, importantly, will not harm the material, ensuring the product instructions are followed to the letter. That way it is possible to protect the material from further staining. It lasts a long time too.

How to get rid of water stains on leather car seats

As soon as the spillage occurs, or as quickly as possible, blot up any excess liquid. Try not to let it dry. Leather is especially porous. Later on leather seats, as above, vacuum the seat first and moisten the area with a damp microfibre cloth. Then apply a leather-suitable spray-on cleaner sparingly and wait as per the instructions. Crucially, the cleaner should be a product that contains essential oils to keep the leather supple. If necessary, work the product in with a soft brush.

Top Tip: Microfibre cloths are ideal for interior cleaning because they are especially absorbent and the microfibre construction is great for collecting small particles. Rinse often. Use a purpose designed drying towel to soak up any excess moisture.

Wipe away the residue with a soft, damp microfibre cloth, rinsing often, until the stain has gone. Again, why not apply a protective coat to the newly cleaned seat? See the ‘water stain’ Top Tip above. It may make sense to clean all the seats while you are working. See this article for how to go about it.

How to remove mud stains from car seats

Mud. It comes inside the car on boots, shoes and outdoor clothing and can get onto a car’s upholstery. Children are especially guilty. Try to remove most at the time as otherwise the mud will dry. It’s not an issue but it pays to minimise the problem.

For dry mud or heavy dirt the trick is to give the fabric seat material a good and thorough brushing with a stiff brush to loosen and shake off the muck. Use a soft brush on leather. Then, thoroughly vacuum the area, subsequently applying a cleaner, sponging the material with a damp cloth to wipe away the residue.

How to remove chocolate stains from a car seat

Chocolate has the same consistency as dry mud, especially if it has not hardened. It is important not to try and remove chocolate stains when soft, it will just work its way further into the material.

Top Tip: An ice block or ice wrapped in a cloth, applied to the surface, will help the chocolate to harden quickly.

Taking care not to damage the cloth, especially leather or suede, scrape away any excess and then follow the procedure for mud.

How to remove coffee stains from a car seat

Coffee is the motorists mobile drink of choice, freely available from outlets in handy paper or reusable cups. Those convenient containers are carried into the car and are an accident wait to happen.

When the inevitable spillage happens try, if safe to do so, to mop up the excess quickly. Coffee stains should be removed with the same basic method as indicated above but with one important addition if the coffee contains milk; milk sours and causes a bad smell. Be thorough. A deodoriser might be needed.

How to remove grease stains from car seats

Any home mechanic will tell you how easy it is to transfer grease onto car upholstery. Grease stains certainly, but at least should be slower in drying. Take that opportunity to scrape away as much as possible with a plastic scraper; a window ice scraper is ideal. Keep the tool at an angle and gently scrape away, using a clean cloth to mop up any residue. Don’t be aggressive, it will only push the grease further into the material. Note: In this case and as with oil, vacuuming serves no purpose; you’ll only spread it around.

Moisten the area with a soft damp cloth and allow to soak, then apply the cleaning product as previously described and as per the instructions, subsequently wiping away with a soft cloth.

How to remove oil stains from cloth car seats

The longer it is left the more it will be absorbed so act fast, applying the same technique as for grease. Remember though, unlike the other pollutants oil is not soluble in water. It may take a couple of applications to remove any last contamination.

When these accidents happen and remedial action is needed it makes sense to detail the whole of the interior, vacuuming thoroughly, cleaning the upholstery and throughout. At this stage it makes absolute sense to apply a long-lasting protective coat, one that does not harm the material, to the fabric, helping to make spillage damage a thing of the past. It will help the resale value too!

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