how to get stains out of car seats

Cleaning 101: How to Get Stains out of Car Seats

Need to learn how to remove stains from car seats? The right tools & car stain remover make this task a snap!

From coffee spills to mystery marks, cars are a time capsule of stains. Add in summer temps and you've got baked-in, hard-to-remove messes.

Though it's recommended to get spills out of seats as soon as possible, life happens. Puracy's got your back with the best vehicle seat stain remover, guaranteed.

Table of Contents

How to Clean Car Seat Stains by Hand
How to Remove Coffee Stains from Car Seats
How to Get Blood out of a Car Seat
How to Remove Vomit from Car Seats
How to Remove Urine or Poop Stains and Smells from Car Seats
How to Clean Child Car Seats
How to Get Stains Out of Leather Car Seats

How to Clean Car Seat Stains by Hand 

Don’t have money to buy – or time to rent – a carpet cleaning machine? While we absolutely recommend these appliances, you can absolutely clean car seats by hand. 

1. Suck It Up 

how to clean car seats stains

Vacuum loose dust and debris from around the blemish using your vacuum cleaner upholstery tool attachment (or a hand-held vacuum). Break out a crevice tool to get between gaps and along seams. 

2. Blot, Blot, Blot 

For fresh blemishes, use a clean microfiber towel to blot the wet area. Continue blotting until your cloth stops picking up liquid. 

3. Apply Your Car Stain Remover 

Spray the affected areas liberally with our Natural Stain Remover. Though it's been carefully tested and formulated it to be color-safe, always test an inconspicuous area first.

4. Break out the Brush 

Massage the affected area with a soft-bristled brush, clean makeup brush. or old toothbrush. Avoid scrubbing too hard to avoid damaging fabric fibers.

5. Wait It Out

how long Puracy stain remover

To let the the plant-based enzymes to do their work, leave your cleaner on for a minimum of 15 minutes. However, we find that 8 hours/overnight provides better results. 

6. Put a “Wring” on It 

In a bowl filled with warm water, saturate a clean microfiber towel, wring it out, and press the damp cloth into the blemish. Rock it back and forth with mild pressure to "pull" the stain remover from the surface. Rinse, wring, and repeat as many times as necessary until the blemish particles and stain remover are lifted out.

Pro Tip: For large spills, you may need another microfiber cloth. Lucky for you: We sell them in 2- and 4-packs!

7. Dry Things Out 

Let the damp spots dry naturally. The best way is by parking in the sun and cracking the windows, but you can also use a blowdryer. In a hurry? Put down a clean, white towel before heading anywhere.

Should you not fully remove the mess, a blow dryer can bake the blemish into your vehicle's upholstery. Simply repeat the steps outlined above if spills and odors aren't gone the first time around, 

Consider a Carpet Cleaner for Tough Stains

get stains out of car seats

A carpet cleaning machine is the easiest way to eliminate blemishes in mattresses, carpets, and – you guessed it – vehicle interiors. Be sure to carefully follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to avoid damaging your seats.

Our current favorite carpet cleaners include: 

Pro Tip: Most hardware stores offer hourly or daily carpet cleaner rentals for affordable prices.

How to Remove Coffee Stains from Car Seats

how to get stain out of car seat

Dealing with coffee, dark sodas, or tea? Vacuum, blot, apply Puracy Stain Remover, and wait (AKA steps #1 through #5 under the hand-cleaning section). Next, either break out a shop vac that's filled with water or a carpet cleaning machine. 

If the Stain Wasn’t Totally Removed…

That’s okay. Some blemishes are super tough. Do another round with the Stain Remover. 

If the Stain Has Disappeared…

Dry wet spots with a hairdryer (on the lowest setting) or crack your vehicle windows and park in the sun.

Pro Tip: Might we also suggest a spill-proof travel mug?

5 Steps: How to Get Blood out of a Car Seat

how to get blood out of a car seat

Use a clean microfiber towel to quickly remove as much as you can. Don’t attempt to remove old blood stains from seats by hand: Use a carpet cleaning machine instead. 

1. Spray It

Saturate the affected area with Puracy Natural Stain Remover. For particularly large blemishes, start at the edges and gradually move towards the center (to keep it from spreading). Consider gently working the formula into the fabric with a soft-bristled brush. 

2. Wait It Out

Wait at least 8 hours so the protease enzyme (ideal for protein blemishes like blood) has enough time to break particles down. 

3. Break out the Big Guns

Wet a microfiber cloth but take care not to oversaturate the upholstery: Damaging electronics is worse than stains. We recommend using a shop vac or carpet extractor instead, since they're better at pulling out stains. 

4. “Dry” Your Best 

Press a dry microfiber towel into the upholstery to absorb any remaining moisture. 

5. Pretend There Never Was a Stain 

Bloodstain? What bloodstain? 

Removing Vomit from Car Seats

car seat stain remover

Vomit acid can permanently damage fabric fibers. It can also leave a gag-inducing smell that lingers for months. Remove all traces of odor-causing particles by using a carpet cleaning machine and seat stain remover ASAP.

1. A Close Scrape

Wearing rubber, silicone, or nitrile gloves, scoop solid particles off all affected areas. Use two small pieces of firm cardboard/rigid plastic, a spatula, a spoon, or anything else you have on hand. 

2. Smother and Cover 

Spray the “upchuck area” liberally with Puracy Stain Remover. For particularly big messes, let it sit overnight (at least 30 minutes). 

3. Break out the Machine

clean car seat stains

We cannot stress this enough: If you’re dealing with a particularly bad “stomach upset”, pair a carpet cleaning machine with Puracy Natural Carpet & Upholstery Shampoo. This product only removes blemishes from your seats, but it also leaves the interior smelling fresh and citrusy. 

4. Repeat the Process if Necessary

If your nose still crinkles when you hop in the vehicle, the entire blemish wasn’t removed. Don't panic: Repeat steps #2 and #3. When the area is dry, sprinkle it liberally with baking soda. Let it sit for at least 2-3 hours and vacuum with a wet/dry vac. 

How to Remove Urine or Poop Stains and Smells from Car Seats

If you have a pet or a potty-training child, these tips will come in handy for getting strong urine and poop blemishes and odors from lingering in your vehivle. Pet urine in particular can be tough due to its low surface tension, but with the right technique, these spills and odors can be removed.

1. Air It Out

First things first: open all the doors and windows. This will air the vehicle out and prevent strong odors from lingering any longer in the vehicle's interior. You'll also want to make sure you have a pair of gloves to protect your skin during the rest of the cleaning process.

2. Remove as Much As You Can

If the accident was recent, thoroughly remove as much liquid or solid as you can. You can take a clean rag and dab urine spots. After each dab, turn the rag so you're not dabbing the rest of the blemish with a soiled section. For solids, carefully remove it, being careful not to push or spread it further into the car seat. Avoid scrubbing in general with these types of spills – you don't want them to just seep further into the fibers.

3. Target the Stain Directly

Combine our Pet Stain & Odor Remover with 4 ounces of warm water. Fully saturate the affected area with the solution. Let it sit for an hour, or up to 8 hours if the blemish is older. Repeat this step until the spills and odors are completely gone.

4. Air It Out – Again

Allow your seats to dry again with the windows and doors open. You can use our Pet Stain & Odor Remover to also neutralize any remaining odors.

How to Clean Child Car Seats

Whether you've finished a long road trip or just a normal ride to school, chances are your kid's car seat may need to be cleaned. Follow these tips to keep their seats clean with products that won't harm their sensitive skin.

1. Vacuum Up Crumbs

Take the seat out of the vehicle, and vacuum it. Get into the crevices to suck up any stray crumbs or other particles.

2. Opt For a Baby-Friendly Cleaner

Apply our Natural Baby Stain Remover directly onto spills and massage it into the fibers using an old toothbrush or laundry brush. And since our Natural Baby Stain Remover has a gentle, plant-powered formula, it's safe to be used on fabrics that come into constant contact with your kid's skin!

3. Let It Sit

Wait up to 8 hours. If it's a particularly tough blemish, you can even let the Stain Remover sit on the car seat for days.

4. Rinse It Out

Saturate a clean cloth in a bowl with warm water, and gently wring it. Press the cloth onto the spill and gently blot. Repeat this with fresh water until you no longer see the blemish. 

How to Get Stains Out of Leather Car Seats

how to remove stains from car seats

Most leather in modern cars has a protective coating that improves the cleaning process. To remove most blemishes, use our 99.51% Natural Surface Cleaner and a dry microfiber towel. Apply one trigger spray to your cloth and gently rub using circular motions. If you’ve got a particularly stubborn splotch, you might need a few extra sprays.

It's just that easy.

The Best Stain Remover for Car Seats – and Beyond

best stain remover for car seats

You've got upholstery to clean, so we'll keep it brief! Our 98.95% Natural Stain Remover is the only one of its kind to use all 6 plant-based enzymes. (It works well on your car’s dirty floor mats, too!) Whether you're fighting chocolate, dog drool, coffee, or blood, it's easy to clean all washable fabric – without the caustic chemicals and gross fumes.