Today, the average amount of time spent in our cars is so much that our car’s interior falls easy prey for stains and odor. Clean car seats are not only good for your health but also gives you the peace of mind you need while on the road driving to work or somewhere else.
To remove odors from car seats, you need to have a little knowledge of the science behind it. First, you need to understand that upholstery fabrics vary widely, as do the structural composition of stains.
But in my experience, there is no one-size-fits-all cleaning method or solution to this problem. Still, some ways are more suitable than others, as there is an appropriate cleaner for every fabric and car’s interior.
Do not just keep your exterior clean and leave the interior looking like a pigsty. A clean interior lets you drive in peace. Below are some of the best ways to clean odors and stains from car seats:
To begin with, I test my stain remover on a hidden spot before I use it, as some stain removers may ruin car upholstery. Next, I pre-treat stubborn stains on the leather fabric using a leather conditioner before I apply a leather stain remover and rub it. I then let it undisturbed for half a minute then wipe off the remover.
For ink stains, rub a mixture of alcohol and water on it and wipe with a damp, clean cloth. Greasy and oily stains require a watered-down paint thinner method and cotton cloth.
Coffee stains, on the other hand, require cold water and a paper towel for blotting, which is better than scrubbing. Dishwashing liquid and warm water can also be used. Use a hairdryer to dry the spot, but hold it some inches away to avoid scorching your upholstery.
Vomit stains should be cleaned as soon as possible using mild soap and warm water. Use club soda to neutralize the stain and then blot using a cloth. A mixture of baking soda and water may also be used to absorb the smell.
While bloodstains can be tough to remove, using cold water and blotting it until the stain lifts may help. However, avoid hot water and soap.
2. Cleaning Fabric Upholstery
Here, I use a homemade, all-purpose upholstery cleaner, as I don’t see the need to use a lot of money on commercial grade cleaners. I usually make my cleaner using natural ingredients (I mix equal amounts of dishwashing liquid and water in a jar before putting it in a spray bottle). I recommend you use a soft-bristled brush and a microfiber cloth for drying the area.
A mixture of borax, soap, and hot water has also worked magic for me. Grate a bar soap; take six parts and mix with two parts of borax, then add two cups of hot water. For fragrance, you may add ten drops of lavender oil, but you can skip this part if you wish.
Anyway, allow it to cool before whipping it using a whisk until foamy. Use a soft-bristled brush to apply the foam, then rinse using warm water and a clean rag.
The reason I avoid commercial cleaners is that they tend to use harsher chemicals, which don’t react so well with car upholstery. However, I recommend you rent a steam cleaner for this job. It is cheap in a grocery store near you. But be keen to change the water in it often to avoid using dirty water to clean your car upholstery.
For seams, I use a toothbrush to remove the dirt and debris that settle there over time, as a vacuum or cloth cannot reach these hard-to-clean areas. On the other hand, a lint roller is useful for removing hair, crumbs, and pet fur on my car seats.
But if you have vinyl upholstery, which is the easiest to clean, spray an all-purpose glass cleaner, then use a soft cloth to wipe. You may also use baking soda and water.
Lastly, cleaning leather requires more keenness and gentleness, as the fabric is more prone to fading and aging. Use cleaners and conditioners specially made for leather, or better yet, a leather cleaning kit for leather fabric would suffice. Vacuuming your car is also an option, but you can also hire a professional detailer to remove odors and smell from your car seats.