How to Clean Fabric (Cloth) Car Seats

Cloth car seats tend to accumulate dirt and grime on continuous use. Give them a fresh spurt of life by cleaning them regularly. The following will help you in cleaning fabric seats yourself with household items.

Steps to Clean and Wash Cloth Car Seats

  1. Liberally sprinkle baking soda all over your car seats and leave it overnight. It will soak up any foul odor.
  2. Use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the baking soda, any loose debris and dirt from the cloth car seats.
  3. Fill a bucket with cold water and another with hot water.
  4. Add a scoop of any good laundry detergent to the hot water bucket.
  5. Soak a sponge in the hot water and thoroughly scrub each seat taking care not to wet the seats too much.
  6. The seats look clean by now. Dip a towel in the cold water and use it to scrub off excess detergent and leftover dirt from the surface of the seats.
  7. Repeat the process for best results.
  8. Allow the seats to dry completely to avoid growth of any mildew or mold. You can run the upholstery attachment of your steam cleaner over the entire surface and hard to reach corners for aiding the drying as well as cleaning


  • If you don’t want to use detergent, you can use upholstery cleaner on the surface of the seats. In that case, you need to work in small sections for maximum effect. Check from the product label if it needs any rinsing after application.

Cleaning Water Stains from Fabric Car Seats

  1. After vacuuming the seats for loose debris and dirt, spray dry foam cleaner on the seats, taking care to cover the entire surface, not just the areas with the water stains.
  2. Brush the foam working it gently into the fabric. Avoid scrubbing it too hard as it can cause damage to the cloth.
  3. With a clean, dry towel, wipe away the foam.

Since prevention is better than cure, it is always better to protect your cloth seats with proper seat covers. You can wash them whenever they get dirty.