How to Clean Leather and Cloth Car Seats


In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to clean cloth seats. It doesn't matter if your seats are just regularly dirty or if they're extremely soiled; this guide will give you tips about all situations. By the end of this guide, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to tackle any kind of mess on any type of seat.

Tools and Products Needed

Let's talk about the products you'll need for this job. You can keep things simple and use inexpensive, household items

These products are easily available online, and for convenience, many local car cleaning services offer them for sale. 

Pre-Cleaning Steps

Disconnecting the Battery

First, disconnect the negative cable from your car's battery. This is crucial for two reasons: it prevents your battery from draining while you have the doors open for an extended period and it's a safety measure for when you're removing seats with airbags. Be sure to disconnect the battery safely

Removing the Seats

To get thorough access for cleaning, you'll need to remove the seats. This involves unscrewing bolts and disconnecting any wires, especially for seats with electronic controls or airbags. Handle the seats carefully to avoid damage to your car’s interior.

Cleaning Cloth Seats


Start by vacuuming the seats to remove surface dirt. Pay special attention to the crevices and use a brush to loosen any dirt trapped in the stitches. 

Applying Upholstery Cleaner

Spray the seat with carpet and upholstery cleaner product, then use the brush to work the cleaner into the fabric. This helps to loosen and remove deeper dirt. If these car seats haven’t been cleaned in a long time, maybe years, keep in mind there may be permanent stains that won’t come out. If some stains are not removed, try using an extractor or portable upholstery cleaner (see below).

Drying and Extracting

Wipe the seat down with a microfiber towel to remove the cleaner and lifted dirt. For a deeper clean, use an extractor vacuum (aka portable upholstery cleaner) to remove dirt trapped in the seat foam. This step is especially useful for removing stains and odors.

Cleaning Leather Seats

Cleaning the Coating

Remember, most car leather seats have a protective coating. You're not just cleaning the leather; you're cleaning this coating. Start by vacuuming the seats to remove all loose dirt. For dirt trapped in crevices, a brush and leather and vinyl cleaner are effective. 


After cleaning, apply a leather conditioner to protect and nourish the coating. This step is vital for maintaining the seat's appearance and longevity. For best results, use a steamer before conditioning to open up the pores of the material, allowing the conditioner to penetrate deeply. 

Finishing Touches


Don’t forget to clean the sides of the seats, the metal brackets, and the seatbelt clickers. Use an interior detailer and protectant to clean and protect these areas. This step is often overlooked in car cleaning interior jobs but is crucial for a comprehensive clean. 

Cleaning Seat Belts

Seatbelt cleaning is important as they can also harbor a lot of dirt and oils. Clean them with an upholstery cleaner and a microfiber towel, then use an extractor vacuum for a deep clean. For a deeper guide, check this out. 


Once everything is clean and dry, reinstall the seats in your car. Use thread locker on the bolts to ensure they don’t loosen over time, and don’t forget to reconnect the battery. 


How to Get Mold Out of Car Upholstery?

To tackle mold, first vacuum the affected area to remove loose spores. Then, create a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water, and apply it to the moldy upholstery with a spray bottle. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing gently with a soft brush. Wipe the area clean with a damp cloth and dry thoroughly. Ensure the car is aired out by leaving the doors or windows open to dry completely and prevent further mold growth. If the mold smell continues, call a professional upholstery cleaner. 

How to Get Dog Hair Off Car Seats?

For dog hair, a damp rubber glove can effectively gather and remove hair from car seats. Alternatively, a pumice stone or a pet hair removal rake can also be effective for stubborn hair. Lightly misting the seats with water mixed with fabric softener before vacuuming can loosen hair, making it easier to vacuum up. Regular use of seat covers can help manage hair accumulation.

How to Get Dog or Cat Pee Out of Car Seat?

To remove cat urine odor, blot up as much liquid as possible. Mix two cups of warm water with one tablespoon each of dishwashing liquid and white vinegar. Apply this solution to the stain, let it sit, then blot dry. For persistent odors, an enzymatic cleaner applied according to the manufacturer's instructions can break down and eliminate the odor. Act quickly for the best results in odor elimination. If the smell continues, call a professional upholstery cleaning service that offers pet stain and odor removal.  


That’s it! You now know how to super clean both cloth and leather seats in your car. Remember, regular care and attention can prevent permanent stains and keep your vehicle looking and feeling brand new for years to come. Avoid messy passengers!

If you prefer not to spend the time cleaning the seats yourself or want a super deep cleaning from a professional, call PristineGreen Cleaning in NYC. We offer mobile car upholstery cleaning services and car seat stain removal services! We come to your car, wherever it is in the city, and deep clean your seats using professional upholstery cleaning tools and chemicals. Call today for a quote!

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Voted 5-Star Top Carpet Cleaner and Upholstery Cleaner in NYC, Brooklyn & Queens. Our customer service hours are 9am to 9pm, 7 days a week.

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