Car Seat Cleaning Tips
Car seats can get pretty stained as kids get older because of food and drinks that spill. Chances are the car seat you bought was for your infant and now has changed over to a toddler and eventually a small child car seat. There are crumbs in the cover and down in the crevices of the car seat. The base is filthy as well and you are wondering what is going to get these stains out of the car seats. Your children probably have vomited a few times and have had diaper blowouts as well. There are also many other bodily functions that are stuck on that seat. When kids start potty training, they are bound to have accidents. Car sickness can also be another problem. If you live in the country and leave your windows down, you might even get an occasional skunk that let loose. You definitely have a problem if a skunk sprays because the car seat has to be replaced. It’s difficult when you are driving alone and suddenly you realize your child is sick and you have to pull over into a safe area. You see your child made a terrible, smelly mess.
You are wondering how are you going to clean the car seat? Don’t use anything like bleach or other cleaning products because you’re going to ruin the seat. The best thing to do is always keep the manual because the manual has the cleaning instructions for the seat. The manual also tells the parents what to do and what not to do.
The quicker you clean the car seat the better if you are out in the middle of nowhere and you will also save your child’s seat. You might be tempted to wait a few days and just grab the chunks and change your child’s clothes, but don’t take the risk of waiting. Many parents can’t afford to buy new car seats and they average around eighty dollars. Bring along a bottle of fresh water, a good bottle of soap that is gentle, baby wipes and always carry clean rags.
Take off the really gross stuff first and use baby wipes to remove it. You might as well add a few pairs of disposable gloves because you are going to have to pick off the chunks if you can before you start. Don’t scrub anything that you can pick off or remove yourself.
Next, you are going to want to wipe down the straps and if the water isn’t working, add the soap. There is a difference between gentle and natural soap so make sure you get gentle soap and keep it refilled. Use a soft cloth and cool water to wipe down everything on the straps of the car seat.
You can take the buckle and put it in a jar of tap water, make sure you keep any webbing out of the water. Once you swoosh the buckle around, the motion should remove anything that got stuck in the buckle of the harness. Sometimes everything is removable, including the straps and if you decide to finish the rest at home, you can lay everything flat and let the warm sunshine dry the fabric and straps for a few hours. The sunshine and the wind along with the cleaning method should get rid of any nasty odors and smells. Most of the harnesses are removable.
If you have followed all of the steps in the manual and you still smell some funky odor or there is quite a bit of stain, then repeat the steps again. If the harness is not easy to put back on, the company you bought it from charges a small fee to reinstall it. If the harness and straps will not come clean, call the company and ask if you can buy a new one for your child’s car seat. Remember that manufacturers understand that children can have accidents and bodily fluids are always going to be around when you have a small child. Car seats are supposed to last your child for many years but the harness can be the biggest problem to keep clean and fresh. Make sure when dealing with the harness that you read the instructions so that you know what not to do.
Never put this device in the washing machine even though it sounds like the easiest idea. Yes, this might come out stain free but you might also ruin it for life. The reasoning behind this is you can’t ruin the strength of the webbing by using a washing machine. Car accidents can be devastating when you are driving and from the impact of hitting another car. These restraints are made to stretch with the webbing that the straps are made out of when there is an impact. Once you crash, the webbing reduces the amount of force that your child feels. The spin cycle is what ruins the straps and will take the stretch out of the harness. This will then increase the chance that your child will feel more of an impact during a crash and your child may be hurt.
Don’t use any type of abrasive cleaners like steel wool. The steel wool ruins the fibers and although a few broken ones won’t hurt anyone, a bunch of broken fibers will cause the restraint in the harness to become weak. This includes vinegar, baking soda, and bleach.
Stick to gentle soaps and don’t use anything harsh to clean the car seat material. Make sure soap is allowed before you choose anything so this is why it’s important to read the manual. The PH level of the cleaning supplies is important because the higher the ph level the more corrosive it will be to certain fabrics and the base of the car seat. Remember how important the webbing is as well so a gentle cleaner with a very low ph will not ruin your child’s car seat. If you are wondering what is good to use to clean the car seat, Dawn Dish Soap, Dove bar soap and Johnson and Johnson baby soap have gentle and balanced ph levels.
There are some companies that don’t include the cleaning instructions in the manual so parents should look at the manuals before they invest in a car seat for their child to make sure everything they need to know is in the manual. If the company lists the seat pad cleaning but not the harness, strap and webbing cleaning, call the company and ask for the directions. All car seat manufacturers should have customer service reps that will help you with any questions you have.