How to Clean a Car Seat – Top Tips From Parents

One thing that other parents will always tell you is that after having children it’s nearly impossible to keep your home and car clean. Whether there are toys taking over the living room, freshly washed and ironed clothes on every stair or crumbs all over the back seats of the car; these little people certainly make their presence known – but let’s be honest, we wouldn’t swap it for anything!

While it’s definitely difficult to keep your home and car clean after having a child, it is possible. We all have our own methods of tidying up and have a few secret tricks for removing stains but when it comes to child car seats it’s often a bit more difficult to keep them looking and smelling fresh and clean.

As part of our focus on car seat safety and our car seat design competition in partnership with Britax Romer, we spoke to a number of parents to find out their top tips for cleaning child car seats. We wanted to find out what methods they use to remove stains, and to find out if any of the “old wives tales” are actually viable and effective methods of cleaning a child’s car seat.

Buy a car seat with easily removable, washable covers

Jaime Oliver from The Oliver’s Madhouse points out one approach that can be highly effective in cleaning your child’s car seat, but one that many parents overlook when they buy a car seat. “For me, buying a car seat that has easily removable covers might sound obvious but some car seats don’t have removable, washable covers – shocking I know!”

This is something that Laura Dove from Five Little Doves also recommends. She told us “My tip would always be to choose a car seat with an easily removable cover (you won’t regret it!) Also, remember to disinfect the seat itself including the straps and buckles as car seats collect all kinds of hidden nasties!”

Don’t use harsh cleaning chemicals

While it’s natural instinct to reach for the cleaning products when we see a stain or can’t put up with an odour any longer, doing so can be harmful when it comes to your child and their car seat. Instead, Mark Hirst from Dad’s Bible has his own recommendation. He told us “I use a steamer on the car when I clean my car. I find this not only cleans the seat well, but it also sanitizes the fabric and any plastic the seat has. The only thing you have to remember is to do the whole seat to prevent any water marks appearing.”

Leave it overnight, and if in doubt take photos!

There’s nothing worse than cleaning something only to find it’s not dried when you need it again. When it comes to cleaning your child’s car seat you don’t want to put them in a slightly damp seat for the duration of your journey. Sabina Green from Deep in Mummy Matters has this recommendation that involves no washing at all: “For light spills and mess sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on the seat and leave it overnight. The following day vacuum out the seat and it will smell as good as new.”

Sabina also has a suggestion for more stubborn stains. “For bigger messes where you need to remove the covers to wash them, take photos or videos as you remove them so you can see in reverse how to put them back on again. You often think it’s simple until you go to put it back and can’t remember what goes where! Whilst the covers are in the wash, take the opportunity to give the seat a good clean with the vacuum and antibacterial spray.”

If your car seat covers are a little too far gone then Britax Romer and a number of other leading manufacturers do offer replacement seat covers, which can also be used if you need to go out with the little one and your cover isn’t quite dry.

Remove the seat before you clean

We’ve all cleaned around things from time to time, especially when we’re in a rush, but Henry Elliss from The Mediocre Dad says we need to ensure we remove the seat before cleaning to get all the dust and dirt. He said “My only tip is to take the seat out of the car before attempting a clean. If your kids are anything like mine, they will have got biscuit crumbs and crisp dust in every single nook and cranny. So taking the car seat out, and unfolding it if possible, will allow you to get the hoover into all the cracks and crevices.”

Avoid having food in the car altogether

Of course, you could take a different approach to snack times in order to keep your car and the child seat clean. Jaime from The Oliver’s Madhouse said “I avoid having food in the car. The knock-on effect of eating in the car not only causes dirt to build up on the car seat in the first place, but the crumbs and debris from food can cause serious issues with safety by clogging up the mechanisms.”

Run a lint roller over the fabric

If one top tip wasn’t enough, Mark from Dad’s Bible gave us another great and inexpensive piece of advice to help keep the car seat dust free. “I carry a lint roller in the glove box. Each week I run the roller over the fabric to ensure there are no loose bits on the surface. I mean, we know just how messy our little ones can be, right!”

For more tips on how to clean child car seats and car seat fitting advice from the experts, head over to our blog now. Alternatively, you can visit the main Uber Kids online store to check out our complete range of car seats from leading manufacturers.