Step by Step Guide to Cleaning Car Seats

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Kids are lovely but can also be messy especially when on their car seats. They can mess up their safety seat by unlimited things be it spilled milk, dropped snacks, blown-out diapers, drool, spit-up, vomit or anything else you can imagine like candy or even cane. This can easily make the child safety seat a breeding ground for germs.

In fact, scientists at the University of Birmingham have found that children’s car seats have twice as many harmful germs as the average toilet seat. That’s not healthy and hygienic for little one.

And after discovering the findings of this study, you’ll want to keep it as clean as you can.

However, cleaning a child car seat isn’t an easy job. You need to disassemble the entire car seat and clean different parts separately. You would then need to reassemble it and put it back in the car. This often leads to ignoring the cleaning schedule by the parents which leads to accumulated dirt and grime.

Nevertheless, it is important that you regularly clean the child seat for the sake of health of your child.

That’s why we present you with this blog post which will help you breakdown the entire cleaning process in easy step-by-step process so that you know what and how to do while cleaning the child seat.

Let’s begin with our step-by-step guide:

1. Choose the right time for cleaning your child’s car seats
It’s an important recommendation before you start cleaning the child seat. You need to choose the right time for cleaning it. Choose a sunny day for the chores so that the washable car seat parts can get dried easily.

Also, make sure that you don’t have any urgent travel with your child on that day as in that case you’ll have to travel with your child without his safety seat. It’s especially important if you don’t have a backup child safety seat.

2. Remove the child car seat
Now, once you have decided the right day for this chores, waste no time and begin the cleaning. You need to first start with removing the seat from the car. For this, first disconnect straps or latches that connect the car seat to your vehicle. If it’s an infant seat with the latch system, make sure to disconnect the plastic base also.

The plastic base can get accumulated with dirt, dust and debris can fall into its nooks and crannies too. If you are not sure about how to remove the child seat, you can refer to the instructions in the owner’s manual. Removing the seat will help you to wash the seat thoroughly without climbing into the car and getting everything messy.

3. Clean up loose debris or any major mess
The next step is to clean up loose debris, bits of food particles or crumbs from the child seat. You can use a vacuum cleaner to easily get rid of the debris.

If you can’t use a vacuum, you can instead use a brush to clean all the debris. If you don’t want to use a brush, you can give a good shake to the seat both right side up and upside down. After you have brushed, shook or vacuumed the car seat, you can use wipes or paper towel to wipe remaining debris.

Another thing to note is that if there is any major mess such as vomit or urine spills, you’ll have to clear it up immediately.

4. Remove the fabric cover
Next, remove the cover from the car seat. The owner’s manual has all the instructions for both removing and replacing the cover. The manual will also have specific cleaning instructions for the cover. Make sure that you are well-versed of the cleaning instructions before you actually start washing the cover.

5. Remove the harness straps and buckle
Next, remove the harness straps and buckle from the plastic body of the seat. Just like the fabric cover, the manual also has instructions for removing and replacing the harness and straps. It also has specific cleaning and drying instructions for the harness and straps. Make sure that you check all those instructions especially for the harness and straps as it needs to be removed, replaced as well as cleaned and dried with care being a safety equipment for the child seat.

6. Clean the cover
Now, it’s time to wash the cover. The best way to clean it is hand -wash. Hand-wash the cover using cold water and mild soap. It’s best not to use bleach or machine wash the cover. However, if the owner’s manual says it’s safe to machine-wash the cover, then there shouldn’t be any issue.

If you are machine-washing it, make sure that you run it on delicate cycle. Aain don’t tumble dry it after the wash cycle is finished. For more clarity on machine-washing and drying, refer to the user guide.

7. Clean the straps & buckle
After you have washed the cover, it’s time to wash the harness and straps. Generally, it is not recommended to machine-wash or dry them. Similarly, using household detergents, solvents or lubricants is also not recommended. Soaking them is also not recommended. You can use running warm water and mild soap to clean it. For more details on the suitable cleaning products for the harness and straps, refer back to the manual.

8. Clean the plastic base
If your car seat has a plastic base, clean it using a damp cloth or sponge, warm water, and a mild detergent. To prevent water and mold buildup, rotate the seat a few times after you have rinsed it. Use a disinfecting wipe to gently sanitize the plastic base. Let the seat air dry.

9. Dry the cover
Now, let the cover dry for several hours under sunshine and fresh-air. It helps to prevent mold build-up and bad odor. Check the user guide for drying instructions and if machine-dry is not recommended then avoid it.

10. Air-dry the straps and buckle
Now, put the straps and buckle to air-dry in open air and sunshine. Never place harness straps in the dryer, or use a hot blow dryer on them. Extreme heat can even damage the tensile strength.

Also make sure the inside of the buckle is thoroughly dry to prevent any rusting or corrosion.

11. Reassemble the car seat

Now, after the seat cover, straps and buckle is dry, it’s time to put back the car seat in its place. If you have never done an installation and it’s your first time, again the user guide will come handy. Refer to it for installing back the car seat properly. There are also many demonstration videos available online. You can also check them and if the process is still not clear, don’t hesitate to call the car seat manufacturer for help.

Final word

So, that was a step-by-step guide for cleaning your child’s car seat. As already mentioned many times above, your user guide/owner’s manual is the best place for handy assistance.