Parents know that kids can be unspeakably gross. Anything and everything can be a victim of their mess, but the car seat seems to be a frequent sufferer. Learn how to salvage your child’s car seat after accidents on the road. Follow these tips to get a clean car seat.
Before you remove the seat, take note of how it’s hooked up inside the car. Sometimes those things are complicated to install! Then remove the seat from the car and place it on a flat surface for cleaning.
Use a baby wipe to remove debris from the seat. Wipe down the seat really well, but don’t use an over-saturated cloth as this could make the mess even bigger. Next vacuum up the debris you could not wipe away using a suitable attachment. Get in those edges and the cracks of the seat.
You should be able to remove the cover and straps from the seat. There may be stretchy hooks holding the fabric onto the frame. Release those hooks. As with installation, reassembling a car seat could be difficult. Make notes or take pictures of what goes where if you have to.
Check the tag to see if the cover can be machine washed. If it can, throw it in the wash per the tag’s instructions. Wash for a full cycle and hang to dry.
If the cover is not machine washable, place it in a sink or bathtub filled with soapy water. If there are stains, use cold water. Scrub the cover with a soft-bristled brush or cloth. Hang to dry when you’ve finished.
Wipe down the straps using cold water and a clean soft cloth. Use a gentle soap if soap is needed. Lay the straps out flat to dry.
Once all your pieces have been cleaned and are completely dried, reassemble and reinstall your newly clean car seat!
Always check your manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning a car seat. If our recommendations and the manufacturer’s instructions conflict, please defer to your manual.
Do not put the harness straps of your child’s car seat in the washing machine. Machine washing the straps will ruin their tensile strength. The harness is meant to have a little stretch in order to prolong the amount of time the child goes from traveling at a high rate of speed to coming to a full stop. Machine washing will reduce the stretchiness of the straps and increase the amount of force applied to a child’s body in the event of a crash.
When cleaning the straps, do not use harsh or abrasive cleaners. These also will affect the functionality of the straps. Products like steel wool and acidic or alkaline cleaners will weaken the straps. Use soft tools and cleaners that are close to pH neutral.
Have a Safe and Clean Car Seat
A car seat might not stay clean for long, but at least now you know how to tackle each mess. With these tips, those horrendous messes might not be any less horrendous, but you’ve got them under control.