How to Clean Your Baby’s Car Seat (6 Easy Steps)

Cleaning your baby’s car seat

If you think you can get away with not cleaning your child’s car seat during the 12 years they will have one you are wrong. Just wrong.

Car seats will get food, drink, and sometimes even poo’s and wee’s on it. I know mine has! If your little one is anything like mine you’ll find they love to throw things, especially chewed food and drink.

By the time your child is one, it’s likely (assuming you leave the house) that your car seats would have experienced all sorts of nightmarish fluids.

Using a vacuum cleaner will only get you so far and you can only do half a job with warm water and a clean cloth.

When your baby is little you don’t want to get make them ill by having them in an unclean environment so keeping on top of it and doing a good job is paramount.


Where do you begin?

To start with, you’ll want to completely remove the car seat from the car. There’s no point trying to clean this whilst it’s still in there, you’ll only find it difficult and awkward.

Choose a nice sunny day and get out in the sunshine.

If you have an old blanket or towel you can put underneath the car seat, do this to avoid it picking up any new dirt, remove any toys from the seat

If you are able to remove the cover of your baby’s car seat then remove it and also take apart any parts that are able to be removed.

If you think you’ll struggle to remember how to put it back together, film yourself doing it so you can watch it back after to remind yourself.


Vacuum Loose Bits

Before moving on, take your vacuum cleaner and suck up any loose crumbs. Use the thin nozzle attachment to get underneath and behind any hard-to-reach parts of the seat and be sure to lift and fabric and under it.

You can also try to turn the car seat upside down and give it a shake. This can dislodge any larger debris and save you a job in a couple of weeks’ time.


Gathering your supplies

Get yourself a bucket or bowl of warm/hot water with some dish soap, cleaning products for cleaning cloth, and soft and hard brush, a dry towel, and some nice smelling spray.

It’s also handy to have a washing machine handy if your car seat cover can be machine washed. If you don’t have one it’s not a problem as you can clean it with a water solution and a microfiber cloth.


Cleaning Method

If you cant wash your cover in the washing machine then you’ll need to clean it by hand. You can do this by firstly rinsing it off and flick/scratch off any loose or flakey food debris that’s on there.

Once you have done this, you’ll need to hand wash it with detergent water. you can use a soft brush to make this easier and your hard brush for any areas with stains.


Putting the harness straps in the washing machine can cause them to stretch and it will make them unsafe in the event of an accident. You should also avoid submerging them in water for the same reason.

You should instead wipe them down using a soft fabric cloth and hot water paying special attention to any stains that need a clean. Only use soap or cleaning sprays if absolutely necessary as children tend to chew the harness straps.


How to clean baby car seat base

Once you have tackled all the fabric parts of the car seat you can move onto the car seat base.

These are usually majority plastic and can be easy to clean. Give it a further shake after turning it upside down to remove any debris.

Refill your warm water and cleaning solution and use a sponge or cloth to generously apply the water over the plastic car seat base. Avoid putting any water on the foam part of the car seat base as this could ruin it and take ages to properly dry.


Finishing up

Once you are done and have left your different clean parts to dry for a while and you are happy they are dry you can reassemble your car seat and put it all back together.

Look back at your video if you are unsure of what to put and where it goes.

Put it back in the car and go for a dry run (without the child) to ensure that the car seat is properly secured.


Important Cleaning tips

There are some easy-to-follow quick tips to know when cleaning a car seat.

  1. Try to clean up spillages or food as quickly as possible. Not only is this healthier for your child but also, its harder to clean something when it has been left for a period of time.
  2. Don’t wait for a reason to clean your car seat and give it a clean every couple of weeks. Not only will this make the job easier for you but helps your baby.
  3. Be sure to air your car seat before it becomes too stinky. Circulating some fresh air inside your car can help clean out the cobwebs and help avoid any stinky build-up.
  4. If your baby suffers from eczema then you’ll want to be careful of the soap or cleaning materials used during your clean. Some chemicals can irritate babies’ skin, even through clothes.
  5. Using certain chemicals can remove the manufactures treating chemicals which actually help keep the car seat fire retardant in the event of an accident. Stick to soapy water.


If you are unsure of any of the points, be sure to check back to your manual for further explanation. If you find that you have misplaced your manual then you can usually find the replacement or a digital version online.

Once your toddler turns 4 years old, their car seat can turn into a booster seat which makes it a lot easier to clean than the larger baby version. If you are at the stage of trying to find a car seat for your 4 year old then we have written a guide to help you choose.

Kate the toddler review

The author: Jose Martinez

Hi there! My name is Jose, and I’m a proud dad to a beautiful 4 year old. As a parent, I know firsthand how overwhelming it can be to navigate the world of parenting and child-rearing. There are so many choices to make, from the foods we feed our little ones to the toys we buy them to the clothes they wear. But one thing that’s always been important to me is finding the best products available for my child.

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