Best Way to Remove Car Seat Stains on Fabric by Yourself


There is no one better to Remove Car Seat Stains than a Homemaker/Seamstress.

Ha! Are you telling me that a store-bought product can be a better choice against my experience?

I have dealt with food, blood, dirt, ink, glue, and all sort of drinks stains on my whole house and fabrics. Even from my three dogs and their fluids…

So yes. When I am in need of removing a car fabric seat stain, I will make my own cleaning mixture. One with ingredients that I already have in my household is way less risky to damage my car.

And today, I will share this homemaker’s process to clean your car seats the BEST way. I will also share with you the best store-bought brand products to remove different kinds of stains from fabrics. 

So keep reading until the end.

remove car seat stain

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One thing you have to know about me is that I like clean, shiny, and perfectly organized spaces.

Despite what you might think, my car is one of the cleanest spaces I own.

I never leave things lying around. And I definitely don’t eat inside it. 

Well… I might have sneaked a bag of chips or two. But I always vacuum afterward. And never wet food!

That’s why I was so surprised when I found this ugly stain on the seat a couple of weeks ago when I opened the back door.

remove car seat stain

Stains are easier to remove right after they happen.

What the heck was that, and how on earth did it get there?

At first, I was mad because if someone threw something in my car… Why didn’t they tell me?

Stains are easier to remove when you clean them right after they happen.

So, common courtesy would have been telling me so I could do something about it right then.

Anyways… After I had two extra minutes to think, I calmed down. 

Maybe they didn’t know. Perhaps I was to blame! I am pretty clumsy sometimes. In any case, that stain had to be cleaned. 

As I didn’t know what was the composition of that stain I decided to play it safe and use my basic fabric cleaning mixture.

I use the same mixture to deep clean my couch and cushions.

Let’s dig into it.


  1. Ingredients to avoid.
  2. Things NOT to do When you Clean your Car Seat.
  3. How to Remove Car Seat Stains on Fabric. Easy Homemade Recipe. 
    1. Vacuum your Seat
    2. Prepare the Mixture.
    3. Test on a corner.
    4. Scrub with foam.
    5. Wipe 
    6. Clean with a slightly dampened cloth
    7. Dry it out.
    8. Use more Baking Soda.
    9. Vacuum 
  4. What can I include in my Emergency Car Cleaning Kit?
  5. What is the Best Brand of cleaner to Remove Car Seat Stains?

How can I clean Car Fabric Seat Stains Easily? Ingredients to avoid.

There are many options out there depending on the type of stain your car seat has. If you don’t know what kind of stain you have, then go for a laundry detergent and baking soda mixture.

Baking Soda is the best cleaning ingredient in the world. I use it for everything, even to make toilet cleaning lemon pods.

This type of mixture will remove any stain 90% of the time.

Avoid using ingredients that you have never used to clean things before. Car seats can be very easily damaged. And as you might know, once a permanent mistake happens… you can’t go back.

If my baking soda and laundry detergent mixture don’t work, you can try one of my recommended car seat cleaning solutions.

I am telling you this because most of the recommended ingredients to clean fabric seats out there suggest risky components.

If you don’t have any experience cleaning with things like vinegar, club soda, toothpaste, or nail polish remover (please don’t use nail polish remover!), you can accidentally make things worse.

If you don’t remove the vinegar correctly your car will stink for weeks!

Club Soda might actually stain the seat more and leave you with a humidity smell.

Other things… Well, you can imagine.

So try my technique first. If you don’t see the same results as me, go for a brand name cleaner.

Before I teach you my cleaning technique, please read what things you should avoid while doing it.

Things NOT to do When you Clean your Car Seat.

Leave the stain sitting for too long. 

The longer you leave a stain sitting and drying on fabrics and leather, the harder it will be to clean it. Most fabric cars have open woven fabrics, and that makes them prompt to catch and absorb liquids and small particles easier. So, if you leave a stain for a long time, it will dry and get attached to the fabric.

Avoid using stiff brushes. 

Fabrics shed. All fabrics are made of tiny threads that are woven to create a canvas. Those threads can break tough and leave a “hairy” look on the surface. To avoid that happening to you, choose a soft and small brush. You can even use a Silicone Sponge. They are way gentile when cleaning fabrics.

Scrubbing too hard.

Scrubbing a stain too hard can do two things to your car seat. One is that it can damage the fabric fibers, breaking them. The other one is that you can spread the stain further if you push the seat too hard.  We are trying to isolate the stain. That’s why we need to do this nice and soft.

Not cleaning the dirt first.

What happens when you mix dirt and water? Mud! Mud happens. While it was a blast playing with mud as a kid. As an adult with a car is not that fun. Remove the dust and dirt before applying any kind of wet mixture to your car seat stain. You can use a cloth or, even better vacuum entirely before cleaning.

Damping the seat with water or soap.

This is a mistake that I learned the hard way. You should never use a fully damped cloth to clean a cushion or a seat. Nothing that has the property to absorb and keep water. Even if it is not that much water, leaving the seat wet to the touch can cause humidity issues like bad odor or mold. 

Cleaning just the stain instead of the whole sit.

I have to assume that you have had your car for more than a day. Even if you don’t. And your car is brand new. If you use any kind of ingredient and you put it in your sits, it will make that part different. So, if you use the mixture to clean only the spot where the stain is, what will happen is that that part is going to look clearer than the rest of the seat. Why? Because you clean that part and not the whole thing.

Using Lemon. 

I have no idea why using lemon is suggested to clean car sits. But if you know anything about how natural fabric dyes work, you will know that lemon juice is another kind of stain waiting to happen.

Using Cheap Brand Cleaners.

The reason why I am cleaning my car with a homemade recipe is not that I want to save money. Is because it is the safest way for me to do it. Don’t get me wrong. I love a good bargain as much as the next gal. But getting a low-quality product just to save money on something as expensive as a car is not a good decision. If it fails it can end up costing me more to replace the seat.

Don’t allow the car to dry appropriately.

Correct me if I am wrong. But there is no such thing as pure water anymore. Tab water, the one we normally use for everything is already treated. So it’s very possible that if there is any water left on your seat while cleaning it, even if it is clean water, it will form a ring. That and the odor is why I take an extra step in my cleaning process.

How to Remove Car Seat Stains on Fabric. Easy Homemade Recipe. 

remove car seat stain

Mixture Ingredients:


1. Vacuum your Seat

As we said above in the “What-not-to-do” section we need to clean any dirt or dust out of the surface of the seats. 

If we don’t then the mixture will mix with the dust and it will create a layer of mud. That is only going to make it harder for you to clean. 

So vacuum the seats thoroughly and make sure that are dust-free. If you don’t have a vacuum use your clean cloth to try and remove as much as you can.

2. Prepare the Mixture.

To make the mixture that will remove the car seat stains, first put the 4 cups of water to boil. 

Once boiled let cool for about 15 minutes, or until the water is very warm but not burning hot.

Mix the Baking Soda and the Laundry Detergent in. Use a kitchen whisk to make a lot of foam with this mixture.

3. Test on a corner.

Before trying to put the mixture on the whole stain, test it first on the furthest and less likely to be seen the edge of the stain.

We are going to see if the mixture works for your kind of stain. If you see that it starts to come out then proceed with the rest of the seat.

4. Scrub with the foam only.

If you are going to take any lesson about this tutorial is this one. Clean from the edges to the center.

If you do it in reverse you will push the stain out of its edge and you will end up making it bigger.

On the contrary, if you clean it from the outside it will contain the stain.

Now you are going to use the whisk to make as much foam out of the mixture as you can. We are going to use only the foam to clean our car.

The reason for doing this is to avoid getting too much water on the seat. 

Believe me, you don’t want that. I made that mistake with my bed while trying to clean it out… 

It ended up smelling like humidity for days!

Take a small amount of foam with the toothbrush and make circular motions to loosen up the stain.

5. Wipe right after.

After you begin seeing that the foam is changing colors (because of the stain) remove it with your clear/white cloth.

This will avoid the liquid to get absorbed too much by the fabrics. And it will be easier and faster to dry.

Repeat this process until the cloth comes out clean.

7. Clean with a slightly dampened cloth.

Remember how I told you that you shouldn’t clean only the stain spot? 

Use a clean cloth that is -almost- dry and pass it through the entire seat, this time starting from the center of the stain out.

This will even up the look of the seat removing any leftover dirt if any.

6. Use the Towel to Dry it out.

Take the towel and press it against the seat using as much weight as you can. 

The towel needs to absorb as much water and wetness as possible. Use two towels if you think is necessary.

7. Use more Baking Soda.

remove car seat stain

Before letting it dry by itself we are going to make something to make the drying process better.

Sprinkle 1 or 2 tablespoons of baking soda on all the seats. 

This will help absorb any humidity and get rid of bad odors that the stain or the water might have caused.

8. Vacuum 

Finally, vacuum the baking soda out of the car seat. It should be as good as new!

Planning Ahead. Emergency Kit to Remove Car Seat Stains.

Accidents happen!!

And some accidents are worse to fix than others. That’s why I suggest you have these “emergency cleaning kits” in your car at all times. That way, if something happens you will be able to act as soon as possible.

What can I include in my Emergency Car Cleaning Kit?

  • Wet Wipes
  • Towel
  • Baking Soda
  • A spray bottle with your mixture
  • A soft brush
  • Waterproof container to store it all.

What is the Best Brand of cleaner to Remove Car Seat Stains?

These are the best brands of products you can use to remove the stains of your car, according to users.

Do you have more tips to clean a car sit?? Let me know in the comments!

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