Your car’s interior says more about you than it does your car. No one wants to sit on dirty car seats. Using car seat shampoo on a regular basis is great for your interior and anyone who sits in it. If you’re going to completely clean your car, ignoring the most important feature of your car’s interior would be a sin!
Whether your car seats call for the best car seat shampoo on the market or you’re just looking to lift a stain, the best car shampoos will include at least one of these features:
Scrubbing brush or applicator
We consider the automotive products featured on this list the best car seat shampoos of 2020 because they clean and condition car seats as well as they protect from future damage. Here are out favorites.
Most people purchase Chemical Guys Fabric Clean Carpet and Upholstery Shampoo and Odor Eliminator after they realize the budget car seat shampoo they purchased isn’t going to cut it.
Chemical Guys has done it again with their latest car seat upholstery shampoo and odor eliminator. As the name states, this car seat shampoo from Chemical Guys eliminates odors on contact with the car seat.
Chemical Guys Fabric Clean Carpet and Upholstery Shampoo and Odor Eliminator does far more than eliminate odors, though.
The deep-cleaning formula is engineered to seep into the surface of the car seat where it dissolves stains and lifts contaminants so they can be easily wiped away.
Additionally, Chemical Guys Upholstery Shampoo contains no ammonia, bleach, or any other color-fading chemical agents.
Instead, it utilizes non-toxic chemicals and biotechnology to restore a like-new condition to your car seats.
Chemical Guys Upholstery Shampoo is also heavily concentrated, which means you can use very little product to return your car seats to a factory clean.
As the name implies, Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner is some seriously tough stuff.
Few products can compete with the sheer stain-fighting power for Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner.
Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner is an industrial strength multi-use cleaner that works phenomenally well as a car seat shampoo.
Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner is specially formatted for deep cleaning. The powerful aerosol digs into the surface of the car seat where it lifts dirt deposits and dissolves stubborn stains.
We score Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner high on our list for how well it restores color to faded seats. We also like Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner for its versatility. You can use it to clean just about any surface.
Pet owners can attest to the sheer amount of hair that can accumulate in the car. Pet hair is unsightly and can travel from the surface of a car seat to your clothes on contact.
Pet hair can also snake its way between the weave of the upholstery where it becomes even more difficult to remove.
Bissell Pet Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is the answer to car seats covered in pet hair and the only way to be sure you’ve removed every last strand.
Bissell Pet Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is the perfect car seat shampoo for the pet-friendly car owner.
Bissell Pet Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is applied via a scrubbing brush applicator that digs deep into the surface of the car seat to remove everything from pet hair to pet stains.
The Bissell formula contains enzyme-producing bacteria that breaks down pet stains.
We add Bissell Pet Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner to our best car seat shampoo list because the only thing we love more than our cars is our pets.
Pet hair sticks to car upholstery like glue, and Bissell Pet Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is the only car seat shampoo on our list that powers through pet stains as well as it removes automotive stains.
7. Armor All Oxi Magic Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner
Armor All Oxi Magic Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is the car seat shampoo that sets a new standard for the way we clean our car seat upholstery.
Armor All Oxi Magic Upholstery Cleaner is the car seat shampoo that the professional auto detailers use on their own car seats.
The deep penetrating formula of Armor All Oxi Magic Upholstery Cleaner lifts stubborn dirt, grease and beverage stains from fabric car seat upholstery.
We score Armor All Oxi Magic Upholstery Cleaner at the top of our list because is a multi-purpose upholstery cleaner that is just as effective at removing hard-set stains as it is at quickly removing spot stains.
Oxi Magic Upholstery Cleaner is safe for use on fabric, vinyl car seats, and just about every other part of your car’s interior.
8. Black Diamond Stoneworks Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner
It’s no surprise that Turtle Wax Power Out Upholstery Cleaner qualifies for our list of ten best car seat shampoos.
Turtle Wax has been upending expectations for decades and has long been the underrated champ of the automotive cleaning world.
Turtle Wax Power Out Upholstery Cleaner is incredibly effective at dissolving tough stains.
Turtle Wax Power Out Upholstery Cleaner includes a micro-scrub brush applicator which digs deep into the weave of your car’s upholstery to deliver its fast-acting formula directly to the source of the stain.
The Turtle Wax formula consists of powerful cleaning agents, conditioners, and deodorizers that dissolve stains, restore color to faded seats, and even eliminate odors.
Turtle Wax scores high marks for its innovative applicator and the effectiveness of its formula.
As is characteristic of the Turtle Wax brand, there are no fancy gimmicks or lofty claims with the Power Out Upholstery Cleaner; it simply works, and it works well.
Turtle Wax Power Out Upholstery Cleaner would score higher on our best car seat shampoo 2020 list if it were compatible with leather seats but, unfortunately, the formula will damage leather upholstery.
We use the saying “Mothers knows best” around here all the time because every time we test car care products from Mothers, we are blown away by their effectiveness.
Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is a deep-cleaning car seat shampoo that is a cut above the rest.
The Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner formula utilizes an environmentally friendly, pH-balanced formula to dissolve dirt deposits and lift the most stubborn stains from car seat upholstery.
The feature that sets Mothers’ Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner apart from the rest is its restorative properties.
Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner restores color to faded seats and removes deep-set dirt to return your car seats to a factory finish.
Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is also extremely effective at removing grease stains, which have a tendency to spread the more you try and clean them.
Using Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is easy, too. Simply spray Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner on the car seat, let it soak, then wipe it away.
Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is safe to use as a car seat shampoo on fabric, velour, sheepskin, vinyl, synthetic, and even natural hair car seats.
Car Upholstery Shampoo Buying Guide & FAQ
Why Use Car Interior Shampoo on Your Car
No car seat can ever be truly safe from damaging stains. Any soccer mom will tell you that car seats are the most frequently stained areas of a car’s interior.
Car seats occupy a lot of space in your car and, when they get dirty, they make the entire car interior seem dirty.
Shampooing car seats is the best way to ensure your car interior remains clean and free of stains that can permanently damage your car’s upholstery.
Professional auto-detailing isn’t cheap, and few of us have the time to seek out a car seat shampoo service.
Luckily, car seat shampoo and quality car upholstery cleaner is readily available at most automotive supply stores, and there are many brands to choose from.
Car Shampoo Buying Guide
Whether mechanical or cosmetic, most car owners search the internet when they encounter an automotive issue.
In fact, that may be how you found this guide to car seat shampoo.
The internet isn’t perfect, and typing “car seat shampoo service near me” into a search engine will not reveal the best solution to dirty car seats.
Auto detailing services are costly, and the odds are good that you will find the car seat shampoo they use at any automotive supply store.
You don’t need a car seat shampoo machine and you don’t need an auto detailing service to achieve the utmost clean from your car seats.
All you need is car seat shampoo and a little elbow grease.
How to Choose the Best Car Seat Shampoo
The best car seat shampoo for your car depends on your interior and the upholstery of your car seats.
Car seat shampoo designed for leather upholstery differs from the shampoos that are intended for use on fabric upholstery.
In fact, using the wrong car seat shampoo on leather car seats can damage them beyond repair.
To choose the best car seat shampoo for your seats, first consider the material used to upholster them.
Next, consider the state of your car seats. If your car seats have faded from years of heavy use and neglect, they will require a more powerful car interior shampoo than if they are just mildly dirty.
Tips For Using Car Seat Shampoo
If you have leather seats, vacuuming the excess dirt from the surface of your car seats is an especially important step as any contaminants left on the seat may scratch the delicate surface layers of the upholstery.
Avoid Homemade Car Seat Shampoo for Leather Seats
If you consider yourself a “do it yourself” car owner, you may be asking how to make car seat shampoo yourself.
Though there are plenty of recipes for do-it-yourself car seat shampoo, we can’t recommend that you utilize any of them on your car seats.
It can be surprisingly easy to damage your leather car seat upholstery. If you plan on shampooing your leather upholstery, then it is important to distinguish between the different types of leather used in car interiors.
Buy the Right Products For Your Upholstery
Get to know your upholstery type to make sure you buy the right product for your car. In general, four types of leather upholsteries populate the car seat market.
Aniline leather is considered by most to be the best leather used in car interiors. Aniline leather is made from the highest-quality animal hides available and is used almost exclusively in luxury vehicles.
It gets its name from the aniline dyes used to create the vibrant colors used in British luxury vehicles and Italian sports cars.
Aniline leather that has been treated with protective coating and conditioners are referred to as semi-aniline.
These coatings make the color of the leather more uniform, and the natural pattern of the leather hide less apparent.
Full-Grain leather is texture-treated to retain the natural pattern of the leather hide and conditioned to be more durable than aniline and semi-aniline leather.
Full-Grain leather is more durable and less susceptible to damage than aniline leather.
However, due to the extra chemical treatments, it is considered a step below aniline leathers when it comes to quality.
Corrected-Grain leathers are the most conditioned and chemically treated leathers available on the automotive market and are therefore the most durable and affordable.
Corrected-grain leather interiors are very common and generally included in the more basic leather packages.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the best place to shampoo my car seats?
Assuming you are shampooing your car seats yourself at home, the main thing to keep in mind in regards to location is airflow. Moisture that is left and unable to dry quickly can create odors that may be worse than dirty seats themselves. If you are in a garage when shampooing the seats, keep your car doors open and keep as much air flowing through the garage as possible. Keeping the doors open is the easiest way to achieve good airflow but it may not be possible in cold temperatures.
If you are having a hard time finding a spot with good ventilation, using a good fan is a great solution. Also, shampoo your car seats in a location that is easy to clean up, as you should expect drips and runoff involved in the process.
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.