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How To Get Water Stains Out Of Car Seats?

Your car seats and upholstery is susceptible to many kinds of damages, stains, mold, spills, and other impurities. A single spill can stick to your car seat for a long time if you do not clean it out properly. Even after a car wash, you may get water stains if the car is not dried well.

Water from the rain, car wash, or a spill can cause a permanent stain or encourage mold growth if you do not take care of it promptly. It is therefore vital to ensure that you keep your seats dry at all times. When you get stains, you need to find out how to get water stains out of car seats.

Water stains come from mineral deposits that remain on the car seat after the water evaporates. They can cause dark spots and ruin the beautiful look of your car seats.

6 Different Ways to Get Water Stains Out of Car Seats

Below are some steps to take when you want to get water stains out of your car seats and make them look new once again:

1.Vacuuming the Car Interior

When you notice the water stain, you should first start by cleaning out the spot. It would help if you then vacuumed the whole car interior so that you can remove all dirt and debris from the interior of your car. You must remove all the dust and dirt because even if they are stuck on the carpet, they might get on the water stain, and the moisture will create more stains.

Ensure that you are thorough and vacuum every part of the car. Any moisture or water hidden under the seats and other details will also dry as you vacuum. Once you remove all the moisture and the dirt from the car, it will be easy to identify the stains and start working on them.

2. Get A Proper Car Upholstery Cleaner

Be sure to choose the appropriate car upholstery cleaner because it will not damage your car seats and upholstery. This will depend on the type of upholstery used in the car because there are different cleaners for suede, leather, vinyl, and cloth. Although most cleaners will work for most fabrics, you need to ensure you are getting the right one. If you are unsure about the cleaner you want, you can ask a professional to advise you on the best cleaner for your car.

If you do not have a cleaner, you can use a homemade cleaning solution to clean the stains. To make the cleaner, you need to mix equal parts of distilled water and vinegar. You should clean out the whole seat and not just the water stains when you have the cleaner. Let the solution soak for a few seconds or, as indicated on the instructions, and then clean it out.

If you are unsure about the cleaning solution, test it on a small part of the seat. You can try it on a hidden part and watch if it will damage the material or change the color of your seats. Once you are sure that the cleaner is safe for your upholstery, you can use it on the seats.

3. Brush Off Any Dirt And Debris

Using a soft-bristled brush, work on the seats with the cleaner. It will remove any dirt or debris from the seats. This will take off any mineral deposits left by the water, and any other dirt will come out as you are brushing it. Be gentle when brushing off the dirt, even if the brush is soft, because you do not want to scratch and damage the seat material.

4. Apply Car Cleaner Or Shampoo And Clean It

When you apply the shampoo or cleaner, use it on the whole seat because it will look different if you apply it on the stain only. You want to make the entire seat look clean, and this will only happen if you clean the whole seat. Scrub the stain from the outside, finish with the middle of the stain, and clean it out to ensure you get it out. Rub in circles and ensure that you are gentle so that you do not damage your fabric while you are cleaning. 

When cleaning the seats, you need to blot on the places where the stain appears. Use a microfiber cloth until you see that the stain has been lifted before going to other parts. If the stain is extra stubborn, like cola or coffee, you can use some of the following solutions to clean it out:

  • Dab some non-gel toothpaste and scrub with a gentle brush or toothbrush if the material is vinyl.
  • Use baking soda and water on fabric car seats, scrub with a soft brush, and then wipe with a soft cloth.
  • Leather material is much easier to wipe off, and you can easily remove the stains or moisture without any additional cleaning agents. You could use your regular cleaning solution to clean out and then a damp cloth to remove and stickiness if you spilled some cola or juice on the seats.
  • Vinegar can take out hard water stains from leather seats.
  • Use an old towel to absorb as much dampness as possible, and then you can let the car air dry out the seats by leaving a window open.

5. Wipe Off The Seats

After you brush off the dirt and the mineral deposits from the seat, you need to clean the surface. Use a soft towel and ensure that you wipe off the seat until the towel stops soiling. When you come out with a clean towel, you will be sure that the seat is also clean. Remember that some cleaners will need a moist towel, and you need to make sure the towel is wrung each time to remove the extra water. Do not use a dripping wet towel on the clean upholstery.

6. Dry Out the Material

When cleaning the seats, you need to keep the windows rolled down so that the seat will dry out faster. You can also use a blow dryer to accelerate the process and dry out any moisture in between the seats. Remember that you should not clean the seats under direct sunlight because the harsh sun can damage your materials. If you expose the upholstery, especially, leather to direct sunlight, it might fade or crack over time.

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How to Prevent Water Stains Out of a Car Seat?

Although you may find easy ways to clean and get rid of water stains, you need to know that prevention is usually the best. Even as you learn how to get water stains out of a car seat, you need to find ways to keep water out of the seats.

When you prevent water damage, you will have an easier time preventing damages to your seats. Here are some ways to prevent water stains from getting to your car seats:

Clean out any spills immediately

Anytime you make a spill on your seats, you need to clean it out as soon as you can. No matter the kind of spill you make, especially if it is wet like food, soup, vomit, or any other stains, you need to clean it out to keep it from damaging your fabric. Keep a clean microfiber cloth in your car or towels to clean out any spills when they happen. This way, you will have an easier time cleaning, and you can dry the part. After you are done cleaning, check if the stain is still there, and then you can use a cleaning solution on it. It would help if you also kept a spray bottle with your cleaning agent so that you can use it on stains when they happen.

Avoid Wet Clothing

If you have any wet clothing in the car, keep them on the floor or in the trunk until you can get them out of the vehicle. Sometimes you may get caught out in the rain, and when you sit on the seats with wet clothes, they may cause water stains. If you cannot change out of your wet clothes and have to ride home in the wet clothes, ensure that you dry out the seat as soon as you park the car. This way, the water will dry, and there is less chance of leaving deposits on your seats.

Dry The Car Well After A Wash

After a car wash, you may not dry the car well, and if the water is left on the seats, it will stain them. Use a blow dryer on the seats and any other hidden parts between the seats to get all the moisture out.

Close Windows In Car Washes And Rain

If you are going through a car wash, you need to keep all the windows closed so that the water will not get to your upholstery. This is also the case when driving through rain because rainwater also has minerals that might stain your seats. If you park your car outside and you suspect it might rain, you need to ensure you keep the interior protected and close the windows as you leave.

Other Tips To Help Keep Your Car Upholstery Clean

Keeping your car clean is the best way to ensure you preserve your fabric and the upholstery. You will have them looking new all the time when you take better care of the interior. To keep your car clean all the time, you should consider the following tips:

  • Install car seat protectors – Car seat protectors will keep the seats from getting dirt and debris and protect them from wetness. These protectors are easy to remove and clean, so your seats will always remain clean. If you carry your kids or pets in the car, you will find these protectors helpful because they will keep spills from the car seats.
  • Have wipes in the car –  A pack of baby wipes or wet wipes will help you clean out any messes right away so that they do not stain your seats. They are gentle and will work safely on any upholstery.
  • Use floor covers – If you are driving in the country when there is rain, you may have muddy shoes. Use a plastic cover to protect your carpets because they are easy to remove and clean.
  • Avoid eating in the car – Eating fast foods in the car might create clutter, and it is easy to spill your soda or any other food on your seats. You can cut out the amount of trash in your car if you do not eat in the car.
  • Keep a trash can – Consider having a small trash can in your car if you are fond of eating in your vehicle so that you can keep food out of your seats. Some spills occur because of grease and leftover foods lying on the car floor or seats. 


If you have a clean car, you will be driving in a healthier environment, and you will also maintain the look of your upholstery. Ensure that you clean out any messes you make as soon as possible so that you do not have to deal with stains and smells later on. When you clean out any dirt early, you have a better chance of getting any stains out and avoid getting them to damage your upholstery.

Water stains are easy to take care of if you work on them while still fresh. Once you know how to get water stains out of a car, you need to work on it immediately. Leaving the satin for a long time will make it more edged on the fabric, and you might not be able to get it out.

As you prepare to clean out your car seats, keep in mind the type of fabric the car has. You need the right cleaning solution and method for the different materials. Remember that it is much easier to prevent the damage than repair it, so try to keep water out of your seats.


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