How to Get Water Stains Out of Car Seats – A Quick Guide

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to get water stains out of car seats

Even with care, it’s difficult to keep every car’s surface clean. Car seats are no exception!

When it comes to the cleanliness of car seats, dirt is not your only opponent. You also have to watch out for water spills! If you think they will evaporate and leave no stains, then you thought wrong. Water stains from fabric car seats are common problems every car owner experiences.

Fret not, there is no need to scour all over the Reddit page just to learn how to get water stains out of car seats. Read more and find out why!

How to Remove Water Stains From Fabric Car Seats


Step #1: Gather All the Materials Needed

To clean water stains on car seats effectively, you must have all the important products at hand. Most of these will be available at home but for some, you can get them from the nearest hardware store or online.

  • Upholstery Shampoo/Cleaner – Look for upholstery shampoo compatible with the car seat material. Or, you can also pick some dedicated cleaner, especially for leather or suede.
  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Brush with Soft Bristles
  • Clean Rag or Microfiber Towel

Step #2: Vacuum your car seats

To clean water stains on car seats, remove any debris that can hinder your cleaning by vacuuming the interior of your car.

But if your interior is already cleaned and you just want to get rid of a small but noticeable stain from upholstery in car, you can instead vacuum the car seats and the area surrounding it thoroughly.

Step #3: Apply the Upholstery Shampoo

The most important step to get rid of water stains on car seats is to clean the seat with an effective upholstery cleaner. You can apply the cleaner to the affected area or better use it on the entire seat.

Let it sit for a few minutes or as directed from the instruction manual to dissolve any dirt and stain for easier removal out of car upholstery.

  • Tip: You can also do a pre-treatment for darker and more stubborn stains by rubbing a few drops of vinegar using a clean cloth.

Wait for a couple of minutes for the chemical reaction to work before proceeding with Step #3.

Step #4: Blot or Scrub the Water Stain

With a clean towel, blot the area until you can draw out all the wet solution and the material is dry. Check to see if blotting the car seats did remove water stains from car seat.

If not, you can proceed to scrub the car seat surface with a brush. Do not use excessive scrubbing action or else the fiber may get torn apart leaving your fabric damaged.

Car seat materials can be damaged by excessive rubbing so it is best to proceed with care.

Step #5: Clean with a Dry Towel

Wipe away the solution or foam with a clean and dry towel. You may fold the towel and use every side accordingly in order to not rub back the dirt that you already removed.

Better check the instruction manual if the solution requires a damp towel for removal. Once you have removed any excess car seat cleaner, allow the car seat to air dry naturally and you are done!

Congratulations on successfully removing water stain from car seat. Feel free to spray a good amount of compatible fabric guard sprays so your car seat can be protected from dirt and stains.

How to Remove Water Stains on Leather Car Seats

Water stains can look like a discolored spot, especially on tan car seats. And when the water evaporates, it sucks up the natural oil along with it leaving a dull, dried-out leather. So, it’s important to act immediately if the seats get wet.

Step #1: Gather All the Materials Needed

Cleaning leather car seat only requires a handful of things:

  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Leather Condition
  • Microfiber Towels or Clean Rag

Step #2: Dab Out the Stain


Soak the sponge in lukewarm water. Do not use cold or hot water when cleaning leather seats. Dab the stain with your damp sponge and you can also clean the whole car seat.

It is better to clean the whole seat rather than having one spot clean while the rest is not up to par.

Step #3: Blot with a Clean Towel


Removing water stain from car seat requires a lot of blotting action. This will help in absorbing up all the excess water along with the dissolved dirt that nestles deep in your car seat.

We are trying to remove water stains so do this step with care without leaving water stains!

Step #4: Apply your Leather Conditioner

After picking a leather conditioner that is perfect for your leather car seats, apply a gentle coating on your dry leather to polish and protect your car seats from future stains.



How do you get stains out of cloth car seats?

Removing water stains from the cloth car seats can be done by using upholstery cleaners/shampoo. This is the most effective way of cleaning cloth material without damaging it.

Simply apply the cleaner, blot or scrub the area for instant removal of water stain, wipe off the solution, and leave to naturally dry.

These easy steps can be done with some basic cleaning supplies and a little elbow grease at the safety of your home.

Can water stains come out of car seats?

They won’t miraculously come out on their own but yes they absolutely can!

As long as you don’t leave the water to dry for long, those pesky water stains will be gone in no time if you follow the simple steps mentioned above.

How to prevent water stains from getting to your car seats?

Use a car seat cover that will protect the entirety of your seat from dirt and spilled food or beverage. It is a genius accessory that can be equipped and removed with ease indeed.

A great quick-fix solution is to keep microfiber towels and even upholstery cleaner or leather conditioner somewhere in your car so you are prepared when someone makes an oopsy.


Water stains on car seats are not only unsightly, but they can also be difficult to remove if you don’t know how to get water stains out of car seats.

With this guide on car seats DIY, you can now get rid of them quickly and easily. Just remember to clean up spills as soon as they happen, and you’ll be perfectly fine because nothing beats sitting on a sparkly clean car seat!

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