How to Clean Black Cloth Car Seats? – A Detailed Guide

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to clean black cloth car seats

Black cloth car seats look rather sleek and elegant. But eventually, they will accumulate all sorts of filth, especially when you drive often. Their sleekness and elegance would soon diminish, and if you don’t know how to properly clean black fabric car seats, you might end up damaging them.

How to Clean Black Cloth Car Seats Involves:

  • Vacuum cleaning.
  • Pre-treating stains.
  • Spraying and scrubbing.
  • Wiping the seats clean and dry.
  • Spraying some fabric upholstery protector.

These steps should be done the proper way and with caution. Read on to know how.

Step by Step Instructions


This tutorial will show the overall process of cleaning black cloth car seats, starting from vacuum cleaning and pre-treating stains to thoroughly cleaning all seats.

But the steps you need to do will depend on the condition of your car seats, whether to vacuum it, clean some stains, or give an overall cleaning to your car seats. Whatever it is, carefully follow the steps for it below:

Step 1: Vacuum Clean the Black Cloth Car Seats

What You Need:

  • Vacuum Cleaner – It will easily allow you to remove dirt and debris from the cloth car seats.


The right way to start would be to thoroughly vacuum clean dirt and debris from the cloth car seats. This method will prevent them from being pushed deeper into the car seat padding. Please pay special attention to seams and creases and clean deep into them, as dirt and debris often get caught in them. In case, you need to remove urine from a car seat, click this guide to learn more.

Step 2: Pre-Treat or Spot Clean the Stains on the Black Cloth Car Seats


To ensure a thorough cleaning without any residue left behind, you can pre-treat or spot clean the cloth car seats if you notice particular stains on them. For you to get stains out of black car seats, you can either go with a commercial upholstery cleaner or go DIY with some household items. Most upholstery cleaners can clean various types of stains, but if you want to make your own spot cleaner, the solutions vary depending on what kind of filth you’re going to deal with.

For Cleaning With Commercial Upholstery Cleaner

What You Need:

  • Commercial Upholstery Cleaner – Commercial upholstery cleaners are usually versatile cleaning products that can handle even the most stubborn filth of all kinds. Some can also get rid of odors and leave a pleasant smell in your car.
  • Brush – You can use a brush to scrub out the filth from your car seats.


Spray a bit of commercial upholstery cleaner on the affected areas and scrub them with the brush. Let the solution sit on the stains for at least 15 minutes before cleaning the overall car seat.

For Cleaning Dirt

What You Need:

  • Dishwashing Soap – Dishwashing soap can tackle dirt on cloth car seats.
  • Water – It would be needed to dilute the dishwashing soap
  • Spray Bottle – This would be needed for mixing and spraying the solution.
  • Brush – You will scrub the filth with a brush.
  • Microfiber Cloth – It’s a very absorbent cloth that can trap dirt on its surface.


Create your cleaning solution with equal parts dishwashing soap and water. Spray the solution on affected areas and scrub them with the brush. Lastly, moisten a microfiber cloth with warm water and wipe off the suds and dirt.

For Cleaning Ink Stains

What You Need:

  • Alcohol – Alcohol is a degreasing agent that can work effectively as a stain remover. It can even get rid of soils that soap or detergent can’t.
  • Cloths – You will need some pieces of cleaning cloth for blotting, dabbing, and rinsing.
  • Cold Water – You need this for rinsing.


To clean an ink stain, blot the stain first. Then lightly moisten a cloth with rubbing alcohol and use it to dab on the stain. Lastly, take another cloth, moisten it with cold water, and rinse the affected area.

For Cleaning Coffee Stains

What You Need:

  • Cold Water – This is needed for diluting the coffee stain immediately.
  • Paper Towel – It is needed for blotting the stain.
  • Glass Cleaner – A glass cleaner can also be used to clean off coffee stains.
  • Hairdryer – You can use a hairdryer to dry the moisture.


Coffee must be cleaned immediately after it has been spilled on a car seat. You should wash the stained area with a little cold water, then blot it using your paper towel.

If there is still some residue, spray and soak the glass cleaner on the spot, leaving it to sit for at least five minutes. Blot the area using a paper towel. Then dry it with a hairdryer from a safe distance to not burn the car seat’s cloth.

For Cleaning Oil and Grease

What You Need:

  • Paint Thinner – Paint thinner is usually used for thinning oil-based paints, cleaning up brushes, and cleaning dirt and grease off surfaces before painting. Since it works effectively on oil and grease, it would also work well in cleaning oil and grease off your car seats.
  • Water – This is needed for diluting the paint thinner.
  • Cloth – You need a cloth for rubbing the stain.
  • Cornmeal or Salt – Either can help lift out oil and grease from the cloth car seats.
  • Vacuum Cleaner – You need this to clean off the cornmeal or salt.


Mix equal parts of paint thinner and water. Before you work the solution on the stain, do a spot test on a hidden area to see if it doesn’t have an adverse effect on the fabric.

If no adverse effect was observed, you can dab a cloth on the solution and rub it on the stain. Next, sprinkle some cornmeal or salt on it to leave overnight, which you will then vacuum out of the car seat the following day.

Step 3: Spray the Cleaning Solution

What You Need:

  • Commercial Upholstery Cleaner – Use a good commercial fabric upholstery cleaner that can effectively remove all sorts of stains and is non-toxic.
  • Or DIY Vinegar, Warm Water, and Dishsoap Cleaning Solution – If you wish to go for a DIY cleaning solution, you can create a one-part vinegar, ten-part warm water, and few-drops dish soap solution.
  • Spray Bottle – If you are going with a DIY cleaning solution, you need a spray bottle for mixing and spraying the solution.


If you choose to go with a commercial upholstery cleaner, how you will use it depends on what kind of cleaner it is and what is written in the product instructions.

Some upholstery cleaners come ready to use in a spray bottle, which you will just spray on the cloth car seats, while others will have to be diluted with warm water in a spray bottle. Just follow the instructions provided on how to use it.

But if you go with the DIY cleaner as mentioned above, just combine its ingredients. Once you’re ready to spray your black car seat cleaner, work on the seats one by one and lightly spray starting from the top, then the entire seat.

About four or five times of spraying on one area is enough, and try not to oversaturate the seats, as this can cause molds and a foul odor.

Step 4: Scrub the Black Cloth Car Seats

Immediately scrub an area with a soft-bristled brush after you’ve sprayed the solution on it. After working on that area, spray and scrub on another area. Once the brush gets soiled, rinse it off and shake off the excess moisture.

Step 5: Wipe Off the Moisture and Dirt


The seat would be left damp and dirt would be lifted out after it had been scrubbed. So you would wipe off the moisture along with the dirt from the seat with a microfiber cloth.

Step 6: Repeat Steps One to Five if Necessary

If a car seat still looks dirty, repeat the aforementioned steps. Sometimes it would take several rounds to completely clean black seats in car.

Step 7: Let the Seats Air Dry

You wouldn’t want molds and a foul odor to develop in your car seats. So let them air dry completely before you drive your car again. You can aim a large fan toward the cloth car seats to speed up the drying. Parking your car under the heat of the sun can also help.

Step 8: Spray Fabric Protector on the Black Cloth Car Seats

You should be cautious in spraying the fabric protector to not overspray on other non-fabric parts of the car. If accidental overspray occurs, wipe it out quickly. You also have to open all the windows and doors for ventilation.

Shake the can well and do a spray test on a hidden area to see if it doesn’t damage the fabric. If no damage was observed, spray the fabric protector according to product instructions.


Knowing how to clean black cloth car seats deeply and do it right allows you to enjoy the sleek elegance everyone loves about black cloth car seats. Hopefully, this tutorial helps your black cloth car seats get maintained clean and comfortable.

Perhaps you can also share this tutorial to help other car owners with black cloth car seats. And if you have any thoughts on this article, feel free to write it in the comments section.

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