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Ranking The Best Car Seat Cleaners For 2020

Say Good Bye Dirty Car Seats With These Upholstery Cleaners!

Best Overall Choice
Blue Coral Upholstery Cleaner

Blue Coral Upholstery Cleaner

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Best Premium Choice
Armor All Oxi Magic Upholstery Cleaner

Armor All Oxi Magic Upholstery Cleaner

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Best Budget Choice
Turtle Wax Oxy

Turtle Wax Oxy

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Seats in need of car seat cleaner

It doesn’t matter if you drive the slickest speed machine in the world. If your car seats are stained, dirty and grubby, your car will never be the hot rod you want it to be. If you have dirty car seats, the first step to hot rod perfection is purchasing the best cleaning product you can find.

Why Use Car Seat Cleaner on Your Car?

Sooner or later, you or one of your passengers is going to spill or drag some sort of dirt and grime into your car. 

dirty car seats

Every car owner should purchase specific upholstery cleaner because it is more than just a little bit of soap in a bottle.

These products are specially designed to seep far into the surface of your car seats and dissolve sticky grime, lift stains, and remove dirt. The best products for cars and trucks, however, will not only clean your seats but protect them from further damage, too.

Nearly every automotive cleaning brand has their own mixture of seat cleaner, so how do you know which is the best cleaner for your seats?

You start by reading our easy-to-follow buying guide.

Car Seat Cleaner Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Car Seat Cleaner

Car seats come in many types, materials, and varieties. To be sure, you are buying the best produce for your car you first need to understand what type of seats were installed in your vehicle.

The best car cleaner for your car is always determined by the type of material that was used in your car’s interior.

Car seats are typically manufactured using nylon, polyester, vinyl, leather or faux leather.

Seat cleaning products, however, are typically manufactured in one of two varieties.

Fabric Car Seat Cleaner- the best cloth car seat cleaner products are designed to penetrate the tight weave of nylon, vinyl and polyester interiors.

The best car interior cleaners for cloth car seats with a tight weave generally include stronger cleaning agents.

The close pattern of the weave and low nap (amount fabric above the base layer of the seat) make it hard for less potent cleaners to sink in. These products are the best to clean cloth car seats, carpet and upholstery.

Leather Car Seat Cleaner- There are generally four types of leather used in seat upholstery, not including faux leather:

  • Aniline Leather
  • Semi-Aniline Leather
  • Full-Grain Leather
  • Corrected-Grain Leather

The best leather cleaner for your car depends on which type of leather was used to upholster the interior.

High-end, aniline leather car seats are expensive to replace and easy to ruin. Before purchasing what may not be the best leather car seat cleaner, be sure to check with the manufacturer and confirm your choice won’t damage your delicate leather seats. It’s always recommended that you use a professional leather cleaner to protect your seats.

How To Use a Car Seat Cleaner The Right Way

As with nearly every automotive cleaning project, for car upholstery cleaners to work correctly, you should first remove as much obvious dirt, dust, and debris from the seat as you can before application.

car seats before and after

  • Use a handheld vacuum or shop vac to vacuum your upholstery thoroughly.
  • Apply cleaner according to manufacturer instructions
  • Use sponge, brush or detailing tool to scrub cleaner into affected areas of the car seat
  • Leave it to air dry.
  • Re-apply product as needed.

Tips for Using Car Seat Cleaner

It is not uncommon for an especially dirty car seat to require multiple applications

Car seats will remain cleaner, longer if they are dressed with a car seat shampoo & protector

Utilizing a car steam cleaner or vacuum with one of these products is often recommended to achieve sparkling clean car seats.

Avoid Homemade Car Upholstery Cleaner Products

Though there are plenty of DIY car seat cleaner recipes, few have the cleaning power to clean car upholstery properly.

At best, a DIY solution may work only somewhat on vinyl or nylon seats, but will most likely leave your car seats looking grubby and in need of cleaning from a professional or a genuine product.

In this case, you will have to go out and buy a real product anyway. At worst, a DIY solution can stain and damage your car seats beyond repair.

When it comes to automotive cleaning agents it’s always better to skip the DIY learning process and buy a cleaning agent designed to work on the part of the car you intend to clean.

It might be tempting to create your own cleaning solution with the usual combinations of white vinegar, baking soda, hot water, and club soda, but stick to the tried and tested professional car care products. A bit of hot water and a clean cloth just won’t cut it!

10 Best Car Seat Cleaners

Your seats are important. You put your butt in one nearly every day of the year, and anything in which you spend that much time deserves to be regularly cleaned and protected. If you’re going to clean your car, make sure you treat the interior as well as you treat the exterior!

Whether your ride calls for the best car leather seat cleaner or the best cloth car seat cleaner, the cleaning agent you choose will almost certainly include at least one of these features:

  • A concentrated cleaning action
  • Odor eliminators
  • Scrubbing brush or applicator
  • Deep cleaning foam

Additionally, it’s important to remember that not all products are created equal. The best cleaners not only provide a thorough clean, but protect your seats from further damage.

Best Overall Choice

1. Blue Coral Upholstery Cleaner

Blue Coral Upholstery Cleaner

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If you are a parent, then you are no stranger to stained car upholstery. Every once in a while, though, a stain comes along that is particularly stubborn, such as ink and grease stains.

 

Blue Coral Upholstery Cleaner is the product you use to lift the tough stains that other products leave behind.

Blue Coral Upholstery Cleaner scores high as an effective cleaner, stain remover, and odor eliminator thanks to its powerful foaming action formula.

The foaming formula is designed to seep into the tight weave of your car’s seats to suspend dirt and dust.

The foaming action is further strengthened by the ingenious scrubbing brush applicator, which enables the user to scrub the Blue Coral Upholstery Cleaner deeper into the upholstery.

Blue Coral Upholstery Cleaner is a safe nylon cleaner and is just as effective at removing stains from synthetic car seats as it is on low nap and tight weave fabric car seats.

What’s more, Blue Coral Upholstery Cleaner can be used as a strong all-around upholstery cleaner, which means you can use it to remove stubborn stains like coffee, grease and automotive grime from all parts of your car’s interior.

2. Chemical Guys Lightning Fast Upholstery Stain Extractor

Chemical Guys Lightning Fast Upholstery Stain Extractor

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Have you ever been on your way to pick up a date, then right when you pull up you spill your soda all over the passenger seat of your newly de-odored car?

If you haven’t, then congrats! You’re probably one of those smart people who doesn’t allow food in their car.

 

If you are like the rest of us, however, you have likely experienced a similar sticky mishap.

Chemical Guys Lightning Fast Upholstery Stain Extractor is the product you use to lift those inconvenient and embarrassing last minute stains.

Chemical Guys Lightning Fast Upholstery Stain Extractor is the versatile, all-surface cleaner that cleans deep without fading the rich color of your upholstery.

Chemical Guys Lightning Fast Upholstery Stain Extractor is quick and effective as a cleaner because of its concentrated formula, which can be watered down for less stubborn stains and delicate car seat upholstery.

For a more powerful cleaning action, simply include less water in your Chemical Guys Lightning Fast Upholstery Stain Extractor and water mixture.

As an effective cleaning product, the Chemical Guys Lightning Fast Upholstery Stain Extractor scores high. The fast-acting formula is very effective on recent stains.

In fact, in most applications of Chemical Guys Lightning Fast Upholstery Stain Extractor, the offending stain is simply wiped away.

3. Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner

Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner

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The Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner lives up to its whimsical name for two reasons.

 

First, it is extremely effective at removing the tough stuff like grease and ink stains from car seat upholstery.

Second, Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner is the tough stuff you bring in to clean the dirtiest car seats and upholstery.

The powerful foaming action of the Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner industrial strength formula enables it to lift stubborn stains from fabric and vinyl upholstery.

Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner is also designed to restore original color to faded car seats.

Additionally, the Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner scores high in versatility, as it performs as advertised on a wide range of surfaces.

Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner comes in an easy-to-use aerosol can and requires minimal scrubbing to remove ground in stains, which makes it an excellent spot stain remover.

As a cleaning product Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner scores very high for its stain-fighting effectiveness, with only minor reductions for lacking an odor eliminator.

Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner is not intended for use on leather car seats which prevents it from scoring higher on our list of best cleaning products.

4. SONAX Multi-Purpose Interior Cleaner

SONAX Multi-Purpose Interior Cleaner

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SONAX is the understated powerhouse of the automotive care industry, and it’s no surprise that the SONAX Multi-Purpose Interior Cleaner makes it on to our list.

 

SONAX Multi-Purpose Interior Cleaner consistently over-delivers. The powerful suffricants target dust, dirt, and grime to remove stubborn car seat stains effectively.

SONAX Multi-Purpose Interior Cleaner scores high on our list because it is also a highly effective odor eliminator, perfect for stinky minivans and SUVs.

We like for its overall effectiveness at removing even the most stubborn car seat stains. What’s more, SONAX Multi-Purpose Interior Cleaner can be used in conjunction with steam vacs to clean heavily soiled car seats and deep-set stains.

As the name states, SONAX Multi-Purpose Interior Cleaner is intended for multiple uses and is safe to use just about everywhere in your car’s interior, including velour and fabric upholsteries.

5. Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

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Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is as good at removing stains as we remember our mothers to be. Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is a powerful and versatile car seat and upholstery cleaner.

 

This cleaner truly works as advertised. Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is applied via an easy-to-use spray bottle and quickly gets to work lifting stubborn stains and restoring car seats to a spotless clean.

Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is a powerful yet gentle fabric seat cleaner.

The Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner formula is pH balanced and environmentally friendly, which is impressive considering its effectiveness.

Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is not just safe to use on fabric, velour, vinyl, synthetic and natural hair carpets, it’s specially designed for use on such materials.

Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is even more effective at cleaning car seats when used in conjunction with a steam vac, or vacuum.

Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner scores high on our list because in a market flooded with imitators, it delivers the same dependable stain-fighting power that we have come to expect from Mothers Polishes, Waxes, and Cleaners.

6. Black Diamond Upholstery Cleaner

Black Diamond Upholstery Cleaner

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If you own more than one car, then Black Diamond Upholstery Cleaner is the best product for you.

 

For the worst car seat stains, few products can compete with the stain-lifting power of Black Diamond Upholstery Cleaner.

Black Diamond Upholstery Cleaner is not specifically designed for car seats, but that hardly has any effect on how well it performs on car upholstery.

Black Diamond Upholstery Cleaner is designed to lift a broad range of stains from nearly every type of fabric, which makes it the ideal cleaner for car owners who own more than one vehicle.

Black Diamond Upholstery Cleaner restores faded colors and leaves behind zero sticky residue.

What’s more, since it leaves behind no residue for dirt and dust to cling to, Black Diamond Upholstery Cleaner protects against further buildup.

Additionally, Black Diamond Upholstery Cleaner works exceptionally well at quickly removing spot stains from coffee, grease, pet stains, and dirt.

Best Premium Choice

7. Armor All Oxi Magic Upholstery Cleaner

Armor All Oxi Magic Upholstery Cleaner

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Every once in a while, an automotive cleaner comes along that sets a new standard for the way we clean our cars. Armor All Oxi Magic Upholstery Cleaner is that product.

 

Armor All Oxi Magic Upholstery Cleaner is the product that many professional auto detailers use on their own cars.

It is incredibly effective at lifting even the most stubborn dirt, grease and beverage stains from fabric car seats and car upholstery.

The deep-penetrating formula in Armor All Oxi Magic Upholstery Cleaner is designed to dissolve dirt and dust, lift stains, and restore color to faded car seats.

Armor All Oxi Magic Upholstery Cleaner scores high on our list because it is a multi-purpose upholstery cleaner.

It is just as effective at removing hard-set stains as it is quickly removing spot stains, and is safe for use on fabric, vinyl car seats, and just about every other part of your car’s interior.

Best Budget Choice

8. Turtle Wax Oxy

Turtle Wax Oxy

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Over the past several decades, Turtle Was has developed a reputation for producing dependable results, so it comes as no surprise that Turtle Wax Oxy made it on to our list.

 

Turtle Wax Oxy is a stain removing pro. Even the container of Turtle Wax Oxy is designed with maximum stain fighting prowess in mind.

The Turtle Wax Oxy container is capped with a yellow, “micro-scrub” brush applicator.

Its triple-action stain-fighting formula is specially designed to clean, deodorize, and protect your car seats. Thanks to the scrubbing applicator, Turtle Wax Oxy penetrates tight weave and low nap car seat upholstery to remove the toughest stains.

We score Turtle Wax Oxy near the top of our list because of the inclusion of the innovative “micro-scrub” brush applicator.

The Turtle Wax Oxy formula is strong, but backed by the deep cleaning power of the “micro-scrub” brush, there isn’t a single dirty car seat that can stand up to it.

9. 303 Fabric Guard, Upholstery Protector, Water, and Stain Repellent

303 Fabric Guard, Upholstery Protector, Water, and Stain Repellent

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If you have been scrubbing away at your car seats wondering why they never seem to look any cleaner, then you haven’t been using 303 Fabric Guard.

Your car seats don’t appear t be getting any cleaner because they are not just stained, they are dry and faded. To truly restore them back to their original luster you need to use 303 Fabric Guard.

303 Fabric Guard not only removes stains and cleans your car seats better than the competition, it restores the luster to dry, cracked and faded car seats.

303 Fabric Guard earns a high score on our list because, in addition to cleaning and restoring faded car seats, it guards and protects them from further damage.

303 Fabric guard even protects car seats from sunlight and fading from UV damage.

What’s more, 303 Fabric Guard even fights allergens and removes troublesome odors from your car’s upholstery.

10. Car Guys Super Cleaner

CarGuys Super Cleaner

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Car Guys Super Cleaner is the premium seat cleaner that sets the standard for all other products.

 

Car Guys Super Cleaner’s deep-cleaning formula is designed to dissolve dirt and suspend it from the surface of the car seat so it can be easily wiped away.

What’s more, CarGuys Super Cleaner leaves behind zero sticky residue to attract accumulations of dirt and dust.

We score Car Guys Super Cleaner at the top of our list because it performs as well on car seats as it does on every other interior surface of your car.

Though it comes with a price tag to match its premium results, we feel that it is well worth the extra cost.





Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a carpet cleaner on my car seats?

While I enjoy a straight-forward answer as much as the next person, the answer to this question is certainly yes and no. A carpet cleaner is basically a wet vacuum that also sprays out soap and water into fabric, ideally carpet, and then sucks the dirty soap and water mixture back in.

If you are washing and treating your car seats with a cleaner and they are wet after the cleaning, using a carpet cleaner to suck up the water and soap from the seats is great. It gets more of the dirt out of the seats once the soap has broken it down and decreases drying time.

If you use a carpet cleaner to soap and wet down the seats initially, the carpet cleaner may soak the seats with too much water and raise the drying time and possibly result in mold and mildew.



Jacob Doyle
About Jacob Doyle

I am a Chicago-born writer with a thirst for everything automotive. I live by a simple rule; travel far, work hard and never stop writing. If I am not writing away, you can find me wrenching on my 1989 Ram Charger or wrecking something with wheels.