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How to Clean a Car Seat

September is Baby Safety Month, a time to highlight parents and caregivers’ number one priority -– keeping baby safe and healthy. Whether it’s your first baby or you’re a seasoned pro, September is a great time to remind us how to properly clean a car seat.

Parents know how quickly a car seat can go from clean to grimy thanks to cracker crumbs, juice stains, yogurt spills and even bodily fluids. Here’s a list of tips to get your car seat clean when messes arise:

  • Move Fast for Best Results: If you let stains and spills sit for a long time, removing them successfully will be next to impossible. Dry messes can sometimes wait, but wet messes cannot.
  • Check the Baby Car Seat Manual: If this is your first time cleaning the baby’s car seat, you’ll want to become familiar with the manual. While most car seats are made of similar materials, you don’t want to miss any specific cleaning instructions from the manufacturer. The car seat manual should come with some helpful leads for all the cleaning methods you can use. Can’t find your car seat manual? Most manufacturers have them available online. Go to their website and find the model of your car seat (this can be found on a sticker on your car seat if you aren’t sure), and the manual should be linked nearby!

Gather Your Cleaning Supplies and Get Started!

  • Wipe Off What You Can: Before you get down to cleaning out the nooks and crannies, pick up as much solid debris as you can. Use baby wipes, cleaning towels or a vacuum.
  • Remove the Cover and Padding: Take off the cover and any removable padding from the seat for easier cleaning. Most car seats come with covers that can easily be removed.
  • Clean the Harness and Buckles: With warm water and gentle soap, wipe down the harness as much as you can. Abrasive cleaners could damage the webbing of the harness and compromise the seat. They may irritate your baby’s skin as well.
  • Air Dry the Seat Before Assembly: Once you are done cleaning, place the car seat where it can air dry completely. Air drying in the sun will help get rid of any odor left behind and leave it smelling fresh. If you have a removable cover, hang it to dry.

Preventative Cleaning Tips

It’s almost impossible to keep your baby’s car seat clean at all times. However, there are several things you can do to protect it and avoid catastrophes:

  • Keep baby wipes in the car within reach.
  • Have a pack of disposable vomit bags on hand.
  • Use snack containers to prevent spills.
  • Bring a cleaning kit for road trips.
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