How to Protect Cloth Seats in a Car

by Alex Burke
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It only takes one accident to leave a stain on your cloth interior. Even when you don't allow food and drinks in the car, a wet, dirty hand or jacket can leave a stain behind. Vinyl seats are easier to clean but cloth offers a more comfortable alternative in hot or cold weather. Throwing a bath towel or blanket across the seat is an easy solution for protecting car seats but not a reliable or fashionable one. Seat covers and fabric protecting sprays are the best alternative for keeping cloth car seats in their original state.

Step 1

Buy seat covers. Seat covers run the gamut from one-size-fits-all styles to custom-fit covers, and come in any fabric imaginable. Waterproof seat covers are also available, and are a great choice for people who enjoy outdoor activities like swimming or surfing. Look for seat covers with a protective backing to keep liquids from seeping through to the seats.

Step 2

Spray a fabric protector on the cloth seats. Fabric protecting products create a barrier that liquids cannot penetrate. Stains cannot embed in the cloth when a fabric protecting product is used properly. Read the product label and follow the manufacturer's instructions for best results.

Buy an upholstery treatment when you buy the car. Many dealers offer this as an option at purchase time. Make sure there is a warranty for the service and an allowance included in the purchase price for additional applications.


  • The protective spray applied by the dealership will not provide any more protection than applying a fabric protecting product yourself. In fact, the dealer's application is usually quite expensive in comparison to applying one at home, which can run $6 to $10 a can.
  • One can of fabric protector will usually be enough to protect all the seats in the car. Store the product in a cool, dry place so the remaining contents are in good shape for re-application at a later time.
  • Read the label to learn the life span of the protective spray product once it is applied. Re-application at certain intervals may be necessary.

Items you will need

  • Seat covers
  • Fabric protecting product

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