You have to accept the facts: kids are messy, and pushchairs usually pay the price. When the little one spits, spills food or otherwise makes a mess, it is important to remove the car seat and wash it thoroughly. The cleaning process usually involves a lot of manual effort and knowledge to disassemble and reassemble the car seat. Below you will find more detailed information on caring for your car seat and keeping it clean and safe.
Part 1 of 4: Preparing for a thorough cleaning
Step 1. Choose a good time to wash the car seat
Unless you have an extra car seat, it's important to leave it to clean your child's seat when you know you won't be using it for a while. As long as the car seat is not so dirty that it needs immediate cleaning, wait until you are able to sit it out for at least a few hours. An ideal time for cleaning might be after putting the little one to sleep at night.
If you're dealing with vomit, feces, or something else, immediate, localized cleaning is probably the best way to save the car seat
Step 2. Clean the most serious dirt
Grab wet wipes or a damp cleaning cloth to remove the most obvious dirt, including goo and other such residue (we'll leave the details to your imagination).
Cleaning up the residue as soon as possible will make the rest of the process easier
Step 3. Remove the car seat
Remove all the fittings and remove the car seat so that you can wash it completely without having to mess the whole car up. Besides, you'll be able to reach more hidden parts of the seat more easily.
Pay attention to everything you do to remove the car seat. Record the steps so that you can reverse them and reinstall the car seat. If necessary, take photos
Step 4. Shake, brush or vacuum the surface
Take a small brush to remove crumbs and other debris from the car seat and shake it to remove the rest.
If you have a handheld vacuum cleaner with a brush on the tip, use it to vacuum up any extra debris that might have been trapped
Step 5. Remove the cover and handles
Most children's pushchairs have removable fabric covers. Consult the car seat manual to find out how to remove it; if you no longer have the manual, try starting at the top, releasing clips and snaps until the cover is completely removed.
- After removing the cover, also remove the belts and straps. Try to memorize the location of each of the accessories so you know where to put them back, especially if you don't have a manual handy. It might be a good idea to take a picture so you don't forget anything.
- For safety, belts and buckles need special care and great care. Click here for more information and, whenever possible, consult the car seat manual.
Part 2 of 4: Washing the cover and the car seat itself
Step 1. Clean the most obvious stains on the fabric cover
After removing the cover, rub a little neutral detergent on the stains and visible spots, making a circular motion.
If the car seat does not have a removable cover, try cleaning the stains with a sponge and a little soap, scrubbing until everything is clean
Step 2. Wash the fabric cover in the washing machine
Check the manual or cover label for specific instructions, but generally use a mild machine cycle with mild soap. Because your child's skin will come in contact with the fabric, it's important to rinse it well to avoid irritation.
- In general, cotton covers can be washed at temperatures up to 60 °C; if the cover is made of synthetic fabric or has dark colors, wash it at a maximum of 40 °C.
- If you cannot remove the cover for washing in the machine, you will need to wash it by hand with a sponge and mild soap.
Step 3. Clean the plastic base
After washing the cover, it is important to remember to also wash the plastic and metal parts of the car seat with a damp cloth or sponge. Rub with mild soap to remove all dirt and rinse well with running water. If desired, spray some disinfectant.
- Now is the time to release some of your frustrations. As long as you don't use an abrasive pad or strong product, feel free to scrub it well and hard. Rinse off with a garden hose if you like.
- Tilt the seat in the most different directions after rinsing to avoid water accumulation in any of the parts.
Step 4. Clean the belts and buckles following the manufacturer's instructions
Washing in the machine or with strong products can end up damaging the safety of the belts, making them ineffective over time.
Follow the instructions in the manual to the letter and click here for tips on safely cleaning your belt and buckles
Part 3 of 4: Washing Belts and Buckles
Step 1. Follow the manufacturer's instructions
Most pushchair manufacturers recommend not putting the belts in the machine and not washing them with strong products. A superficial cleaning with a cloth and warm water is usually ideal.
As strange as delicate care may seem to seatbelts capable of withstanding automobile accidents, the concern has to do with the fact that strong, chemical cleanings weaken the strength of the belt's material, even though it still looks strong. This can be very problematic in case of an accident
Step 2. Clean the belts with water
Concentrate on cleaning surface stains and ignore deeper ones. Use a mild liquid soap if necessary.
If the belts are so dirty that they can no longer be used, replace them immediately. Contact the manufacturer and see if it is possible to buy only new belts. If this is not possible, change the entire car seat
Step 3. Soak the buckle in warm water
Usually made of plastic or metal, buckles can be washed more vigorously than belts, but they should still have as little wear and tear as possible to keep them working when needed.
Hold the buckle firmly and dip it into a bucket of warm water. Shake it to loosen residue and rub with a soft cloth and water; if necessary, use a mild liquid soap
Step 4. Let everything dry naturally
Air, sunlight and time are your best weapons when removing odors from your seat belts. If you don't have time, or sun, at least let the belts dry naturally for a few hours.
- Never put the belts in the dryer or use a hair dryer to speed up drying as the heat can impair their strength.
- Make sure the inside of the buckles is dry to prevent rust from forming.
Part 4 of 4: Drying and assembling the car seat
Step 1. Dry the entire seat well
If the cover is removable, take it to the dryer (if the label indicates it is safe) or let it dry on the clothesline.
- Put the plastic surface to dry in the sun. After rinsing everything, let the seat base dry naturally on a clothesline. If you need to speed up the process, dry it with a dry cloth, but still let it dry naturally for a while.
- Belts and buckles must dry naturally at all times.
Step 2. Remove odors in time and sunshine
If you cannot remove the seat cover, leave it in the sun for a day to dry. If the sun is weak, leave it a little longer. ref>http://csftl.org/clean-my-car-seat/
- Try a deodorant spray if necessary. Always remember that the child's skin will come into contact with the seat and that it is important to be careful with the products used for cleaning.
- Do not spray anything on your belts for safety.
Step 3. Replace the cover
Once dry, replace the fabric cover on the seat base. Consult the instruction manual or the photos you took, if necessary.
Basically, just reverse the process used to remove the cover. If you memorized the process or took pictures, you will probably have no difficulties
Step 4. Replace the belt
Push the seat belts back into the proper holes, in the correct order, to completely reinstall them and keep the seat safe for the child. Check the instruction manual if necessary.
- Be careful not to twist the seat belts when passing them over the seat, as this can wear them out more quickly, in addition to making the seat more uncomfortable for the child. In extreme cases, twisted belts may not hold a child in a collision.
- If you are concerned about reinstallation, take the car seat to a specialized professional to check the safety of the seat belts.
- If you are concerned about the integrity of any part of the car seat, replace it entirely. Your child's safety is worth the investment.
- Buy an extra seat cover. It is possible to find different prints and colors; in addition to pleasing the little one, you will protect the seat from dirt. In case of accidents with vomiting or feces, just remove the cover and wash.
- If you need to use the car seat before it dries completely, use an electric heater or fan to speed up drying. Be careful not to overheat the belts.
- Fire departments can help you check the safety of the car seat after reinstallation. Look for a barracks and see if anyone can help you.