Deep Cleaning Your Car Seats   

No matter what your rules are about eating, drinking and playing the car, it's inevitable that at some point, the car seat is going to need a GOOD cleaning. Maybe it was a potty accident, maybe it was motion sickness, or maybe it was just the effect of long term use, but when it has to happen, it can seem like a daunting task. Here are some steps for tackling the car seat. 

1.  REFER to your manual about what can and can't be removed or cleaned on your seat without impacting effectiveness. Every seat is different. 

2. Start by removing the cover. Our current seats have what seems like hundreds of hook and eye attachments and it feels like a big puzzle. To avoid running into issues, I use my phone and take pictures of each step as I remove the cover. This makes it much easier when it comes time to put the cover back on. If something is particularly complicated, I email that particular picture to myself with the instructions. You might think you'll remember, but it's good to have a back up! 

3. Most covers can be washed and dried without issue. Refer to your manual (of course) but ours is fine to wash on cold and tumble dry low. 

4.  As you wash the cover, it's time to tackle the hard shell of the seat. I remove the straps (which, generally, should NOT be submerged) and use our tub for the next step. I make a solution of bleach and water and soak the plastic seat. This takes anything that may be in the crevices and soaks it out, disinfecting as it happens. 

5. After the seat has been soaking, grab an old toothbrush and a toothpick to tackle all the little crevices. Once it's been soaking this will be much easier. It's AMAZING where mess can stick. 

6. Take the straps and spot clean them. I use cleaning wipes for this step. 

7. Let the seat air dry. I usually do this overnight when I know we won't need the seat first thing in the morning. I either drain the tub and leave it there, or I set up a pile of towels to absorb the water.

8. Once everything is dry, it's time to reassemble. This is where your step by step pictures come in very handy! I typically take advantage of this disassembled state to make sure the straps are positioned in the right places. If it's time to adjust straps for a growing kiddo, it's much easier when the seat is out of the car! 

9. Give the seats a quick clean and vacuum, and reinstall the seats! Again, take advantage to make sure you're using the correct system (LATCH or seatbelt) for the current weight! It's a time consuming, labor intensive job, but one that makes a big difference!

About the Author: Meredith Napolitano blogs at, where she writes about raising kids while keeping her own identity as well! From kids's activities to organizational products, from parenting tips to suggestions for Mom's Night Out, she's got you covered! Follow her on Facebook!

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