Can You Wash Seat Covers in the Washing Machine?by Nick Davis
When you first purchased your car's seat covers, they were clean and made the interior of your car stand out. Months later, you notice the seat covers are covered in dirt, grime and spills. Most seat covers are made from material that is easily washed in your washing machine. As with other fabrics, your seat covers will have special instructions on washing and drying. This information is found on the label usually attached to the inside of the seat cover.
Before tossing your seat covers into the washing machine, locate the label on the cover and read any manufacturer's washing instructions. Make sure you tie together any loose ties and remove any hooks so they won't get caught around your washer's agitator. If your seat covers contain any stains, use a stain remover to get out the spots. Fill your washer with warm water and pre-soak the stain covers for 15 to 20 minutes or the time recommended on the stain remover to break up any stains or spots. You can also pre-soak your seat covers in mild detergent.
Washing Your Seat Covers
Wash your seat covers in warm water. Do not use the hot-water setting on your washer---the hot water will shrink your seat covers. Also, do not use cold water. Cold water can not completely remove soiled spots, dirt and stains. Use a short washing cycle. You don't need to use a long cycle with a long spin time. Use a mild detergent and a basic fabric softener. Do not use bleach. Do not wash your seat covers with other fabrics or clothing.
Drying Your Seat Covers
Dry your seat covers on a clothes line outside or by placing them on a clean, flat surface. Do not place your seat covers in a dryer. Let your seat covers dry before putting them back on your car's seats. Make sure you check the condition of the seat covers when they come out of the washer. Look for any loose threads or ties. Repair any problems before reinstalling them in your car.
Sheepskin Seat Covers
If your seat covers are made from sheepskin material, machine washing is not recommended by some seat cover manufacturers. You will need to wash sheepskin seat covers according to the instructions and recommendations on the seat cover label. If your sheepskin seat covers can be washed in a washer, use a baby shampoo like Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo. Make sure to remove any hooks present on the covers. Pour two caps full of shampoo into the washer and use cold water. Wash the seat covers on the "delicate" or "gently" cycle.
To wash sheepskin seat covers by hand, pour two caps full of baby shampoo into a sink of cold water. Remove any hooks present and then place the covers in the water. Wash to remove any spots and stains and then rinse the sheepskin covers in cold water.
Dry your sheepskin covers on a clothes line or on a flat surface. Do not place them in a dryer. Do not place them in direct sunlight or heat. Dry time is usually around three days. To fluff up the sheepskin, use a wire brush.
Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.