Car stains are a regular part of life for most vehicles. This is especially true if you have pets or kids. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with unsightly car stains. Whether you’re tackling cloth cleaning or leather cleaning, most stains are easily managed in a few steps with products you probably have in your home. Try these tactics to freshen up your seats and get your car back in top condition.
How Can I Remove a Stain From Cloth Seats?
Cloth seats are a comfortable option, but they can soak up spills easily. If you have car stains on your cloth upholstery, use these cloth cleaning steps to get them looking like new.
Before you begin the process of deep cleaning your cloth upholstery, you need to thoroughly vacuum the area to make sure you’ve captured as much dust, dirt, and debris as possible. Use a wand attachment to get into small cracks and crevices, such as the area between the back and the seat. You can also use compressed air in small areas to blow dirt up and out. This might work if there’s a slim area between the seat and the center console that you can’t quite get into.
It’s important to vacuum up as much dirt as you can because anything left behind will get moistened and ground into the seats in the following steps. Suck it up now for the best results later.
Spot clean stains on the seats. There are several cleaning solutions that you can use for this. Though you’ll find a plethora of commercial cleaning products on the market, you may already have what you need in the kitchen. Some simple DIY cleansers include:
- Club soda: Made with potassium citrate and potassium bicarbonate, club soda is an effective cleaning agent for minor stains.
- Laundry detergent: Laundry detergent diluted in warm water can remove moderate to serious stains on your upholstery.
- Vinegar and dish soap: Mix a cup of vinegar and a few drops of dish soap into a gallon of hot water. Blend thoroughly to make a powerful cleaning solution that can tackle the majority of stains.
It’s easiest to apply these cleansers with a spray bottle so you can get an even application that doesn’t saturate the area too heavily. Always test cleaning solutions in an inconspicuous area first to make sure they don’t damage the upholstery in any way. Once you’re satisfied that the solution is safe for your seats, spray evenly over the affected area. Use a soft scrub brush to work the cleaner into the surface of the upholstery. Let it sit for five minutes.
If you have a steam cleaner, you can proceed to the next step. If not, wipe down the seats with a microfiber cloth to soak up any remaining moisture and remove the rest of the cleaning product from the seat. If you have some visible suds from the dish soap or laundry detergent, wipe down the seat with a wet cloth, then follow with a dry one.
Steam-Clean the Seats
If you don’t have significant staining on your upholstery, you can skip straight to this step. A good steam cleaning is sufficient for most minor or moderate stains on the upholstery. Steam-clean the entire seat and not just the stained area. If you only clean a portion of the seat, you will likely notice a difference in color. Even though the rest of the upholstery may not be visibly stained, it’s likely discolored from regular wear.
Work quickly with the steam cleaner so you don’t oversaturate the area. If there’s a crevice tool on your steam cleaner, use this to finish up and run along the edges. If you don’t have a steam cleaner, consider visiting a professional service center for this deep clean.
Dry and Vacuum
It should take approximately four to six hours for the upholstery to dry completely. If possible, leave the car overnight before you sit on the seats again. Vacuum once more to remove the dirt that was loosened and brought to the surface by the steam cleaning.
Getting Your Leather Seats Back to New
Leather car upholstery requires regular care to maintain its rich and lustrous appearance. You should follow most of these leather cleaning steps on a routine basis, cleaning and conditioning the seats every one to three months depending on use.
Vacuum With a Brush Attachment
Always start by vacuuming dirt and dust. Use a brush attachment so you don’t scuff or scratch the leather seats.
Spot Treat Stains
You can use one of several DIY cleaners to spot clean stains on leather seats.
- Castile soap: Dilute one part Castile soap in five parts water and wipe gently over the stained area. Don’t saturate the seat.
- Olive oil and vinegar: Mix one part vinegar with two parts olive oil in a spray bottle. Apply to the stain and let sit for five minutes.
- Toothpaste: Apply a small amount of non-gel toothpaste to the stain and rub with a soft toothbrush.
Apply Leather Cleaner and Conditioner
Apply a leather cleaner and conditioner to the entire surface of the seat, following the directions on the bottle. This will remove any grime on the seat, so you don’t have a single clean spot that now stands out on an otherwise dingy surface. Use smooth circular motions with a soft brush to work the conditioner in.
Dry and Buff the Seats
Wipe any excess cleaner and conditioner off with a damp microfiber cloth. Use a dry microfiber cloth to buff the newly cleaned seats to a beautiful shine. Continue wiping until the leather is completely dry, switching to a second cloth if needed.
Give Your Car the Care It Needs
Routine care and service is important to keep your vehicle looking and feeling like new. Our service center at Huffines Hyundai McKinney can help you keep your car in prime condition year after year. If it’s time to start thinking about a new vehicle, we have some of the best car specials in McKinney to help you get into a great vehicle at an affordable price.