How to Clean Water Stains on Car Seats-2

How to Clean Water Stains on Car Seats? [Quick Guide]

Keeping your car in good shape can extend the life span of your vehicle. Car seats are subject to wear and tear. Regardless of how careful you are, water can touch your car seats. It is impossible to keep water from spillages and the after-effects of car washes.

Due to this, the seats remaining wet for a long duration or from not drying properly after washing, water stains can form. However, cleaning fabric car seats would keep the quality in good condition. Cleaning water stains off either leather or cloth car seats is not a big deal since you can clean them without professional cleaners.

Using household items such as baking soda, dish soap, vinegar solution, or steam cleaner can get water stains out of your seats. Also, your car seat's fabric would determine the kind of household item you use. Vinegar with a warm water solution is the best option for leather seats. While repeatedly spraying a detergent solution with warm water would easily wash off the stain and give you clean cloth car seats. This article shows you easy tips on removing water stains from your car seat without much stress.

Why Does Water Stain Car Seats?

When water comes in contact with cloth car seats, direct sunlight can cause the water to evaporate and leaves some mineral deposits on the seat surface, which eventually become dark stains. Several reasons cause these water spots on car seats. Sometimes water stains result from leakage and accidental water spilling.

The following are some reasons for water stains on car seats:

Damaged Door Seals

If your door seals are damaged, tough stains can be on your car upholstery. Water can trickle down the doors whenever it rains or during washing, then into the car. Damaged seals are most common in older cars. If your door rubber seals look frail, your vehicle would need some repairs.

Leakage from your Air conditioning

Your car seat may have water stains due to water coming from your car's AC fan. If this is the situation, your air conditioning system's drain tube is damaged. Instead of your drain tube draining humidity from your car's cabin, water now goes behind the windshield to your car's front carpets and eventually gets on your seat.

Water spills

Water stains on cloth car seats can result from an accidental spill while drinking some water. It is impossible to avoid water contact on car seats unless you have a seat fabric protector.

Damaged car membrane

Most cars come with car membranes, which serve as waterproof for doors. When car membranes are not in good condition, water will come into your vehicle through your car windows. A faulty membrane is the most likely cause of stagnant water at car footwells. You can fix a non-functional membrane using waterproof tape.

Cleaning Water Stains on Car Seats - Step-By-Step

Cleaning Water Stains on Car Seats

Before cleaning off stains, it is advisable to try your cleaning solution on a small car seat area before applying it to all spots, as some solutions may not suit some car seat fabrics.

Items you need

The following is a list of household items you would need to remove water stains from your car seats:

  • Baking Soda
  • White vinegar
  • Dish Detergent
  • Brush
  • Warm water
  • Cloth
  • Spoon
  • Vacuum
  • Spray bottle
  • Blow dryer
  • non-gel toothpaste
  • Microfiber towel

There are several methods to remove water stains from car seats using the above items. Below are detailed steps on removing water stains without damaging the quality of your cloth car seats.

Step 1:  Mix the baking soda solution

Using a baking soda solution, you can try to remove water stains from car seats. There are several uses of baking soda in homes, from cleaning kitchen sinks to removing stains. Baking soda is the best choice for scrubbing off stubborn stains. Get a bowl, pour a small amount of baking soda, and add little water. The quantity of water and baking soda poured would be determined by the surface area of the stain.

Step 2: Apply the moist

Mix the baking soda and one cup of water with a spoon until it becomes a paste or moist. Moderately, apply the paste to the stained area of the car seat with your fingers. Be careful not to use the paste on unstained spots.

Step 3: Scrub with a brush

Leave the paste on the car seat for some minutes, then scrub off with a toothbrush or brush. Carefully wipe the surface with a damp microfiber cloth and allow it to dry for some minutes. Microfiber cloths are the best option because they are soft and wouldn’t leave a scratch on your leather surface. If the water stain on the car seat surface remains, repeat the process above carefully. Brush from outside inward while removing more stains to keep the affected areas from spreading.

Step 4: Try Dish Detergent

Using a simple item such as a dish detergent can be the only solution you need to wipe off water stains. You need a few items with dish detergent to get the stains off. Dish detergent makes water stains easier to clean because they are generally mild, unlike harsh chemicals. Get a spray bottle, and pour some water into the bottle. Add a little detergent, then shake gently. Remember to clean a little area before trying the solution on the whole stained site.

With the spray bottle, slightly pour some dish detergent solution on the stain's surface. Take the toothbrush and gently rub the dish detergent solution on the stained area. Leave the dish detergent solution to absorb the water stain for about 30 minutes. Use your vacuum cleaner to take off the water left on the car surface. Afterward, clean the area with a damp microfiber towel and allow it to dry.

How to Get Water Stains Out of Leather Car Seats?

How to Get Water Stains Out of Leather Car Seats

Removing water stains on leather car seats is quite different from cloth car seats. Leather seats are more water-resistant than cloth fabric. Using any chemical on your leather car seats, like a car fabric cleaner that contains ammonia and belching agents, can damage your car leather seats. Before cleaning, vacuum thoroughly to ensure the dirt wouldn’t stick as you clean.

Using White vinegar solution

If you have a vinegar bottle in your home, you can use it to remove car water stains. Vinegar is an effective household cleaning agent because it's an acid. Just a few drops of vinegar are needed to remove stains. An advantage of using vinegar is that it removes all forms of coloration and dissolves water stains on car seats.

The following are the items needed to remove water stains from car seats:

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Microfiber towel
  • Blow dryer
  • Bucket

Step 1:

Get your vinegar bottle and add some drops into a bucket of room temperature water.

Step 2:

Gently dip the clean cloth or microfiber into the vinegar solution, and use the damp cloth to clean the water stain on the leather seat.

Step 3:

Allow the vinegar solution to stay on the stained surface for some minutes, use a clean towel to wipe gently, and dry with a blow dryer.

Step 4:

Gently Continue the entire process above until it goes off completely.

Using toothpaste

The toothpaste you use to brush your teeth comes in handy in household cleaning. A non-gel toothpaste works well when cleaning stubborn water stains. Toothpaste has mild abrasives made from baking soda, making it easy to remove water stains from the seats. However, this method wouldn't go well on artificial seats because the cloth seats would get damaged.

Items you need include:

  • Non-gel Toothpaste
  • Microfiber towel
  • Soft toothbrush

Step 1:

Gently take your non-gel toothpaste and dab a bit of paste on the stain. Leave the area for like 10minutes.

Step 2:

Get the soft toothbrush and gently brush off the stain until it goes off completely.

Step 3:

If the stain is persistent, keep repeating the above steps. Get a damp cloth or microfiber to wipe the leather seat if it vanishes. Then, allow the spot to dry overnight.

How to prevent cloth car seats from getting stained

Car seat stains can be due to several reasons, from water spills and leakages. You can prevent water stains by covering the seats with a fabric protector. It creates an impenetrable barrier between your car's interior and whatever you accidentally spill or rub on it. With this, whenever water comes in contact with your car seat, the car seat's fabric doesn't absorb the water.


Remember to apply solutions on a small portion of the stained leather before moving to other areas. Using the various household solutions above, you can get water stains off either your cloth or leather fabric car seats.

Try not to use any household item on your car seats to remove water stains. However, some water stains can be stubborn regular cleaning can prevent such stains on car seats.