Car Seat Cleaning Tips

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Car Seat Cleaning Tips

Allow Time for Cleaning the Car Seat: Proper cleaning takes time.  Allow time for the car seat padding, buckle and all the cleaned parts to fully dry.  Air drying may take several hours or even a day.  Make other arrangements for children who need to be transported during this time. 

Always Read and Follow the Car Seat Manufacturer’s Instructions: Each car seat manufacturer has specific instructions on how to clean their car seat.  Follow the cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Maintain Car Seat Between Cleanings: Routinely vacuum crumbs or food and wipe down the car seat.  Spot cleaning will make it easier to maintain the car seat and it may be less likely to take the car seat apart for cleaning.

Wash as Directed: Do NOT use bleach or strong cleaners.

  • Use mild soap and water temperature as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions when washing the car seat pad or parts.
  • Car Seat Pad: Confirm whether the pad is machine washable or must be cleaned by hand washing. Spot-cleaning may be recommended. Plan on air drying the pad, unless the instructions say using the dryer is permitted. 
  • Car Seat Webbing – Harness / LATCH Straps: Many harnesses cannot be immersed in water.
    • Manufacturers may recommend wiping the harness with mild soap and water to clean and allowing the harness to air dry. Clean with a damp soft cloth or sponge to wipe the harness or webbing with mild soap and water. Allow to air dry.
  • Car Seat Shell: Clean with mild soap and water. Rinse off the soap with clean water and dry with a soft cloth. 
    • Take care not to damage any labels when cleaning the car seat.
  • Never use an iron or heat on the car seat pads or webbing. The heat can damage the fibers. 

Evaluate the Crotch Buckle and Lower Anchor Push-On Connectors: Clean as needed to ensure proper latching. 

Make sure the buckle is functioning properly and is free of debris. Many car seat manufacturers recommend using water when cleaning buckles or push-on LATCH connectors.   To clean:

  • Remove the buckle from the car seat.
  • Thoroughly rinse the buckle with warm water.
  • Do Not submerge the buckle webbing into the water.
  • Do Not soak the buckle or use soap, household detergents, solvents, or lubricants.
  • Remove the buckle from the water and shake out any excess water.  Allow the buckle to air dry.
  • Test the buckle by fastening and unfastening the buckle tongues on both sides of the buckle until you hear a click. If you do not hear a click for each buckle tongue you may need to repeat the cleaning process.
  • Never use oil lubricants or chemicals in the buckle as it may change the way the buckle functions.

Reassemble the Car Seat Correctly: Carefully follow the car seat instructions to assemble the car seat correctly. 

  • Take pictures of the car seat parts and harness assembly before taking the car seat apart. The pictures will serve as a guide as you reassemble the car seat.
  • Make sure the harness is not twisted.
  • Pull on the harness system to make sure it is securely installed.
  • Follow the car seat instructions to correctly insert the buckle through the shell and pad of the car seat.

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