Manage the Water

Before you get started bringing your cloth seats back to life, you need to know the two hard and fast rules about cleaning cloth seats: use the least amount of water possible and have the right tools to soak up as much of it as possible. This means using highly absorbent microfiber towels, a commercial extractor, or a shop vac to suck up any excess water and chemicals made for cleaning cloth seats. 

Vacuum First

The first step in cleaning your car seats is to vacuum them. Use a narrow-angle attachment to get down into the stitches, cracks, and crevices. Get rid of the dog hair, the stale Cheerios, and the crumbs from last year's donuts. Once you have removed all the big debris, it's time to move onto step two.

Stain Treatment

Before you get into cleaning the whole seat, it's a good idea to treat and clean any major stains on your seats. There are stain treatment products out there, or you can use one of the many homemade versions people swear by. A paste made of vinegar, baking soda, and a little bit of club soda is a popular homemade solution. 

Commercial or homemade, apply the solution to the stain and let it sit for five to ten minutes. Grab a small detailing brush and lightly scrub the stain in a circular motion working from the outside of the stain in. Then use a damp microfiber towel to blot up the stain. 

Time to Scrub Your Cloth Seats

Now that you have the major stains up, it's time to clean the rest of the seat. Lightly spray a foam cleaner made for cloth onto the seat. The foam will sit on top of the seat rather than soaking in, again, making it easier to get back out of the seat without soaking it. 

Use a power drill brush attachment to work the cleaner in a circular motion. Do not scrub exceptionally hard as this can damage the fibers the cloth is made of. Then take a damp microfiber towel and blot up all the soap and dirt. 

Run your wet dry vac or extractor over the seat to get any excess moisture out of the seat, then let it dry. 

The Final Vacuum

Once your car seats are good and dry, it's time to do one last pass with the vacuum cleaner to get the dry dirt that your cleaning solution pulled up. If there is still a lingering odor in the car, sprinkle with baking soda and let it sit for an hour or so before you do the final vacuum.  

Bringing your cloth seats back to life takes a little time but can easily be done in a weekend. Vacuum up the big stuff, treat the big stains, scrub the seat a bit, and then do one final vacuum to get the last of everything up. Check out our interior brush selection to help you get your cloth seats looking great. 

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