Whether you're washing up after a major spill or (heaven forbid) a diaper blowout or just getting your old seat ready for a new arrival, cleaning your car seat can seem like a daunting task with all those parts, straps, nooks, and crannies. But follow these five easy steps (and, we suggest, wait for a sunny, warm day), and it doesn't have to be. Before you know it, your little one will be riding in sanitary style!
- Gather your tools. A vacuum with a detachable nozzle, a nontoxic spot cleaner, leather or upholstery cleaner, a hose, and an old toothbrush, sponge, or rag should do the trick.
- Remove all cover, straps, and inserts. Have the car seat manual handy or take a picture of how everything is configured so that you can reattach properly, and then either hand-wash all upholstered pieces or put them in the washing machine on the gentle cycle. You'll want to hang everything to dry, so plan this for a day when you don't need your car seat!
- Wipe down clips, snaps, and straps. Use a toothbrush, sponge, or rag and soapy water or a nontoxic cleaning solution to wipe down all the plastic parts and straps. For any particularly stubborn or crusty (yuck!) stains, let a spot cleaner soak on the spot for a while, and then try to wipe down again.
- Hose down the frame and base. Let everything dry thoroughly, and then reassemble according to directions.
- Get your car ready. Vacuum crumbs out of your car's back seat, and wipe down seats with a leather or upholstery cleaner; then reattach your car seat, and you're ready to go!