Q&A: What's the best way to clean my child's car seat?Ellie & Melissa, The Baby Planners
Cleaning your infant/toddler car seat after a road trip is never fun. So let’s first go over a few products that will help minimize the inevitable post-trip mess.
First up, we suggest purchasing a car seat protector. These handy items go under the car seat, keeping it in place while protecting your upholstery. Another great idea is a car seat slipcover that fits over your car seat. Yes, they are cute, but even better, they are easy to remove and wash therefore keeping the seat itself spotless!
We also love “piddle pads.” These highly absorbent terrycloth pads protect the seat from diaper/ potty-training accidents and protect the hard-to-clean latching system from the mess as well.
Even with all these clean-up “helpers” you may still want to scrub down your car seat post trip. The first step to tackling this job is to remove the car seat from your vehicle. Gently shake the car seat to dislodge crumbs and any hidden items from the folds of the seat. Use a vacuum or a damp cloth to remove stains and debris from the entire seat, especially the section below and behind the car seat. You can then remove car seat liner and wash. We recommend using Dreft or Dapple since harsh detergent can damage the flame-retardant material. Remember, harness straps do not go in a washing machine, simply use a damp cloth to remove gunk. Also, be sure to keep the manufactures’ instructions handy for when putting the seat back together. Taking a picture ahead of time can ensure that the seat matches its post-cleanup state. Finally, take care that the seat belt fastens securely, and that no pieces are loose.
Now that you’re done, it’s a great idea to head over to your local fire station to make sure the car seat has been re-installed properly. Once given clearance, you’re all set to hit the road with little ones in tow—all so you can start the process all over again!