How to Get Water Stains Out of Cloth Car Seats (6 Best ways)

Are you struggling with the water stains on car seats and wondering; how to get water stains out of cloth car seats fast? What is the best fabric car seat cleaner to remove water stains? Or what household items can you use to clean cloth car seats? If yes, you have landed at the most appropriate guide, and you will get the ultimate car upholstery cleaning solution here.

So, let’s begin.

The water stain on car seats is caused when the seats are not appropriately dried after being washed or if anyhow the car seat cloth is wet and takes a long time to be dried. Though getting rid of it is not a highly complex process, sometimes people do not want to make efforts to get them off their car seat clothes due to negligence.

how to get water stains out of cloth car seats
(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and images. I earn advertising/referral fees if you make a purchase by clicking them. There is no extra cost to you. See our full disclosure here. )

And it is very surprising to know that sometimes people even don’t know how to get stains out of cloth car seats.

There are many ways through which these tough water stains can be removed from the car cloth seat cover. And there are also ways to prevent them from occurring in the first place. But it’s only possible when the water stain is lighter.

If you have complex or tough stains on the cloth seat cover, then it can be that you might need a professional service for removing the stain. If you are a first-timer who is facing such issues, then the best way to get stains out of car seats is explained below with a sufficient amount of instructions.

In a hurry? Here are the most useful accessories to remove water stains from cloth car seats:

Last update on 2024-06-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

So, just go through the article and learn how to get water stains out of cloth car seats using the best fabric car seat cleaner or using some inexpensive household items available at your home. But before you try to find out all the possible and best ways to clean cloth car seats, you must know what causes water stains on car seats in the first place.

What Causes Water Stains on Car Seats?

Why does water stain car seats? The simple answer to this question is, when the water evaporates from the surface of car seats, it leaves a few mineral deposits behind and these small deposits are the leading cause of the dark stains on your cloth car seats or leather car seats.

And in case, if you are thinking about the most common causes behind the water stains on your cloth car seats, you will notice that the reason behind water stains on the cloth car seat can be too many, and the cleaning process also depends on the rigidity of the water stain on the cloth.

Sometimes the water stain can be the urine of your kid or pet, sometimes the water stain can be due to a water accident while driving, and sometimes it can be due to improper drying of the cloth cover after a wash.

But no matter what the reason for the stain is, cleaning stains out of car seats is not always a task that most car owners prefer to do.

Most of the time, they let the stain remain for a more extended period until it starts looking awful. If you are also one of them who has been noticing the water stain on your car seat cover, then it is evident that you may be needing a car seat cleaner to get rid of those stains.

There are various professional cleaners (car upholstery cleaning services or car interior cleaning services) for this purpose. Still, if you have the time and energy, you can go for a traditional car cleaning procedure using simple household items. Both processes are described below.

Do you know? How to Remove Scratches from Black Plastic Car Exterior

How to Get Water Stains Out of Cloth Car Seats (Using Fabric Cleaner)

If you are looking for cleaning stains out of cloth car seats easily, then using a top-rated and best fabric car seat cleaner is anyway recommended. It’s easy and faster to clean the tough water stains as compared to the DIY car seat cleaning methods.

You just need some useful stuff to wash off the stain from your car seat fabric. No matter how stiff the stain is, it will be removed easily if you follow the step by step process. You can also clean the car upholstery with a car upholstery cleaner, and it’s a quite hassle-free process.

Now without any further discussion, let us go through the step-by-step car seat cleaning process and learn how to get stains out of cloth car seats using a fabric car seat cleaner and upholstery cleaner for car seats. Here we go:

Step 1: Vacuum the Stain Areas

Sometimes, in an attempt to remove water stains from cloth car seats, people tend to cause more stains on them due to the surrounding dust and dirt. That is why it is recommended that you clean the surrounding first and then attempt to clean the car cloth seat cover. And to do that, using a portable car vacuum cleaner can prove to be really helpful.

The portable vacuum cleaners are trustworthy enough to pull out the extra dirt from around the car cloth seat cover, making it easier for you to deal with the water stain on it. It is only after you vacuum clean the stain areas that you can use the fabric cleaners to remove the stain.

black and decker dustbuster

And in case if you are wondering what is the best handheld car vacuum cleaner or which cordless handheld vacuum is best, then some of the portable car vacuum cleaners for this purpose are BLACK+DECKER dustbuster Handheld Vacuum (this is a cordless handheld vacuum cleaner which is quite famous for its long battery life and outstanding performance) and ThisWorx Portable Car Vacuum Cleaner (it’s a high power corded handheld vacuum cleaner for cars and trucks).

Step 2: Spray the Upholstery Cleaner

After using the vacuum cleaner on your stained cloth car seats, you can be assured that all the loose dirt around it is gone. Now you need a reliable fabric car seat cleaner or car upholstery cleaner to remove water stains from car seats.

It would be best to have the right car upholstery cleaning kit depending upon your car seat material. Basically, people have leather, cloth, or vinyl seat covers, and thus you must choose the appropriate upholstery cleaner for removing the stain off the cover.

dry foam upholstery cleaner

Sometimes an upholstery cleaner for cars can go with all three types of covers, whereas sometimes there can be different car seat cleaners for different materials. If you are confused as to which spray cleaner is good for the purpose, then you can go with Lane’s Car Products Dry Foam Upholstery Cleaner, and Chemical Guys Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Kit for their all in one coverage.

These top-rated fabric cleaner for car seats come with a pleasant scent and are used by professional auto detailers. If you want quick results in effective removing stains from clothes, carpet, upholstery, and more, start using premium quality car upholstery cleaners like these.

When it comes to knowing exactly how to get water stains out of cloth car seats, you must pay attention while choosing the right car seat cleaner.

Step 3: Brush the Sprayed Areas

Using a brush on the car seat fabric usually gets stains out of car seats easily. After vacuuming the surrounding areas and spraying with the fabric car seat cleaner or upholstery cleaner for car, you will require an excellent brush to wash off the stain easily.

If the stain is very tough, then it may take some time to brush it off, but if the stain is not too challenging, then rubbing it a few times will have a better impact on the car seat cloth. And when it comes to clean cloth car seats without doing any damage, using a high-quality upholstery cleaning brush is exceptionally mandatory.

upholstery scrub brush

But if you don’t have a good quality brush for cleaning car interior and if you are confused as to which upholstery cleaning brush you must buy to remove water stains from cloth car seats, then you can consider buying Upholstery Cleaner Scrub Brush Set or Chemical Guys Upholstery Detailing Brush as these are good enough for serving the purpose.

Step 4: Wipe It Using A Microfiber Towel

When you are done with vacuuming, using a fabric car seat cleaner, and brushing off the stain with stain removal solutions, know that you are almost done with the water stain removal process. Now only 20% of work is left to be done, and then the cloth car seat is free of water stains to match the decency of your car interiors.

In the next step, all you need to do is use lightweight and premium quality microfiber towels for cars to get rid of the moisture or the leftover on the surface of the car seat. Sometimes, even after spraying the seat cleaners and using brushes, there can be water retention which can cause stains again.

chemical guys microfiber drying towel

So, the microfiber towel would help in wiping off the moisture content on the seat quickly. Some of the best microfiber towels for drying car without scratching available in the market are Chemical Guys Professional Grade Premium Microfiber Towel and Meguiar’s Water Magnet Microfiber Drying. They are quality microfiber towels capable of serving the purpose of wiping off the moisture content of the car seat cover.

Step 5: Allow the Cloth Car Seats to Dry

Once you have performed all the above steps, the best way to clean car seat stains is to let them dry until the moisture content is gone.

Sometimes people make the mistake of using the car cloth seat cover even if it is wet or has not dried correctly. This can cause natural tough stains on the seat covers. And it would be best if you allowed it dry even after you have tried removing the stains by applying car upholstery cleaners or using brushes.

One more thing that you must keep in mind is that you should never put the cover under direct sunlight as it can damage the car upholstery to a significant extent. Allow to dry it naturally so that the stain is gone and the upholstery remains damage-free as well.

Step 6: Repeat the Whole Process Until Clean

The above process of removing water stains from car upholstery might seem to be very easy, but only until you notice that the water stain is still prevalent on the cloth even after you have followed the entire process wholeheartedly.

There is nothing to be worried about because sometimes, the water stains can be adamant, and they may not go away with one round of cleaning. Thus, you may need to repeat the entire process if you notice that the water stains have not gone in the first wash. Keep repeating the process until the car upholstery is entirely free of any water stains.

You might also like to check out: 13 Best Fuel Injector Cleaner That Actually Works

How to Remove Water Stains from Cloth Car Seats (Using Household Items)

Till now, you have read about cleaning your cloth car seats using professional items like a car fabric cleaner or a vacuum cleaner. Now, we will discuss how to clean car seat fabric yourself by using home-based products. Yes, we are talking about homemade cleaners for fabric car seats.

These are DIY methods of cleaning your car seats and getting rid of tough water stains on them. There are some household items that can easily remove water stains on your cloth car seat cover. So, just read along to discover more about the same.

So, now without any further ado, let’s check out how to get water stains out of cloth car seats using homemade upholstery cleaner for cars. Here we go:

Use Laundry Detergent

If you’re wondering how to clean water stains from cloth car seats using household items, then you won’t be surprised to know that you can use a laundry detergent for the purpose. Yes, it’s one of the most inexpensive ways to get stains out of car seats.

Of course, we know that laundry detergent is very effective in pulling out tough stains from our regular wearable clothes. And thus, using a top-rated powder laundry detergent or liquid laundry detergent to remove the tough water stains from the car seat covers can prove to be useful.

powder laundry detergent

In order to clean fabric car seats, use some lukewarm water and mix the detergent with it. Use the solution to dampen the stain a little bit. Then, either use a clean towel or wash off the detergent from the cloth until the stain goes off.

You can also scrub the portion where there is a stain. After you are done with washing, you need to dry the car cover till it is dried thoroughly. If you do not dry it properly, then chances are there that the stain won’t be removed completely.

This process is as simple as washing clothes at home. Usually, we use dress washing detergent to get rid of stains from our clothes. Likewise, we can also use these detergents to get rid of the stains on our car seat cover, but only if it is a cloth cover.

Try Vinegar Solution

Vinegar is the best thing to get stains out of car seats as compared to other such materials used for the purpose. It is also a cheaper alternative to get rid of tough stains on the car seat covers because if you go for professional cleaning services, it can cost you much more.

It’s easy and convenient to use a vinegar solution to wash off the tough water stains on cloth car seats. Just take a bucket full of hot water, add one cup of white vinegar to it, and your solution is ready; it would be better if you can add a little amount of dish soap to the water and vinegar solution as that would be very effective in removing tough stains from the cloth car seat covers.

distilled white vinegar

Once the solution is prepared, pour it into the stained part of the cover and let it seep into it for a reasonable amount of time. You can use a brush to scrub it afterwards, and thereby the stain would disappear quickly.

Also, use some warm water to remove the soap shield from the cover. It would be best if you did not keep your car windows closed after carrying out this procedure. Keep them open so that the car cover can dry quickly without leaving any other marks on them.

Use Baking Soda Solution

Are you wondering how to get stains out of cloth seats in cars using baking soda? Well, it’s a simple and inexpensive procedure. You just need a little amount of baking soda and an old toothbrush to make this procedure successful.

We chose baking soda as an agent to clean the car fabric because it works wonderfully well as a cleaner, along with being a good deodorizer as well.

You would need ¼ cup of baking soda powder and a bucket of lukewarm water. Mix the solution well before applying it to the stained portion of the cloth car seat. You may or may not keep it for half an hour as it depends on the rigidity of the stain.

pure baking soda

If the stain is very tough, then it is recommended that you let the solution settle on it for about half an hour before you scrub it with the toothbrush in circular motions. But if the stain is not too severe, then you can scrub the cloth just after applying the solution.

Remember, do not scrub the cloth too hard, which may affect the cloth to a greater extent. Clean the cover with a dampen cloth and let it dry till the stain goes off.

Apply Club Soda

Generally, people mix club soda with mocktails. Right? So, what? It can have other uses too!

Club soda is considered an excellent homemade cleaner for fabric car seats as it is handy on the cloth cover. The club soda solution is full of carbonated water mixed with potassium citrate and potassium bicarbonate that works wonders in removing tough stains from clothes.

But one thing you must keep in mind is that club soda is not too effective for hard stains; it can be used for removing light stains only. To continue with the procedure, you will need a spray bottle, a scrubber, and club soda, of course! Pour the club soda into the spray bottle and spray the solution into the portion of the cloth cover where it is stained.

club soda

Then scrub the portion with the brush till the stain gets loosened a bit. After the scrubbing is done, use a clean towel or cloth to wipe away the remaining moisture content in the cover. Allow it to dry, and then notice how clean it becomes. If the stains do not go away, try a different method as we have provided multiple solutions on how to get water stains out of cloth car seats. Isn’t it?

Try Steam Cleaning

The best way to clean fabric car seats without scrubbing them for long is to use the steam cleaning technique. If you are tired of scrubbing the stain out of the cloth cover, you will find magic in the steam cleaning process.

It’s easier, powerful and effective at the same time. It might not be as affordable a method as using the other household items are, but it is an easy technique altogether.

But before you start with the steaming process, you must remember to vacuum clean the car cover and the surrounding portions to make it free of any kind of grime or dirt so that it does not interfere with the steam cleaning process.

mcculloch deluxe canister steam cleaner

It would be best if you bought a heavy-duty steam cleaning machine to carry out the cleaning process. The steam machine pours out hot water on the fabric and sucks in the dirt and grime on the fabric.

The steam cleaning procedure is effective on car covers that are very dirty and has hard stains all over them. Also, it does not only clean the dirt but makes your car seats smell refreshing. Again, remember to let the cover dry appropriately before you start using it again.

Do you know? How to Get Mold Out of Car Carpet in 6 Simple Steps

How to Prevent Water Stains on Cloth Car Seats

As we all know, “prevention is better than cure“, so it is better to prevent the water stains from happening in the first place rather than making efforts to remove it once it occupies your car upholstery adamantly. If you are wondering as to how to get water stains off cloth car seats, then you can do it very quickly.

For that, you would need to be a bit more careful with the way you maintain your car upholstery. Like it would be best if you kept a small vacuum or a car fabric cleaner along with you every time you take out your car for a ride. The best way to clean cloth car seats and keep off the water stain is to clean them as soon as any kind of water accident takes place.

Some other necessary measures that you can take to prevent water stains on your car cloth seat cover includes:

  • Keep your car seat protected by adding a washable and removable car seat cover or protector. This will make the cleaning process more manageable and will also keep your original seat protected.
  • Vacuum clean the seat cover frequently to keep the upholstery cleaner. Also, use a microfiber towel and car wipes to clean the seat cover once every 2-3 days.
  • Avoid eating or drinking inside your car as it can stain your car seat cover if anyhow it gets spilled. If at all, you face a water accident inside your vehicle, then wipe off the water immediately using baby wipes.
  • If you are carrying your pet with you in your car, then be more careful as they are prone to urinating, vomiting or spilling food and water anytime. Keep them inside crates, or at least use multiple seat protectors when carrying a pet along with you.
  • Try to dry your seat cover after every wash or if it gets wet anyhow. Most water stains happen because of non-drying issues; when you dry your car seat cover properly, the chances of getting water stains decreases.

How to Get Water Stains Out of Car Seats – Author’s View

The water stains that are caused in the car cloth seats usually look dirty and awful. You need to prevent it in the first place, and if at all you cannot control it, then you must implement the effective and best ways to get rid of it. To remove water stains from cloth car seats, choose a suitable method (from the above-explained list) according to your convenience and proceed with it.

You can either proceed with the professional car upholstery cleaning methods and use fabric car seat cleaner to remove water stains from cloth car seats, or you can also go for the DIY car seat cleaning solutions where you can use household items to get rid of the severe water stains.

Personally, I will recommend using fabric cleaner to get stains out of cloth car seats because the chances of better cleaning are more in this method as compared to the DIY approach (homemade cleaner for fabric car seats).

There are countless car detailing products, and top-rated upholstery cleaner for car seats are also available in the market, which you can use to remove water stains from cloth car seats. Though it is my personal pick, you can go with whatever method you find best to keep your car seat cloth cleaner.

If you found this guide “how to get water stains out of cloth car seats” helpful for you, please feel free to share it with your friends and family members so that they can also remove water stains from car seats easily without doing any damages.

You may also be interested in checking out:

About Jace Cuban

I am an automotive enthusiast who loves to be around cars and pickup trucks. Applying innovative car care products and installing different latest car accessories are my hobbies. Also, I love sharing my adventurous experience with car lovers.

Leave a Comment