It’s just as important to keep your car’s interior clean as it is to keep the exterior shiny but how does someone clean vinyl car seats?

Fortunately, and the people at Alpha Integrated Auto Care know that vinyl is such a popular material used in covering car seats, the variety of techniques and materials used in keeping it clean are widely available. Unfortunately, vinyl is highly susceptible to mold and mildew, so you may need to clean often if you ignore the fourth part of this article.

First off though, it’s better to apply some preventive methods, like a no eating and drinking rule while in the car or a no shoes on seats rule. But if you’re being realistic, this rule won’t work out a 100% of the time, so you’ll still need some car upholstery cleaning techniques. Here are a few.

Using Glass or Upholstery Cleaners on Your Vinyl Car Seat

Vinyl’s not hard to clean, as spills can easily be wiped off. Just spray a little all-purpose cleaner and wipe the seat down with a soft cloth.

Two things though. First, make sure you spray just small sections, and one seat at a time. This will prevent excess water from running down or dripping to the floor. Second, make sure the cloth you use to wipe down your car seats won’t leave tiny particles behind. However, when buying cleaners, avoid oil-based ones, as they’ll toughen up your vinyl seat and cause it to brittle.

Cleaning Tough Stains Off Vinyl Car Seats with Homemade Cleaners

You don’t have to use store-bought cleaners, just make either of these at home instead.

First recipe- dilute one-quarter cup of ammonia and a cup of water in a spray bottle then use it to clean your car seat, with the aid of a soft brush or cloth. Otherwise, you could also make a baking soda cleaner. Just make a paste of soda and water, then use it to scrub your seat. You’ll need to rinse off the seat with warm water and soap, then dry off thoroughly so that mildew and mold won’t start growing.

Cleaning the Seams of Your Car Upholstery

You can either use a vacuum or a soft toothbrush. Since dirt will usually find the smallest crevices to hide, vacuum cleaners may not get them all. Diligently use a toothbrush and you’ll be able to get the most stubborn dirt out.

Protecting Vinyl Car Seats

This is entirely optional, so you don’t have to do it. You can use a vinyl protectant to protect your car seat from the harmful effects of the sun, and to even make the seats feel softer to the touch. Not all protectants are the same though. Hence some are great sealants and won’t need to be applied frequently while others need weekly reapplication. Choose with care.


Check with the best care practices, if you can find the manual from your car seat’s manufacturer. They sometimes recommend the type of products to use when cleaning (if you have a different type of vinyl), and how to get exceptionally strong stains out. Finally, if your seat has cushions, don’t forget to clean them separately from the actual vinyl seat.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning Vinyl car seats are literally the easiest material in car upholstery. A good wipe down should get most of the dirt out, while a layer of vinyl protectant should keep the seats clean for longer periods of time. Not so hard right?