How to Clean Heated Car Seats Properly in 5 Steps

how to clean heated car seats

During chilly drives, heated car seats can subdue the cold for you to feel warm, but when it comes to seat spoilage, your heated seats will need extra care. Whether airborne contaminants, fallen food particles and stains, or spilled water on leather heated seats, they’re prone to get soiled over time.

When you have heated seats, you should know basic steps of how to clean heated car seats, like turning them off, vacuum cleaning, spot-cleaning stains, and using a suitable cleaning solution. Read further to be guided on the process.

Steps to Clean Heated Car Seats


What to Prepare

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Upholstery attachment
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Toothbrush
  • Gentle spot cleaner
  • Cloths
  • Fabric cleaner
  • Leather cleaner
  • Leather conditioner
  • Hair dryer (optional)

Step 1: Turn the Heated Car Seats Off


Since you’ll be cleaning the electronic components of a car with liquids, it would be necessary to turn the heated car seats off. Locate the button for them, which is usually on the dashboard, then press to turn them off.

Step 2: Vacuum Clean the Heated Car Seats


After turning the heated car seats off, you can safely clean them. The process starts with vacuum cleaning the upholstery attachment to remove any dust, debris, and dirt.

If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner, you can brush the contaminants out. Thoroughly vacuum clean the seats by slowly moving the vacuum cleaner back and forth over them.

Dirt too stubborn for the vacuum cleaner to remove can be scrubbed off with a toothbrush.

Step 3: Spot-Clean the Stains


Once the heated car seats have been rid of dust, debris, and dirt, spot-clean the stains with a gentle cleaner.

Spray the cleaner onto the stains, and leave it on them for a few minutes to loosen.

Ensure the cleaner is not in contact with the heating element during the stain removal process, as the moisture can cause overheating.

Scrub the stains using a brush or cloth. Then, rinse off the residues from spot cleaning using a wet cloth.

Step 4: Clean the Car Seats With an Appropriate Solution for Its Material

After spot cleaning, the next step is to wash heated seats in a car using a suitable cleaning solution for their material.

While the cleaner to use differs between seat material types, you should always keep in mind to avoid pouring water directly onto them or soaking them.

When using water, don’t apply too much of it, as excessive moisture can take longer to dry and can also stain the seats. Only use water using a dampened cloth.

For Heated Fabric Car Seats


A recommendable car interior cleaning solution for heated fabric car seats is the Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner. It’s suitable for cleaning cloth-heated seats because it works effectively without water.

  1. To clean heated fabric seats with Tuff Stuff Multi-Purpose Foam Cleaner, shake the bottle well and liberally spray the foam on the seat.
  2. Leave the foam on the surface for 30 to 40 seconds to work on the contaminants.
  3. Scrub the seat with a soft or firm-bristled brush. Avoid using a stiff brush, as it can ruin the cloth fibers.
  4. Finally, wipe off the residues from cleaning using a dry cloth, and move on to the next seat.

For Heated Leather Car Seats


The three main car leather seat types are aniline, semi-aniline, and pigmented. And you’d need to use the appropriate cleaners to avoid harming them.

  • Aniline leather, is usually used in luxury cars, offers a soft texture and natural beauty without any additional processing, but is also the most fragile without a protective coating so you should use a very mild cleaner like Colourlock Aniline Cleaner.
  • Semi-aniline and pigmented leather are more practical and durable for car seats as they’re reinforced with protective coating. Specialized cleaners (with conditioning properties) such as Lederpfledge Leather Care are suitable for these types.
  • You can determine your car seat’s leather type through a water drop test in an inconspicuous area. If the dropped water was immediately absorbed, the leather is aniline; if the water was slowly absorbed, it’s semi-aniline; if the water only sat on the surface and wasn’t absorbed, it’s pigmented.

If you’ll use a commercial cleaner, follow the instructions on its label. But generally, here are the steps you should follow to properly clean your car seats:

  1. Apply the cleaner on a cloth or soft or firm-bristled brush: Firmly but gently rub it on the surface in small, circular motions. To clean heated perforated leather car seats, a soft-bristled brush is recommended.
  2. Remove particles in the perforations: Apply a little cleaner on the brush and work on one section at a time to prevent moisture from filling the holes and penetrating the seats.
  3. Avoid aggressive rubbing or cleaner on stitches and seams: Be gentle to not damage the leather and discolorize the stitches.
  4. Leave the cleaner on for a few minutes: Follow the product instructions and let the cleaner work on your seats.
  5. Wipe the seats clean with another cloth: Using the same circular motions, one section at a time.
  6. Apply leather conditioner (if not using a two-in-one product): With a cloth, again work the product in small, circular motions, one section at a time, and leave it on for a few minutes to work.
  7. Wipe off excess conditioner: Once the curing is done, wipe the excess conditioner with another cloth.

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Step 5: Ensure Thorough Drying


It’s important to ensure that the seats are completely dry, as damp seats can cause mold and mildew. You can also blow heat toward the seats using a hair dryer set on the low setting, vacuum the excess water, or turn the seat heating on.


How to clean heated car seats isn’t that different from cleaning non-heated car seats. It just requires caution to not damage the seats by not soaking them too much to avoid issues in drying and stains, and to drying them thoroughly to prevent mold and mildew.

By doing these steps, you’ll be able to effectively and safely clean your heated car seats. Keep them in mind, and you’ll always enjoy well-maintained heated car seats that are working in good condition.

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