How to Steam Clean Upholstery in Car

How to Steam Clean Upholstery in Car

Steam cleaning is one of the most efficient ways of cleaning and disinfecting many types of surfaces. With that, a car seat is not an exemption. The good thing about steam cleaning is the fact that it does not only remove dust and grimes; it will also sanitize your car seats. 

Is It Okay to Steam Clean Car Seats?

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Yes, you can. However, before heading off to steam cleaning, it’s a must to know what kind of material you’ll be cleaning. The good news, almost all materials of car upholstery are steam friendly. Most of the time, car seats are made with only one or more types of materials: 

  • Nylon– A fabric that has fibers commonly made of synthesized plastics. Nylon’s properties include resistance to stains, age-relating wear, and heat. 
  • Polyester– A durable type of material, polyester is made out to resist water and UV. 
  • Vinyl– Found not just in upholstery but also in automotive materials, vinyl, or also called as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) has a high resistance to flame. 

On the other hand, for leather made car seats, consider the material if it is genuine or faux. Fake leather materials have significant differences from the real ones, better check your car’s manual. 

  • Synthetic leather 
    Artificial leather is usually harder compared to genuine type; this is because this material is usually made from PVC, plastic, or polyurethane. 
  • Leather
    Since this is the most expensive among the list of car seat material, you might be afraid to mess it. You can still steam clean leather, though, but make sure you’ll not do it more often. This is because too much moisture, as well as heat, will cause leather shrinkage in the long run. 

How to Steam Clean Car Upholstery?

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Step 1 – Choose the Right Steam Cleaner 

Since steam cleaning machines have variations in both sizes and shapes, one should choose the suited one. If you already have your own, make sure that it has a brush attachment with soft bristles and a fabric steaming feature. 

How about buying a new one or it is, or it is your first time to purchase? Well, you can consider the following criteria:

  • Tank size 
    For convenience, make sure to choose the one with bigger tank capacity, especially if you own vans, SUV, or trucks. You will not like refilling every 10 minutes, right?
  • Needed attachment 
    Do you want detailed cleaning? Needed attachments are required for a good steaming machine for better performance. 

    For those who do not want to engage in a new purchase, you may have rent on online cleaning sites or those near you. 

Step 2 – Check Out the Weather Forecast or Prepare a Suitable Place 

Moist production is a by-product of steam cleaning. Although very hot steam has lesser condensation, you will still have a slightly damped result after so, you must give your car seat enough time to get dry. 

It’s a good idea to start steam cleaning early in the morning on sunny weather, or you may do it inside a garage or any suitable place. 

Step 3 – Vacuum Car Seats Thoroughly

You must remove trash and junks found in your car before doing a steam cleaning. With this, use a vacuum to clean off your car seats. 

Step 4 – Remove Stuck Dirt 

It will be easier for you to remove stubborn dirt and stain if you pre-treat it with the right cleaning solvent that suits your car seat material. 

Step 5 – Prepare your Steam Cleaning Machine 

Get your steam cleaner ready. Filing up the tank is your first step, and next, switch it on. Follow the instructions found in the manual. Most of the time, 30 seconds are given for the preparation. 

Also, don’t forget to prepare necessary attachment like a brush with soft bristles and a fabric steaming equipment near you. 

Just a reminder, always use soft brushes instead of rigid or metallic type. It might cause scratches to your car material. 

Step 6 – Steam your Car Upholstery 

Using a steam cleaner is not a difficult task. You can imagine yourself holding a vacuum with this cleaning equipment. Decide on where to start either in the back, on the side, or the front and get started:

  • From top to bottom: To avoid discomfort when you kneel, you may start steaming on the top then work on the bottom part after. 
  • Do not steam metals: Try not to drench metal parts like zippers within or on the surrounding part of your car seats. These components might get rusty, especially when you’re doing a regular steam cleaning. 
  • Operate slowly in straight direction: Moving your steamer randomly is not a good idea, rather moving it slowly in straight lines. 
  • Gently brush the stains: Change your steamer’s attachments if you encounter remaining stains. Gently brush with soft bristles and avoid giving too much pressure instead, focus on the stained part only. 
  • Wipe your car upholstery: Using a microfiber type of cloth, wipe your car seats gently to get rid of moisture residue. 

For authentic leather, move your steam cleaner smoothly and lightly and avoid hanging in an area for a long time. Keep in mind that extra moisture, as well as heat, will cause this material damage. 

Step 7 – Let your Car’s Interior Dry 

Your car’s upholstery will usually take three to five hours to dry. Open the windows or rest your car in a great sunny place. If you want fast-drying, using a fan is also a good idea. 

Step 8 – Add Some Finishing

For leather materials, both synthetic and genuine, giving it suitable conditioners for a glossy look is an excellent touch. You may also use spray air freshener for a fresh-feeling smell. 

Steam cleaning your car upholstery is always worthy of your time and energy. After all, it’s a great way to protect yourself and your family from threats of bacteria and germs. Indeed, steam cleaning is not just all about for the aesthetic clean look for your upholstery but also to make it efficiently clean.

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