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If you find a stain on your car seat, you can save money by cleaning it yourself. Here are five common everyday stains and how to get rid of them.

Category: Car Maintenance Advice


As much as we try to keep our car as close to showroom condition as possible, we are bound to face some mishaps that leave an ugly mark on the car's upholstery.

When dealing with stains, speed is key. The longer you leave it there, the harder it is to clean. But fret not, here are some tips for tackling the stubborn stains on your car seats.
 
 
Pen and ink stains

Pen stains are an eyesore, but it can be dealt with easily with some cotton pads and alcohol
All it takes is for one uncapped pen cap or an unsupervised child to make their mark on your car seat.

When this happens, get your hands on some cotton pads and isopropyl alcohol and follow the steps below.
  1. Use a cotton pad and soak it with 70% isopropyl alcohol (you can buy it off the shelf at your local pharmacists)
  2. Dab the inked spot with moderate pressure. This allows the alcohol to penetrate the depth of the stain
  3. The effect on the ink should be immediate
  4. Absorb the ink with a dry cotton pad
  5. Repeat the process until all the stains disappear
  6. Finish with a dry-cleaning solution and dab using a towel to wipe it off. Air dry
 
Food and drink stains

Prevent food stains by restricting the consumption of food and drinks in your car 
Food and drink stains are inevitable if you allow your passengers (or you) to eat in the car.

When such mishaps happen, dilute the stain with cold water. Gently dab away the excess water with a clean cloth or paper towel. Wait for the area to dry and repeat until it removes the stain.

If the food stains are too stubborn (sauces or wine for example), try either of these for a more powerful removal method.
  1. Dry cleaning solutions or stain removal products - Remember to do a spot check before you apply on the full stain
  2. Dishwashing liquid - In a spray bottle, mix one tablespoon dishwashing liquid and two cups of cold water. Use a clean towel and dab at the stain. Wait for the area to dry and repeat if necessary.
 
Grease stains

Grease from petrol may get on your hands while refuelling your car at gas stations
Perhaps you were dealing with a leaky petrol cap or transported some grease into your car from an oily carpark. Regardless, start by loosening the dirt on the stain with either a vacuum, steam cleaner or horsehair brush.

Follow up with a generous amount of baking soda on the affected area. Leave it for 10 minutes or until it is dry and use a vacuum to suck up the baking soda. Repeat if necessary.

When the grease disappears, spray a dry-cleaning solution onto the stain and the area around it. Wipe off the excess with a towel and allow the car seat to dry.
 
 
Bloodstains

Powdered laundry detergent is readily available and your best bet against blood stains
Bloodstains from open wounds, cuts or periods leave an awkward and unsanitary impression of your car.

Act as soon as possible to save your car's upholstery.

These simple steps should do the trick:
  1. Gradually add and mix cold water to powdered laundry detergent until it forms a paste
  2. Apply the paste to the stain to dry
  3. Use a horsehair brush or vacuum to remove
  4. Repeat steps if necessary
 
Vomit stains

Spray or hang an air freshener to help with any lingering odours - mint flavours help
Why do private hire drivers always fear picking up drunk passengers? They're afraid that the passengers will vomit in their car.

Failing to clean vomit up properly (and immediately) will cause an unpleasant smell to linger in your car sometimes even days after the incident.

Tip: Apply a thin layer of mint extract or menthol cream inside a mask and wear it while cleaning. Make sure to open all doors while cleaning to allow good ventilation.
  1. Scrape off any solid matter from the surface using a spatula. Throw away after use
  2. Use paper towels to absorb the moisture from the car seat. Do not use too much force or risk pushing the stain further into the upholstery
  3. Apply a thick layer of baking soda to absorb the moisture further. If the baking soda turns wet and clumps up, add more. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes
  4. Use a vacuum to suck the excess baking soda up
  5. Finish with an air freshener or an activated carbon pouch
 
Remember to test all products on a small portion of the stain before cleaning. If you notice a slight discolouration on your upholstery, stop immediately. It means your cleaning solution is too strong.

If time doesn't permit or you're just too lazy to do it yourself, we've got a list of recommended car groomers or upholstery specialists for you to choose from.
 
 
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