How to clean car seat belt? Useful detailed instructions

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If you have children, you probably know how easy it is to make the interior of the vehicle dirty. The car seat belts must always be in a clean condition to keep functioning as designed. Drivers’ and passengers’ lives depend on fully functioning seat belts in the event of an accident.

Apart from maintaining seat belts in working condition for safety reasons, you have to make sure no mold grows on them, affecting your family’s health state. That is why it is important to clean seat belts frequently. In this article, we will share information about how you can clean seat belts in your vehicle, and what products and techniques are the most effective.

What is a car seat belt?

A car seat belt is safety equipment that helps to hold a driver and the passengers in the seats in the event of a crash. It also minimizes the risk of being severely hurt and reduces the chance of death. All vehicles are equipped with three-point car seat belts. They are also used in keeping children’s car seats in place.

Seat belts should be used at all times when the vehicle is moving because:

  • For safety reasons as it minimizes the injuries and the risk of death in the event of an accident
  • Holding you in the seat in the event of a crash
  • An airbag won’t work as it is designed if you aren’t strapped
  • Prevent you from getting fines
  • Keeping your insurance payments down

As you can see, keeping your seat belt fastened during the car ride is critical, and having it in working condition, as well. So, why should you clean your driver’s seat belt?

Why should you clean car seat belts?

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Seat belts get used in your vehicle daily. Cleaning seat belts should be a part of your car wash routine. They get dirty just as much as other parts of the interior. If you don’t clean seat belts at all, they get heavy stains, and can even get mold spores growing. It is quite easy to clean seat belts, and you can do it in your garage.

Cleaning the entire belt will remove all dust, dirt, and bad smell. You will need special materials and chemicals to achieve good results.

What products can be used to clean seat belts?

When deciding on which product to use for cleaning seat belts, choose the ones for delicate fabrics. It must not have a bleach component in its content. If you don’t have any special cleaning solution, you can use the following:

  • A neutral PH detergent or baby wash with some warm water
  • Vinegar-based cleaners are excellent for removing smells, but if you use too much of the product, it can ruin the seat belt
  • Baking soda is known for fighting tough stains
  • Little elbow grease can help with the deep cleaning of most stains
  • Baby wipes are ideal for wiping the top surface of the seat belt with light contamination.

For stubborn stains, you should prepare a stiff bristle brush, a soft-bristled brush, and a microfiber towel. All of that will help to clean seat belts properly, removing all the dirt and bad odor. If you have a steam machine or a hot water extractor, that will be a great help as well. Avoid using harsh chemicals because they will damage the belts.

How to clean car seat belts?

So when all the tools and the fabric cleaner are ready, it is time to start general cleaning. Follow the steps below:

Step 1 Prepare a seat belt for cleaning

You have to pull a seat belt forward fully and clip it this way with a binder clip, so it doesn’t retract to the default position. The best thing to do is to place some metal clamp at the belt reel. It will ensure the belt is fully out and is positioned the way you want. All seatbelt webbing can be accessed.

Step 2 Use the fabric cleaner you have chosen


Whichever cleaning product you have chosen, make sure you wet belt from both sides. You can use a microfiber towel for dipping into the cleaning detergent and applying it to a seat belt. Don’t forget about the area around a belt reel.

If you opt for making a cleaning mixture yourself, try using a mild detergent, which is perfect for auto detailing and even delicate fabrics. Add a small cup of warm water and three cups of dish soap. Mix thoroughly and pour it into a spray bottle. It will make it easier to apply onto the belt, so you do not miss any spots.

If the seat belt has a bad smell, or you have to get rid of stubborn stains, try using another cleaning mixture. Mix about one tablespoon of dish soap, a cup of warm water, and two tablespoons of vinegar. Keep stirring until it becomes soapy.

Step 3 Proceed with scrubbing a seat belt

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To completely remove stains you have to use a scrubbing brush. Start with a soft toothbrush to prevent breaking the belt’s threads. Go all the way from the top to the bottom of the belt and don’t apply too much pressure. For severe contamination, you will have to apply a cleaning product again. Keep repeating until the belt is clean.

You can also wet the brush itself and then apply the cleaner along with scrubbing the belt. The coating of the cleaner should be thin. Do not scrub the belt in a circular motion to avoid damaging the belt’s threads.

Step 4 Drying the belt with a clean towel

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Once you have cleaned a belt, you have to let a belt dry completely. Use a microfiber towel for removing excess moisture from the belt. Move in one motion from the top to the bottom. It is better to prepare of few microfiber towels, so when one gets wet, you take another one.

Step 5 Air drying the belt

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If a belt still feels too wet, wipe it with a towel one more time and let it air dry. It might take up to an hour, then the belt can be retracted. Don’t rush and let the belt dry fully. If you retract a wet belt, it can result in mold growing later on or tough stains appearing. Be patient and give it enough time to dry.

Step 6 Retract the belt

Once the belt is completely dry, you can retract it back safely. Unclip it and carefully let it retract into its original position. Proceed with cleaning all the other seat belts in your vehicle by following the same steps above.

Can you steam clean a seat belt?

If you have a steam machine or a hot water extractor, it will make your life easier and the cleaning process faster. A hot water extractor is ideal for use in auto detailing, helping with deep cleaning.

Step 1 Preparation of a belt for cleaning

Start with one belt first. Pull it full-length forward and clip it at the belt reel to keep it that way.

Step 2 Steam clean the belt

Moving from the top to the bottom with s steam cleaner to avoid wearing off polyester threads. Make sure you clean from both sides of the belt to remove any remnants of drop food and other stains and odors.

Step 3 Let it dry

Use a microfiber cloth and wipe the belt properly, applying a bit of strength. Don’t worry, it won’t damage connecting threads.

Step 4 Retract the seat belt

Once it is fully dry, the belt can be retracted. Remove the clip and proceed with a slow retraction.

Read also: How To Get Blood Stain Out Of Car Seat

Additional car care tips

Situations can be different, and the tips below can help you to cope even with the most difficult ones.

  1. Never apply too much pressure when cleaning the safety strap. Scrub gently to avoid damaging the threads of the seat belt.
  2. When scrubbing seat belts, always move in one direction from the top to the bottom. The motions should be similar to bruising someone else’s long hair.
  3. If you have severe mold on the seat belts, try using a Concrobium Mold Control spray. It fights mold spores and removes bad smells in a jif. It also doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, so it is absolutely safe for the seat belts fabric.
  4. Don’t forget about cleaning your steering wheel because it gets dirty just as much as seat belts, if not more.
  5. Always try a harmless solution first. Mix liquid soap and warm water in a proportion of 1:2. Use a soft towel to apply it to the belts.
  6. Avoid cleaning products that contain harsh chemicals. It is very easy to break the belt’s threads. For stubborn dirty spots, it is best to use mixtures of water and vinegar or baking soda. If after scrubbing, the stain is still present, apply the second coat of cleaning mixture.
  7. If you have a stain from sweat on your seat belts, the mixture of mild soap, water, and a bit of rubbing alcohol will help. Add everything into a spray bottle and apply it to the seat belts regularly. Wipe with a soft towel and dry before retracting.
  8. If you struggle with cleaning seat belts and removing stains, or you are scared to damage the belt’s fabric, refer to a professional cleaning service. They have all the necessary cleaning products and tools for removing any type of contamination safely.


Is it OK to wash seat belts?

It isn’t just okay, you have to wash the belts as often as possible. They get dirty just as much as everything else in your vehicle. To avoid stubborn stains, clean your seat belt frequently.

What is the best thing to clean car seat straps with?

All the plastic parts such as buckles and the straps themselves must be cleaned using a mild detergent, non-bleach dish soap, water, and microfiber cloths. Pull each seat belt out and clean it with a cloth soaked in the cleaning solution you have made. Remove excess moisture with a dry microfiber towel.

How do you get body odor out of seat belts?

If your seat belt has a strong smell, you should try making a homemade cleaning solution out of baking soda or vinegar. These two products are known for fighting bad odors well. Wipe the entire seat belt thoroughly with a microfiber towel dipped into the solution. Do not retract a seat belt until it is completely dry.

To summarize

The cleaning process for most seat belts is pretty easy. It has to be done often as seat belts get dirty fast, and it affects the way they perform in case of an accident. They might not be able to act as designed, keeping you in the seat. Use the cleaning methods described above to achieve good results in keeping the belts clean.

If this information helped you to clean the seat belts in your vehicle and to get rid of bad smells, share it with your family members and your friends who also have vehicles. If you have any questions left, let us know in the comment section below the article.

Alice Brooks

Hi!!!My name is Alice Brooks. Here I share my observations and conclusions from my experience and the experience of my friends. First of all, I pay attention to safety and only then to trends. I want to help other parents to choose the right product.

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