How To Get Water Stains Out Of Car Seats?

Water stains on your car seats are stubborn and damage the look of your car interiors. They are unsightly and will always remind you of the accidental spills. Whether it was coffee that went flying when you hit a pothole or soda that seeped into the fabric and stained your car seat, you will need special cleaning skills on how to get water stains out of car seats without damaging the upholstery. If you are not careful with the tools and agents that you use to clean the car seat, you can easily damage the cloth material or make the color fade.

How you get rid of the stains safely and effectively will depend on the cause and the type of your car seat material. This article will teach you how to get water stains out of car seats on different materials including, cloth car seats, leather car seats, and car upholstery.

How To Get Water Stains Out Of Cloth Car Seats?

There is a temptation to carry food and drinks whenever we go on a car drive. It is more common when we are going together with our children, family or friends. Unfortunately, hitting a bump or accidental knocks can cause drink spills on your cloth seats. Wiping the cloth seat will eliminate the dump, but it will not prevent your seats from getting stains.

How you clean the spills can affect the appearance of your upholstery. Using potent breach agents can make the color fade while using excessively powerful tools can damage the cloth seat. We will show you how to get water stains out of cloth car seats safely and effortlessly to keep your car shining.

Things That You Need To Get Rid Of Water Stains From Cloth Car Seats

  1. Vacuum with the right attachments
  2. Cleaning towel
  3. Brush
  4. Dry foam upholstery cleaner

Steps On How To Clean Water Stains From Cloth Car Seats

Step 1: Vacuum interiors

Before you can clean the stains, we recommend that you vacuum your car first. Ensure that you are using the right car vacuum cleaner to make the cleaning effortless. Most vacuum cleaners come with multiple attachments to help you clean different materials and hard-to-reach areas successfully.

Vacuuming your car first will help you remove any loose dirt and debris on the seats that could turn to mud when moistened and cause additional stains. If you are in a hurry, you can vacuum the chair and the surrounding areas before attempting to remove water stains out of car seats.

Step 2: Apply the dry foam cleaner

The best foam cleaner to use on your clothes car seats will depend on the fabric type. The best fabric cleaner for nylon seats is not necessarily the best for cotton or other fabric materials. You will find several products that you can use for your car seats, with some leaving behind a fresh smell.

Make sure the product is safe on the fabric before using it. A heavily diluted all-purpose cleaner can also get the job done. Apply the dry foam cleaner to the entire seat and not just the areas with the water stains.

Step 3: Gently brush the seat

Once you cover the entire seat with your preferred dry foam, it is time to use the brush and gently scrub the area. The effort you should use will depend on the durability of the fabric, but it is best to scrub the area gently to avoid damaging the cloth.

We advise that you use a boar hairbrush for the delicate material, which is softer and less likely to cause any damage. Pay attention as you brush the seats to ensure the foam does not dry into the fabric and cause more stains.

Step 4: Wipe the seat

Once you finish brushing, it is time to wipe the seat. Use a clean towel to wipe the seat. Refer to the cleaning instructions on your foam product on the best way to wipe the seat. Some products recommend using a damp towel, while others require a dry towel. Pay attention to the appearance of the towel as you clean.

The towel will get dirty as you wipe the seat. We recommend that you replace the towel once it becomes soiled to avoid adding dirt back to the seat. You can repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 until you get the water stains out of your car seats.

Step 5: Dry the seat

Drying the seat may not be necessary if you do not intend to use the car during the day. If you do not have time to wait for the seat to dry naturally, a blow dryer, heat gun, or hair dryer can help you speed up the drying process. Avoid leaving your car and the fabrics exposed to the sunrays to dry, as the UV rays will do more harm to the seats.

Tips on How To Remove Water Stains on Cloth Car Seats  

  • Tip 1: It is difficult to prevent car spills on your seats if you have children or you like driving as you take coffee or any other drink. However, you can minimize the effects of spills on your car seats by using a seat protector. Applying a coat on the cloth will prevent the stains from soaking in, which allows you to clean them quickly and minimize the chances of staining.
  • Tip 2: Using the wrong dry foam on your seats can damage your seats. If you are using a foam product for the first time, it is safe to test its effect on your seats. Spot test the foam product in a hidden area and monitor the unwanted impact on the fabric’s texture or color.

How To Get Water Stains Out Of Leather Car Seats?

Cleaning water stains on leather seats is not the same as cleaning cloth seats. Spills on a leather seat pull away oils and moisture, which leaves a more challenging, discolored dry spot. Although it is not difficult to get water stains out of the leather car seats, you can damage your investment if you use the wrong products or tools.

Things that you need to get rid of water stains on leather car seats

  1. Foam applicator pads
  2. Vacuum cleaner
  3. Microfiber towels
  4. Sponge

Steps On How To Clean Water Stains From Leather Car Seats

Step 1: Vacuum interiors

Vacuuming the seats will help you eliminate the loose dirt and debris that can add to the stains. Use the right vacuum cleaner or attachment to avoid damaging your leather seats. It is also okay to use an air compressor to remove the dirt from in between the seat cracks.

Step 2: Apply a cleaning agent

The cleaning solution you use to clean the leather seats will determine the effectiveness of the process. The right cleaning agent should make the process painless without damaging your seat. Avoid using strong bleach or any other cleaning solution that can damage the appearance of your leather seats.

We suggest that you apply the cleaning solution to the entire seat. If the car seat has perforated areas that can allow water and the cleaning solution down into the holes, you can apply the cleaning to the affected areas.

Step 3: Gently scrub the stain

Use a damp sponge to clean the seat and remove the stains. It is helpful to wait a little longer once you apply the cleaning if you are dealing with tough stains. Keep your eyes on the solution to ensure that it does not dry on the seat as it could add to the stains. A soft-bristled brush can help you remove the tough stains. Be careful when using a brush as it could scratch the leather seat.

Step 4: Wipe the seat

Use a clean, damp microfiber towel to wipe the mixture off the leather seats. We suggest that you have several towels to help you wipe the seat until almost dry. Change the towels as they get dirty to avoid more stains. Feel free to repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 as necessary until you get rid of all the stains. Once you remove the water stains, you should wait for the seats to dry.

Step 5: Use leather conditioner

Applying a leather conditioner to your car seats helps to provide extra protection. The conditioner adds sheen and keeps the leather from cracking and colors from fading. It makes the leather resistant to future spills. Evenly, rub the conditioner into the leather and leave the car in a shaded area overnight to allow the seat to absorb the conditioner oils.

Tips on How To Remove Water Stains on The Leather Car Seat

  • Tip 1: Do not scrub when cleaning as it could scratch the leather.
  • Tip 2: Avoid using the excessive mixture to prevent dampness
  • Tip 3: Use lukewarm water to create the mixture

How To Get Water Stains Out Of Car Upholstery?

  1. Vacuum cleaner
  2. Upholstery cleaner
  3. Brush
  4. Towels

Steps On How To Get Water Stains Out Of Car Upholstery

Step 1: Vacuum the car interior

Thoroughly vacuum the car interiors to remove debris and dirt in the seats and car carpets. It makes the cleaning process easier by eliminating pollutants that will create more stains if they come into contact with moisture.

Step 2: Apply the best upholstery cleaner

You need to ensure that you are using the best cleaner for your upholstery material. The best cleaner for leather is not necessarily the best for cloth, vinyl, or suede. Using the wrong cleaner will not remove the stain successfully, or it may end up damaging your seat upholstery.

We recommend that you apply the cleaner to a hidden spot to monitor how it will react on your car seats. Avoid using strong products that can make the colors of your upholstery fade. Apply the cleaner to the entire seat or the specific spots depending on your needs.

Step 3: Brush and wipe the seats

Gently brush the upholstery to remove dirt and stains. Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the seats gently to avoid damaging the upholstery. Once you brush off the tough stains, you should use the towels to wipe the seats.

Depending on your upholstery material and cleaning solution, you can use a dry or damp towel. Continue wiping off the seats until the towel stops soiling. It is safe to repeat steps 2 and 3 until you remove all the water stains.

Step 4: Dry the seats

Avoid driving the car until the seats are dry. If you are in a hurry, a blow dryer or a fan can help you speed up the drying process. Furthermore, keeping the car’s windows rolled down will accelerate the drying process. Do not leave your vehicle to dry in the sun, as the harsh sun rays can damage the upholstery.

How To Get Water Stains Out Of Car Upholstery?

  • Always clean the spills immediately – You can prevent water stains from staining your upholstery by cleaning them quickly and appropriately. Always carry a cleaning towel to help you clean the spills immediately they happen.
  • Clean your car seats often – Do not wait until you see stains to wash your car seats. We advise that you clean interiors whenever you wash your car.
  • Use protectants – The best remedy to get water stains out of car upholstery is to use sealants and protectants. The best solution depends on your upholstery, but the correct sealant or protectant will prevent water stains from getting to your seat.

How To Prevent Water Stains On Car Seats?

Although accidental spills are likely to happen whenever you take drinks in your car, you can prevent stains on your car seats by installing cup holders to hold your drinks safely as you drive. You can further minimize the chances of water spills staining your seats by using protectants and sealants, depending on your upholstery material.

4 Home Cleaning Solutions You Can Use To Get Water Stains Out Of Car Seats

Although we recommend that you use a commercial detergent ideal for your upholstery, you do not have to allow the water stain to remain on the seat if you do not have a detergent at home. You can use several readily available products to remove the stains. Some of the best home cleaning detergents you can use to clean your upholstery include:

  1. Baking soda – You can use baking soda to remove oil and grease stains on your car seats. Apply baking soda on the soiled spot and let it remain overnight or for a few hours. The baking soda mixture will absorb the oil and make it easy to clean the seat with a damp cloth. Use a towel to dry the seat.
  2. Toothpaste – Toothpaste is a multipurpose cleaning product that you can use to remove stains from leather seats. Apply a small amount on the stained spot and circularly scrub the area for a few minutes. Finally, wipe off with a wet cloth.
  3. Lemon juice and cream of tartar – We propose that you use lemon juice lightly as it has a bleaching effect. Mix equal parts of cream of tartar and lemon juice into a paste and apply on the stains. Let it sit for 30 minutes before wiping it with a clean, damp cloth.
  4. Vinegar solution – Vinegar is an effective home remedy for removing stains. Create a cleaning solution with white distilled vinegar and a few drops of dish soap and mix them in a gallon of hot water. Apply the mixture to the stain and scrub with a toothbrush. Once you are done scrubbing, use a clean towel and clean water to wipe off the excess vinegar and soap away.


Do not let stains damage your car seats and lower your car value, especially when you can easily make your car shine by learning how to get water stains out of your car seats. The procedure and tools you will need will depend on your car upholstery. Always use the correct cleaning solution and tools to ensure the best outcome. The steps in this article will help you get rid of stains safely and effectively without damaging your car seat.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Is The Best Stain Remover For Car Seats?

It depends on the seat’s upholstery. The best stain remover for a leather seat is not necessarily the best for cloth seats. Always use the right cleaning agent for your upholstery. Using the wrong stain remover can damage the seats or fail to remove the stains. We suggest that you apply the cleaning on a hidden spot to monitor how it will affect the colors of your upholstery.

How Do I Get Rid Of Hard Water Stains On My Car?

It is not impossible to get rid of hard water stains on your car with the right tools and the best cleaning solution for your upholstery. Cleaning the stains as soon as possible using the correct procedure can remove hard stains.

Can I Clean My Car Seats With Soap And Water?

Yes. Cleaning your car seats with soap and water will help you remove dirt and soft stains. However, you may need to use a cleaning agent to remove stains.

Does WD 40 Remove Water Spots?

Yes. WD 40 is effective in mirror cleaning and water spot removal. It is easy to use and works by reacting with the minerals in the water and loosening the bonds, which allows you to clean the stain effortlessly.

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