How to Clean an Infant Car Seat
You’ll either hear it coming or smell it once it has arrived—the nasty mess that just erupted all over your baby’s car seat. Once you’ve cleaned up your baby and they’re safely napping again, it’s time to learn how to clean an infant car seat. Be sure to do this when you won’t need to use the seat for at least 24 hours in order to give all the components a chance to air-dry.
Find the Manual and Remove the Seat
Take a picture of the seat and all the buckles, straps, and latches so that you remember the installation. Then remove the seat from the car, including the plastic base.
Locate the manufacturer’s manual. If you can’t find it at home, you probably can find it online. Every car seat is a little different, and each maker will have its own recommendation for how to clean the seat, including what types of cleaners are acceptable. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and remember—whatever you use to clean the car seat is going to touch or be very near your baby. Use only nontoxic, gentle soap. Never use bleach on an infant car seat, and never put harness straps in the washer or dryer. This could create a safety hazard by weakening the straps, defeating the purpose of the restraint system.
Shake, Vacuum, and Dab
Use a baby wipe to pick out any crumbs, and then turn the parts upside down to shake out any remaining crumbs. If you have a small vacuum or vacuum attachment, use that to get into the nooks and crannies and clean out debris. If the manual says the cover is machine-washable, remove it and wash using the gentle cycle and cold water. Air-dry.
Take a picture of how the harness straps fit through the guides or slots, and then remove the straps. Spot-clean with gentle soap and a sponge, and then air-dry. Dip the buckle into clean water and swish it around to remove gunk and any sticky bits. Wipe it off with a clean cloth and let that air-dry, too.
Clean the Base, Air-Dry, and Reinstall
The final part of an infant car seat to clean is the base. Use a damp cloth and some gentle soap with water, and then wipe the base with sanitizing wipes. Let it air-dry. When all the parts are clean and dry, reassemble the seat and reinstall it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Try to remember all the infant car seat safety tips you studied so diligently before your baby arrived. If you’re not sure that you’ve reinstalled the seat and its components correctly, contact a certified child passenger safety technician to double-check the installation before your baby rides in the car again.