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How To Clean A Baby Car Seat: Step by Step Guide

Mom Cleaning A Child Car Seat

Let’s face it with kids spending a lot of time in the car seat, they are bound to get really messy if not smelly.

Kids by themselves can be messy what with the vomit, spit-up, drool, blown-out diapers dropped snacks and spilled food and milk can make for quite the nasty combination.

In fact, a University of Birmingham study found that the child car seat that you so love to put your child into can have more germs and bacteria than the average toilet seat.

This would of course make it not a child safety seat but a possible transmitter of deadly pathogens to your child.

But not to worry Wumblers have written a step by step guide to clean the car seat to ensure that it is not only safe but also sparkling clean and smelling fresh just like it was new.

Preparing for Cleaning the Baby Car Seat

clean child car seat
  • Choose a Good Time: Cleaning the car seat takes quite some time and hence you want to set aside time that you will only looking to clean the child seat particularly when the child will not be needing it.
  • Clean Up Major Messes: It is always important to clean up the big messes as soon as possible. Any loose, chunky, sticky or sloppy debris can be removed using paper towels, damp rags, or baby wipes.
  • Remove Seat from the Car: Unite harnesses and straps and take out the seat. Ensure you take pictures so that you can pout back everything just as it was.
  • Vacuum, brush, or shake the debris and food crumbs from the hard to reach parts of the car seat using a handheld vacuum or a toothbrush
  • Remove the Straps and Cover: Consulting your manual remove the fabric if the seat allows and ensure you know how everything fits together so that you can put it all back when you are done cleaning

Washing the Base and Cover

Washing cover and base
  • Identify and Clean Spot Stains: Use a mild detergent to clean any obvious stains and spots by rubbing with mild detergent or soap, water and sponge if the cover is not removable
  • Launder Using Manual Instructions: Check manual for any specific fabric laundering instructions for the cover. In general any mild detergent ought to be fine
  • Clean the Base: Wash the metal and plastic parts of the seat using water, mild detergent and sponge to rub away any dirt and grime
  • Clean Straps and Buckles: Check the manual for manufacturer instructions on how to clean the buckles and straps to ensure you do not degrade the strength of the straps and harnesses.

Washing Buckles and Straps

buckles and harnesses
  • Consult your Manual: Check for instructions on how to clean your harnesses and straps. In  general gentle soap, a soft cloth and warm water rather than harsh detergents should be used to protect the harnesses that will be weakened by harsh soaps making them less effective in a crash
  • Wipe Down the Harnesses: Wipe away surface stains with mild soap and if that is not enough, order new harnesses from the manufacturer.
  • Dip the Buckle in Warm Water: The buckle which is plastic or metal can take more vigorous cleaning and should be cleaned with soap and water to take out all the grime in the mechanism.
  • Dry Out the Buckles and Straps: Use sunshine fresh air and time to dry out your buckles and get rid of any bad odors from the straps before re-installation

Drying and Reassembly

clean baby car seat
  • Dry out the Parts: Run the cover through the dryer if the manual permits it and air dry your buckles and harness straps while the plastic surface will dry out in the sun.
  • Use Sunshine and Sun to Deal with Odors: If the cover is not removable leave the entire seat in the sun in airy place. You can also use odor eliminating sprays as long as you ensure they are safe for the child.
  • Replace Cover: Once the components are fully dry reattach the cover and seat base using the pictures you took in the first step
  • Reattach the Straps: Refer to the manual and ensure you install the straps correctly without twisting. If you are not sure if you have installed the seat correctly visit a CPS, fire, or police station to have an expert look and confirm that it is a safe installation

Dos and Donts of Cleaning Child Car Seats

  • Do not ever clean your harnesses in the washing machine as this weakens the tensile strength possibly making the harnesses weaker and less effective in the instance of an accident
  • Never use use abrasives or harsh soaps to clean the harnesses. Abrasives such as steel wool will destroy the fibers and the restraining capacity of the seat will be severely weakened.

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