How to Clean Your Child’s Car Seat

How to Clean Your Child’s Car Seat

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Image Credit: @strollinginthesuburbs

Messes are inevitable when you’ve got children. And if you spend a lot of time on the road, your little one’s car seat is prime real estate for smushed crackers, lost crayons, and, dare we say it, leaky diapers. So, whether you’re elbows deep in disinfectant or arming yourself with the knowledge of deep cleaning for future emergencies, you’ve come to the right place. Nobody wants to leave their LO sitting in a dirty car seat, but car seats can be tricky to properly clean. Since they are designed to keep your child safe, car seats require careful attention to maintain their integrity. We get that no parent wants to spend their “free” time cleaning car seats, so we’re here to make the process as quick and easy as possible. 

Back to Basics

Before you dive headfirst into the nitty-gritty (literally), here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Get to the mess as soon as you can – everything goes downhill when spills or grime has had a chance to become one with the car seat.
  2. Remember that the manual knows all! Consult the instruction manual for your specific car seat before cleaning.
  3. When you remove the cover and harness for cleaning, take careful note of how everything is connected to make reattaching easier.
  4. Avoid using abrasive materials to clean your seat, especially the harness. Cleaning agents like steel wool or bleach might seem like a quick way to get all the gunk and grime out, but using them can damage the seat and cause deterioration of the materials.
  5. If there’s just no hope, you can always order replacement parts (seat pad, buckle and more). Make sure you have the model number and manufacturing date handy when contacting us. They can be found on a sticker on the side of the car seat. We’ll use this info to order parts that have been approved for use with your seat.
  6. Defense is always the best offense. Protect the seats of your car with a vehicle seat protector. This mat sits between your little’s car seat and the seat of the vehicle to protect against compression damage and provides an extra barrier against spills and messes. So you can focus all your attention on cleaning the car seat instead of your car. 


Just thinking about cleaning a car seat is enough to send any parent running for the hills. All that washing, all that scrubbing, and then all that waiting. You’ve got a mess brewing in the back seat and a playdate in five hours – you’re a parent on a mission (and a schedule). That’s why many Maxi-Cosi fabrics are washer and dryer safe. Here’s a step-by-step guide to cleaning your Maxi-Cosi car seat.  

How to Clean Car Seat Fabric:

  1. For big messes, take the seat out. Uninstall the seat and clean it outside of the car, your back will thank you later.
  2. Remove as much of the mess before bringing in the cleaners and machines. So get some gloves and grab whatever chunky, sticky, slimy, crusty mess your little one has left you.
  3. Remove the seat cover and pillows and shake out the crumbs and such that have gotten shoved into the crevices. If that’s not enough, bust out the vacuum and shove it deep into all the crevices to find every last cracker particle.
  4. Machine wash the fabrics on gentle with cold water, making sure the harness covers are closed. Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach.
  5. Tumble dry on low for ten to twelve minutes, removing promptly.
  6. Reattach the harness and seat cover – consult your manual for the correct process for your specific car seat.  

How to Clean Car Seat Harness:

  1. The harness should not go through the washing machine – it can damage the webbing.
  2. Wipe down the plastic frame of the seat with a damp cloth.
  3. Spot clean the harness with warm, sudsy water and a damp cloth.
  4. Spot clean the buckle with warm, sudsy water and a damp cloth. Do not submerge the buckle in water or lubricate the buckle.
  5. If there are still stubborn crumbs or dirt trapped inside the buckle itself, go in with a pair of tweezers and pull them out.

If this exercise made you think twice about your current car seat and whether it’s time for a new car seat, remember to check the expiration date and keep an eye out for missing or damaged parts.