Step-by-Step: Steam Cleaning Car Seat Belts for a Stain-Free Experience

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Updated on:

June 17, 2023

Steaming Away the Stains: A Complete Guide to Cleaning Car Seat Belts

You are surely aware of how quickly the exterior of your automobile can become dirty. It must contend with numerous environmental dangers that not only cover your car in muck but also risk chipping the paint and causing other harm.

What you might not know is that the interior of your automobile can also get dirty very rapidly. You undoubtedly give the upholstery in your automobile a lot of consideration when cleaning the interior. Your car's upholstery is an essential component, so you should do your best to maintain it clean and well-protected.

Car seat belts tend to frequently be forgotten when performing deep cleaning. This can lead to mold spores growing and your car having a disgusting smell. We will list multiple ways on how to clean car seat belts to get rid of any stubborn stains and prevent mold.

Key Takeaways:

  • Gather supplies: metal clamp, cleaner, soft brush, microfiber towel.
  • Pull out belt, secure with clamp. Apply cleaner, let sit for a few mins. Gently brush belt from top to bottom. Dry with microfiber towel, remove excess moisture.
  • Consider using Fortador Steam Cleaners for thorough, chemical-free cleaning with high heat and pressure.

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What Materials are Belts Made Out of?

If you've ever wondered how seatbelt webbing is woven, you should know that both the subject and the substance are crucial. Contrary to popular belief, weaving can save lives since the webbing is meticulously crafted to have a high tensile strength.

Since nylon is more prone to wear and tear than polyester, seatbelts are now typically made entirely of polyester. The tensile strength will be drastically reduced by even minor scratches and damage. The threads are packed closer together in less energizing yarns, which results in seatbelts that last longer.

eating inside car can make seat belts diry

Why Do Seat Belts Get So Dirty?

Every time you get into your automobile, you will need to touch your seat belt if you are wearing one. Even if you wash your hands according to the instructions, you will never be able to completely get rid of the minute germs and bacteria that you take up throughout the day. When you use your seat belt, these germs and bacteria are easily transferred there and remain there until cleaned.

Your seat belt is not the only item that is vulnerable to these transfers. In fact, since you will be touching the steering wheel so frequently while driving, it might also become quite dirty. Because of this, it's crucial that you clean your car's interior using the right methods and precautions.

Seat belts can get soiled for a variety of additional causes in addition to hand transfers. Seat belts frequently come into contact with different liquids while being used since you might accidently sweat on them, spill something on them, or drop food on them.

As most seat belts are made of polyester, they can readily get stained when they come into contact with these things. These stains may release an odor or cause mold to grow if not removed right away.

dirty car interior covered with mold

Can You Clean Seat Belts?

The most frequently used yet least used piece of equipment in the car is likely your seatbelt.

In actuality, neither you nor the person washing your car are paying attention to them when you visit a car wash. However, the seatbelts need to be cleaned frequently because they are contaminated and stained. So, the answer is that you should wash them as frequently as you can. You can do that DIY, in the backyard of your home.

In particular if you smoke, washing them will get rid of undesirable odors in addition to grime. But in order to do that properly, the first step is to get a cleaner and other cleaning supplies.

Cleaning Solution and Materials for Cleaning

Use a fabric cleaner or an all-purpose cleaner to clean your seatbelts. They are made for most fragile materials and are safe to use. Be sure they don't have any bleach inside, though. There are viable replacements for a cleaner, such as:

Although vinegar and vinegar-based cleansers work well in eliminating odor, moderation is advised when using them. An acid in vinegar can degrade the material and weaken the strength of the seatbelt. You can mix part water and part vinegar in a spray bottle to have a diluted enough solution.

Baby wipes are a good option as well, but only for superficial stains. Non bleach dish soap is also a great solution to use, even delicate fabrics.

How To Clean Car Seat Belts

Step 1: Gather Necessary Supplies

1. Metal Clamp

A fastening tool is required to prevent the seat belt from retracting. To finish the task, you won't need anything particularly heavy, but you will require something more powerful than a paperclip. Both a binder clip for holding paper stacks together and a ChicClip used to secure potato chip bags will do just nicely.

interior cleaning solution

2. Cleaner

There are several choices available. You can use a fabric cleaner or combine liquid soap and warm water in a spray bottle. Anything excessively acidic should be avoided as it could eventually cause structural damage to the seat belt.

Consider using a premium interior cleaner that will restore the surface of your seat belts and aid in preserving them in the future for the best results.

cleaning brushes

3. Scrubbing Brush

As seat belts are composed of polyester, they are reasonably durable. But, you should use a soft-bristled brush because you don't want to possibly harm any of the connecting threads. The majority of the work should be done by the cleaner; any remaining tasks can be completed with a little hard work.

4. Microfiber towel

You can quickly dry your belts with microfiber cloths without risking abrasive damage by doing so. The polyester threads of the belt may be pulled or torn by regular hand towels or fabric rags because they are frequently considerably rougher. Because microfiber towels are so soft, there is no chance that the belt will be inadvertently damaged.

Step 2: Pull the Seat Belt Out

In order to ensure that each belt is thoroughly cleaned, you should only concentrate on one belt at a time. Whatever belt you choose to start with, pull it as far as you can once you've made your choice.

Pull out the belt gradually to avoid damaging any retraction mechanisms, and continue pulling until you encounter resistance. To prevent the seat belt from retracting into the default position, firmly fasten your clamp towards the top of the seat belt, where the belt reel is.

Step 3: Use the Cleaner

Directly onto the belt, spritz it with the cleaner of your choosing. Avoid soaking or over-saturating the belt, but make sure all areas of the fabric are touched with an even, mild application. Don't forget to turn the belt over so that the underside can also receive the cleaner. Allow the cleaner to sit on the belt and work on removing the tough stains for three to five minutes.

Step 4: Use a Brush

Use your stiff bristle brush to clean the brush and eliminate any impurities, starting at the top of the belt and moving lower. Avoid circling the belt or moving back and forth over it; instead, move forward.

Use the brush the same manner you would if you were brushing someone else's long hair. The belt should now begin to appear significantly better. The cleaner should remove any stains, filth, dust, grime, or grease that are readily apparent.

If stubborn stains continue, you can reapply a second coat of cleanser and concentrate your efforts on that particular region. These final two stages might need to be repeated several times if you aren't using a really potent cleaner.

Step 5: Dry the Belt

Repeat step four with a clean dry microfiber towel and the same action: start at the top of the belt and move downward in a single stroke. To fast dry both sides of the belt, you can wrap a towel around it.

Use a tight grip and be sure to get remove excess moisture as you can. Use a moderate amount of force; it's quite unlikely that microfiber will harm your belt.

Wait for the belt to completely dry before removing the clamp.

Best Equipment to Use When Cleaning Seat Belts

Best thing to clean your seat belts is a hot water extractor or a steam machine. A steam cleaner will be able to get rid of any smells, stains, and kill mold without using any harsh chemicals. Combination of high heat and high pressure is what will make sure clean the entire belt perfectly. Small particles of steam can go through belt's threads in order to clean it from the inside out.

steam cleaning of seat belts

How to Steam Clean Seat Belts

Step 1: Prep belt for cleaning

Pull the seat belt forward to reveal the whole length

Step 2: Steam cleaning of seat belt

Using our upholstery tool in a downward motion, slowly steam and vacuum the belt. Maintain a modest speed so that the steam can efficiently dissolve dirt and the vacuum can recover moisture.

diesel vacuum steam cleaner Fortador PRO Max

Fortador Steam Cleaners for seat belt detailing

When searching for the right steam machine to give you the best performance when doing deep cleaning, you can turn to Fortador Steam Cleaners. From compact models, like Volt Mini and Volt Electra, to more industrial options, like PRO Max and Fortador PRO, you can find a machine that is best for your use.

Our machines are eco-friendly and do not require the usage of harsh chemicals. They are easy to use due to the touch screen technology. Each machine comes with many accessories like extension hoses, attachment brushes, and more that will help you do the best clean of your vehicle or your home.

About the Authors

Sergey "Serg" Paskevich
Panama-based detailing pro, proud owner of Car Care Performance Detailing studio in Panama-City. Specializing in Paint Correction, Ceramic Coating, and comprehensive Car Detailing services
Kristina Tretyakova
Distinguished as a South Florida Top-10 student in 2021. Studying Marketing and Business Administration at FIU. Proficient in daily operations and skilled in cleaning, auto detailing and copywriting.

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