In this post, we are going to cover car seat cleaning tips. For example, we would address How to clean car seat straps? How to get blood out of car seat? How to get gum off car seat? How to clean Britax, Graco, & Chicco car seats? And Many More.

When you have little ones around, you know that messes follow their adorable little feet. These messes happen everywhere, including the car.

Car seat stains can be difficult and sometimes confusing to handle. There are also many rules to remember before cleaning the car seats, making it even tougher.

Let’s cover how to simply clean these stains when they happen, so you’ll be prepared for the next mess!

How to clean car seat straps?

Cleaning car seat straps is a very delicate process. Most car seat manufacturers agree that harsh chemical cleaners shouldn’t be used with car seat straps.

This is because chemicals can remove flame retardant from the straps. Machine washing and submerging straps in water can also weaken the fibers.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Remove all solid waste from the straps before moving forward. This can be done with a soft brush or toothbrush for difficult areas.
  2. Take a damp cloth or sponge and wipe the straps down carefully with warm water and/or mild soap.
  3. Baby wipes can be used as an alternative to a damp cloth or sponge.
  4. Let the straps air dry following the spot cleaning.

Always check your car seat’s manual for specific instructions on cleaning.

Also, if the straps are frayed, smelly, or drenched in undesirable liquid, it may be better to replace them altogether.

How to clean car seat belts?

Older children may accidentally dirty your car’s seat belt system.

Unlike your child’s car seat straps, your vehicle’s seat belt is designed to take a bit more wear and tear.

Here’s how to clean vehicle seat belts:

  1. Secure the seat belt and remove visible grime on the belt.
  2. Use a seat belt cleaner and wipe up and down the belt with either a cloth or soft brush. Do not scrub in circles as this can damage the fibers.
  3. For harsher stains, you can dilute an all-purpose cleaner in water and dip your brush in that to scrub gently.
  4. Wipe down the seatbelt with a dry towel after to remove excess water/cleaner.
  5. Always keep the seat belt secured and allow it to dry overnight before retracting it.

How to get gum off a car seat?

Gum can be a menace when smashed into a car seat cover.

To make cleaning the gum much easier, you should try to remove the car seat cover (if possible).

Here’s how to handle gum:

  1. Place some ice in a baggie and leave it on the gum until the gum freezes.
  2. After it’s frozen, you can easily chip away at the gum with a plastic scraper.
  3. You can use a bit of tape to lift the remaining gum bits off with ease.
  4. If there are still gum pieces, you can clean the spot with a damp washcloth or brush.
  5. For gum on plastic parts, icing the affected area and then chipping it away when frozen is ideal.
  6. If gum persists, refreeze with ice and attempt to lift it off with a scraper again. Repeat this until gum is mostly gone. Then spot clean the area with a damp washcloth.

If this method doesn’t work, contact your manufacturer for more specific directions on how to handle the gum.

How to get blood out of a car seat?

Blood is a very difficult stain to remove, so timeliness is key for success.

Here are some steps you can take to remove the stain:

  1. Remove your car seat from the car if the stain is large.
  2. Take your car seat cover off and machine-wash on cold with mild soap on the gentle cycle, if possible. If not, spot clean with a cloth dipped in mild soap and cold water.
  3. For car seat straps, spot clean with a mild soap and water carefully. Resist using peroxide, baking soda, and other chemicals with a non-neutral pH. These can damage the straps.
  4. Wipe down any plastic parts with a washcloth dipped in water and mild soap.

If the stain persists, it may not be removable.

You can always contact your car seat’s manufacturer for more specific instructions and assistance.

How to clean urine (pee) from a car seat?

Accidents can happen anywhere, even in your child’s brand new car seat. Here’s how you can clean up urine (pee) from your car seat with ease:

Cleaning urine (pee) from car seat:

  1. Speedily blot urine up with napkins or a paper towel. Blot up as much liquid as possible.
  2. Remove the car seat from the car, and then remove the car seat cover.
  3. Machine washing in the gentle cycle with cold water and mild soap is the best option. Check your car seat’s instructions to see if you can wash your car seat cover in this way. Otherwise, take warm water and mild soap in a washcloth to the affected areas of the seat cover.
  4. Let the seat cover air dry.
  5. Proceed to wipe down affected plastic areas with a cloth and water, with mild soap if product instructions allow.
  6. For soiled buckles, you can usually rinse these with warm water. Make sure not to use any soaps or chemicals with the buckle.
  7. With dirtied straps, often you can spot clean carefully with a mild soap and water. Check your car seat’s instructions to make sure.

Always double check your car seat’s manual for more specific cleaning instructions.

How to clean vomit from a car seat?

Many children get car sick very easily and quickly. Here’s how to clean up those messes if they happen:

Cleaning vomit from car seat:

  1. Remove as much solid waste from the car seat as possible with paper towels or napkins.
  2. Remove the car seat from the car.
  3. Take off the car seat’s cover if possible, and wash as per your manual’s instructions. This may mean that you can machine wash the cover on the gentle cycle with cold water and mild soap. If you can’t machine wash, spot wash the cover with water or mild soap (if your product permits this).
  4. Wipe down plastic parts with a mild soap and water, using a towel or sponge. You may opt for baby wipes to do this.
  5. For the straps, gently clean with a towel dipped in water and mild soap. You may use baby wipes for this as well. Never submerge or machine wash straps. Allow these straps to air dry and resist getting them too wet during cleaning. Repeat until the straps are clean, allowing drying time in between each spot-cleaning session.
  6. Many buckles can be cleaned by submerging in a cup of water and clicking the button multiple times. Allow to air dry afterwards. Double-check your product’s instructions to ensure this is safe.

For messes that are too difficult to clean or are inside the seat, you may need a new seat altogether.

How to clean a Britax car seat?

Here are some directions from Britax on how to clean most of their car seats:

Cleaning Britax car seat:

  • For the cover: Begin by removing the car seat cover, and then use a mild soap and cold water to hand-wash. After finishing, lay the cover flat or on a clothesline to dry.
  • For the buckle: To start, take the buckle out of the seat. You can use running water to rinse the buckle, but do not use any cleaning solutions/soaps or soak the buckle. Make sure the buckle is clean by test buckling it on all sides. Hearing clicks means it is properly clean and ready to go. (Britax seats manufactured before February 2008 will only click in one buckle.) Towel dry and reattach to the seat.
  • For plastic parts: Sponge plastic parts clean with mild soap and warm water, then towel dry.
  • For the harness: Spot clean the harness with a sponge, using mild soap and warm water. Allow this to air dry. Do not machine wash. Double check your manual to ensure that this is safe for your car seat.

Never use bleach on any part of a Britax car seat!

You can find specific instructions in your owner’s manual.

How to clean a Chicco car seat?

Chicco’s website features specific instructions for each car seat style. Here are a few general guidelines that apply to most Chicco car seats:

Cleaning Chicco car seat:

  • For the cover: Remove seat cover and/or seat pad. You can machine wash these on the delicate cycle in cold water, or spot clean by hand with mild soap. Always air dry.
  • For the buckle: Rinse in warm water or clean via sponge. Do not use any cleaning solutions/soaps. Air dry.
  • For plastic parts: Using mild soap and water, sponge clean dirty plastic parts. Dry with a towel.
  • For harness/LATCH straps/lower anchor straps: Using a mild soap and water, sponge clean and let air dry. LATCH straps and lower anchor straps cannot be replaced, so make sure to be careful with these.
  • For LATCH hardware: Some Chicco car seats allow sponge cleaning with water and mild soap, while others allow only water and sponge cleaning. Check your car seat’s manual or online for specific instructions, because this hardware cannot be replaced.

Never use bleach on any part of a Chicco car seat!

Always check your manual or online for detailed instructions for your child’s specific seat.

How to clean a Graco car seat?

Here are some directions from Graco on how to clean most of their car seats:

Cleaning Graco car seat:

  • For the cover/fabrics: Remove the cover and machine wash on the delicate cycle using cold water and mild soap. You must air-dry these on a clothesline. Double check care instructions for your cover prior to machine washing, as some are hand-wash.
  • For the buckle: Remove the buckle and place in a warm cup of water. Press the button a few times to dislodge gunk, then remove and allow it to air dry. Never use any soaps or cleaning products while cleaning the buckle.
  • For plastic parts: Use a microfiber cloth with water and/or mild soap. Allow these parts to air dry.
  • For harness: Spot clean with a cloth and mild soap and water. Never submerge the straps or machine wash. 

Never use bleach on any part of a Graco car seat!

Make sure to check your manual for specific instructions on how to clean your Graco car seat.

Final Thoughts

With children, anything can happen at a moment’s notice—including stains. Cleaning up after little ones may seem like a giant task sometimes, but it is possible. We’ve listed out the simplest way to tackle each mess, including any little rules you might need to know. We hope that these instructions will help you approach any car seat mess that comes your way!

Looking for more car-related tips and information? Check out our other articles on car maintenance and safety. If you’re curious about the safety of jump-starting a car in the rain, be sure to read our post on “Is it Safe to Jump a Car in the Rain?” And if you’re wondering whether your car is all-wheel drive, we’ve got you covered with our article “How to Tell If a Car Is All Wheel Drive.” Finally, if you’re struggling with stubborn stains on your car seats, be sure to check out our guide to the “11 Best Car Seat Cleaners for Resistant Stains.”

If you have any comments or anything else you would like to share, please let us know in the section below!


Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

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Keren Simanova

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren