If you can check all three boxes below, you’re the one lucky parent who’ll never have to clean their kid’s car seat. Otherwise, then you’ll want some helpful hints on how to clean that special seat you shuttle your mini-me around in.

  • My little one will never poop their pants, as in the disgusting diaper explosion of a newborn, or the “accident” that happens during potty training.
  • My kiddo will never drool from teething, get carsick, or puke from too much cake after a birthday party.
  • I declare from day one, to never let my kid eat in the car (and I will follow through).

We’re guessing you can’t claim “yes” to all three statements. And that scrubbing and sanitizing is probably not your new favorite pastime. So, here’s some friendly advice before you tackle cleaning your little one’s car seat that may help save some time and hassle. 

#1 - Always ASAP

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning because it really does make a difference. Try to get to the mess as soon as you can. The law of gravity works against you when spills happen. If you can wipe fabric or crevices (you’re an expert at those, thanks to baby) at the time of the accident, the crunchy stuff or slime and grime don’t have a chance to soak in and become one with the car seat. 

#2 - Remember, The Manual Knows All

Consult the instruction manual for your car seat before cleaning. When you remove the cover and harness, take careful note of how everything is connected to make reattaching easier or refer to the guide. Sometimes snapping photos as you remove the parts can help.

#3 - Not All Cleaners Are Equal

Avoid using abrasive materials to clean your seat, especially the harness. Cleaning agents like steel wool or bleach might seem like a quick way to get all the gunk out, but using them can damage the seat and cause deterioration of the materials. You also want to be careful about any cleaner residue that could make contact with baby’s skin or be harmful for them to breathe in. 

#4 - If All Else Fails

If there’s just no hope, you can always order replacement parts (seat pad, buckle, and more). Make sure you have the model number and manufacturing date handy when contacting us. They can be found on a sticker on the side of the car seat, or at the end of the manual. We’ll use this info to order parts that have been approved for use with your seat. 

How to Clean Your Safety 1st Car Seat: Step-By-Step

When a mess suddenly happens, or you notice a build-up of yucky stuff, follow these simple steps and refer to the manual to make sure you put the car seat back together properly before your precious cargo goes for their next ride.

How to Clean Car Seat Fabric:
  • For big messes, take the seat out. Uninstall the seat and clean it outside of the car. You can see what you’re doing better, and your back will thank you later.
  • Remove as much of the mess as possible before bringing in the cleaners and machines. So, get some gloves (before you do the deep dive) and grab whatever chunky, sticky, gooey, crusty mess your tiny traveler has left you.
  • Remove the seat cover and pillows. Then, shake out the crumbs and whatnot that have gotten pressed into the creases and crevices. If that’s not enough, bust out the vacuum and shove it deep into all the corners and crevices to find every last Cheerio or cracker remnant.
  • Machine-wash the fabrics on a gentle cycle with cold water, making sure the harness covers are closed. Avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach.
  • Tumble dry on low for ten to twelve minutes, and remove promptly.
How to Clean the Car Seat Harness:
  • The harness should not go through the washing machine – it can damage the webbing.
  • Spot clean the harness with warm, sudsy water and a damp cloth.
  • Spot clean the buckle with warm, sudsy water and a damp cloth. Do not submerge the buckle in water or lubricate the buckle.
  • If there are still stubborn crumbs or dirt trapped inside the buckle itself, go in with a pair of tweezers and pull them out.
  • If this exercise made you think twice about your current car seat and whether it’s time for a new car seat, remember to check the expiration date and keep an eye out for missing or damaged parts.
How to Clean Car Seat Frame
  • Grab a cloth, dampen using warm sudsy water and spot clean the plastic frame.
  • DO NOT submerge it into water.
All Together Now
  • Reattach the clean, dry seat cover to the frame. – Check your manual for the correct procedure for your specific car seat.
  • Reinstall your car seat in your vehicle.

As a parent, you can do your best to keep your car and all the seats in it clean, but spotless is next to impossible. Just know, we feel you, and hopefully, these tips will help make the task a little easier.