Easy Car Upholstery Stain Remover

Easy Car Upholstery Stain Remover

I desperately want a new camera.  The one I now have is a $60 point and shoot which does okay, but I want a camera with more abilities.  My hubby asked me to go and have our truck detailed before we go on vacation.  I got a few estimates and the average was around $150.  I told my hubby he could hire me and put a portion of that money towards my camera fund.  He agreed and this past weekend I started to clean our truck.

Easy Car Upholstery Stain Remover

I have three small kids, and when I took their seats out, the photo above shows the ugly, nasty, stains and more stains.  If you cart kids around like I do several times a week to various appointments, then accidents and spills can happen in the car.  The lost Cheerios, the stickers stuck to the windows, and the forgotten hair bands or small toys.  I am not sure what my kids spilled or got into, but it was the worst condition in which I ever saw my truck seats.

The day before, I tried this new cleaning solution on my tubs, sinks, and showers.  It used Dawn and vinegar, and my results were nothing short of amazing.  I decided to use that combination as a base, but I also knew club soda was great to remove stains from carpet.  I figured if I did a 1:1:1 ratio of Blue Dawn Dish Soap, white vinegar, and club soda, the stains might come clean.

Easy Car Upholstery Stain Remover

Easy Car Upholstery Stain Remover

Ingredients and Items Needed:

1 cup Dawn blue dish soap

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup club soda

A heavy duty spray bottle

A scrub brush

After I removed the car seats, I vacuumed the seat thoroughly and picked any crusty or sticky substances from the upholstery surface.  I then mixed the Dawn, vinegar, and club soda together in my heavy duty spray bottle and shook it lightly to mix.

I sprayed liberally over the stained areas and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes.  I took my scrub brush and scrubbed in little circles over the stains.  To my amazement the stains started to lift and disappear.  I ran out of time to finish, but the next morning when I came back most of the stains were completely gone except a few of the worst ones.  There were water marks where I sprayed my cleaning solution the day before so this time I used my Hoover SteamVac and only filled it with warm water.   I resprayed the stained areas that did not come out and then scrubbed again.  I used the hand held spinning attachment and water sprayer, and as I went over each section it sucked up the water.  It was amazing how well Dawn, vinegar, and club soda worked together.

Easy Car Upholstery Stain Remover

The transformation was pretty incredible, because I really thought I was not going to get the seat looking that good.  I even got out a milk stain that a professional carpet cleaner was not able to remove a couple of years ago.  It was not perfect, but those were OLD stains and some were even greasy tough stains.  I am one happy mama!  It also worked on the coffee stains in the driver seat where my husband notoriously spills his coffee.

An upholstery and carpet wet vacuum is not required to clean, but it does help to remove the blotchy water markings, and leave a more uniform look to the upholstery unless you choose to spray down the entire surface of the upholstery with the solution.

4.8 from 4 reviews
Easy Car Upholstery Stain Remover
 
Author:
Recipe type: Stain Removal Tips
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Dawn blue dish soap
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup club soda
  • A heavy duty spray bottle
  • A scrub brush
Instructions
  1. After I removed the car seats, I vacuumed the seat thoroughly and picked any crusty or sticky substances from the upholstery surface. I then mixed the Dawn, vinegar, and club soda together in my heavy duty spray bottle and shook it lightly to mix.
  2. I sprayed liberally over the stained areas and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. I took my scrub brush and scrubbed in little circles over the stains. To my amazement the stains started to lift and disappear. I ran out of time to finish, but the next morning when I came back most of the stains were completely gone except a few of the worst ones. There were water marks where I sprayed my cleaning solution the day before so this time I used my Hoover SteamVac and only filled it with warm water. I resprayed the stained areas that did not come out and then scrubbed again. I used the hand held spinning attachment and water sprayer, and as I went over each section it sucked up the water. It was amazing how well Dawn, vinegar, and club soda worked together.

 

Do you have any favorite cleaning trick you would like to share?

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Amee

I am Amee, a housewife, mother, food lover, and DIY cleaner. I am a special needs parent and a woman's health advocate. I love my cats, shoes, chocolate, and Superman.
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Comments

  1. says

    GURL… wow that rocks! Not to mention, your. back. seat. looks. huge.

    I cannot get over what a great job that did… I bet it will work on the upholstery in my kids play room. I have leather seats… ah, but my floor boards are AWFUL. You cracked me up with “…and picked any crusty or sticky substances” Yep that is a kidmobile… the inside of my car would probably get condemned. Good luck with the camera fund :)

    • says

      Awe thanks Amy! Well it is a pretty big back seat except when you put the car seats back in it gets tight. I used this on the floor boards as well and it worked pretty good too. Hope to have my camera before Christmas at the rate I am going! Thanks for popping in!

        • says

          Hi Amee,

          WOW I have only met one other person who spelled her name the same as ours, but her real name was not Amee. I bet people spell it wrong all the time. :) Hope it works for you like it did me and several other people.

          Amee

      • Mike Howell says

        Okay here is one of my secret cleaners for the stove top, eye glasses, and any other glass item that you want to come clean real quick and shiny. Hot Black Coffee. Us a scrungie, Steel Wool, or a brush and it is a real wonder on a black stove top. NO MORE GREESE. It really does clean deep.

        • says

          Hi Mike,

          Interesting coffee as a cleaner? Thanks for the tip I might have to try that! Usually I groan at the sight of coffee because usually my husband spills it EVERYWHERE. It is a joke in our marriage that he can never drink a full cup of coffee without spilling it somewhere or on something.

          Amee

      • Deedee says

        Hi Amee, i have a question about when you said you took out the car seats to clean the upholstery, did you mean that you took out your children’s car seats or did you remove the the actual back seat of the car.

  2. David says

    Amee, that looks great. I have one question. Since you used vinegar in the solution I was wondering if you can smell vinegar at all after you are done? Thanks

    • says

      Hi David,
      Yes for a couple days I did, but I used the solution over my entire front and back upholstery. I guess someone could try it without the vinegar if worried about the smell. Thanks, Amee

      • Andrea says

        The next time you eat an orange – save the peel and pop it in a jam jar with white vinegar – the vinegar will smell like oranges in a few days. – Drain and put in spray bottle to use for other jobs – like descaling your kettle – remember vinegar kills germs – so is necessary especially where there are food residues.

    • Sheri Tranco says

      I used this and loved it! But I used a “tropical scented” dawn in my car and had no vinegar smell. And at my grandmas (on the carpet in her home not in her car) I used lavender and again no vinegar smell :) hope this helps!

      • says

        Hi Sheri,
        Hey that is a cool idea now you can drive around pretending to sit on the beach, eating a platter of tropical fruit, while you have a fruity drink in the other hand, while a cabana boy shades you. :) Amee

  3. Emily says

    if the steam cleaner is not available, try using alcohol. nearly all of it evaporates and wont leave a water mark. do a test area first to make sure it doesn’t mess with the color. I use alcohol to clean my couch, its kind of a fake suede (ish)(its supposed to give the look of leather while being soft and not sticking to your skin) but i take a bowl and dip in a white rag and just scrub in small circles then let it dry then rub it down to get out any stiffness.

    • says

      Hi Nicole,
      I am not sure what kind of upholstery you have in your car, but I would get out your owners manual and look up the care and cleaning directions. I personally do not think it would hurt them as you are not soaking the seat with water, but I am not there in person to see your car first hand. Thanks, Amee

      • crystal says

        I personnally do not use any kind of soap or chemicals for cleaning since finding the NORWEX cloths, all I use is a cloth soaked in warm water and wrung out well and scrub with that in interior of cars and in our home. My hubby flips cars and is amazed whenever I get done with a car that is gross from people who abuse their cars haha!! NORWEX cloths are a good strong work horse made from microfibers woven in a knitted process and last for years and are warranted for two years but outlive the warranty have used them for over ten years and love them.

  4. Jessica says

    This is brilliant! The blue Dish soap doesn’t leave a blue mark on the light fabric? Frankly mine is so bad, one more stain wouldn’t matter!!

  5. says

    you LITROLLY saved the day. My car looks just like your truck used too. I looked up car detailers last night on google- I-kid-you-not- and I got the same prices 150-200 range…ridiculous! so thank you for posting this and pinning it…definitely doing it!

    • says

      Hi Kelly,

      Glad you found me and I hope it works for you like it did me. Kids and car seats create lots of messes! Congrats on finding out you are having a girl they are very different from boys. :) Amee

  6. maddie says

    About a month ago, I used my carpet cleaner on my seats ( used a more portable version of your hoover) and it left water stains…if I go over again with your solution you think they will come out?

    • says

      Hi Maddie,
      If you only use my cleaning solution you will most likely still have the uneven water stain look. I sprayed water from my Hoover all over the seat and sucked it dry. Otherwise, I only did the stains not the entire seat with my remover. Hope this helps all you can do is try and see if it works. Good Luck, Amee

  7. Jessica says

    I wanna try this on my car seats super bad! but I was wondering, do you HAVE to use dawn blue dish soap? or could you use the dish soap you already have? we have gain green dish soap and I was wondering if that would hurt or ruin anything?

    • says

      Hi Jessica,

      I do not think it would hurt, but I would test a small area first. Hope it works for you like it did me. I am still shocked it turned out so well.

      Amee

Trackbacks

  1. […] this solution. (Here's the original place where I read about this with before and after pictures: Easy Car Upholstery Stain Remover) I will let you know how this goes after I try this, which hopefully will be in the next week (I […]

  2. […] Then came Pinterest to the rescue! I stumbled across the easiest, most inexpensive, and most amazing all-purpose cleaning spray I’ve ever seen. It’s equal parts Dawn dish soap, white vinegar, and seltzer (club soda). Mix, spritz, scrub, blot. I wish I had taken before and afters, because it was remarkable. Orange cheese powder stains: gone. Dirty hands on arm rest stains: gone. Greasy hair against the headrest stains: gone. Even incontinence stains were annihilated by this spray. I think I made two passes through the car to get the most stubborn stains up. You can see the full instructions as well as the before and after photos on Inspired Housewife. […]

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