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Please tell me I am not the only parent who could not figure out how to get a car seat really clean. There were a few times when I had tried to get my little guy's car seat cover off to wash, and just got super frustrated because it seemed to be stuck in place with serious hardware. For months, I would try to clean the car seat using a vacuum cleaner and a wet rag. You can only get a car seat partially clean using this method.
Over the summer, my little guy, Christian, and I went for a walk in the park with him in his stroller. There was an ice cream man there, and I decided to get Christian a treat. Mind you, toddlers are pretty messy eaters anyway, but I was an especially hot day as well. There was melted ice cream every where!
When we got home, I HAD to get the stroller fabric into the washing machine. After about 1/2 an hour and using some tools, I got the fabric off and into the washing machine. This got me to thinking, there has to be some way to do this with the car seat also.
Be prepared to get a little frustrated with this project but reassured that your child's car seat is so sturdy 🙂
Step 1: Remove Car Seat Base
This is one of those frustrating steps I'm talking about. Turn your car seat over so that you can access the bottom. That little stopper in the first picture took me over ten minutes to get off and I had to use a pair of pliers to do so. Once the stopper is finally off, pull the metal bar all the way out to separate the car seat from the base.
Step 2: Remove the car seat straps
On the back of the car seat should be a metal hook where the shoulder straps are attached. Undo the straps and pull them through the shoulder strap openings. Then remove the hardware- the chest harness and seat buckles. Then on the bottom of the car seat where the seat belt attaches, there should be a metal part that you can push through the opening of the car seat.
Step 3: Remove the Car Seat plastic Fasteners
This is the main reason why I had not washed the car seat cover before. These fasteners can only be accessed from the bottom of the car seat after the base has been removed. They will snap out by using a flat head screw driver. The screw driver I have in the picture was not strong enough, and I had to switch to a much larger one.
Step 4: Remove the Car Seat Cover
Detach all of the elastic bands holding the cover to the car seat. Then the cover on the flap of the adjustable head rest should be removed first. Once that is off the rest of the cover should be easy to remove. If your car seat had arm rest covers, remove those too.
I washed my car seat cover on cold and dried the pieces on the low setting since I wasn't sure if they would shrink.
Step 5: Wipe down the Car Seat and Hardware
I threw the hardware into my kitchen sink to soak. I then wiped down the car seat with my homemade multi-purpose cleaner while the car seat cover was in the wash.
Step 6: Putting the Car Seat back together.
To put the car seat back together, just reverse the steps. I would suggest taking photos when you take the car seat apart to remember where everything goes. Once all this is done, it's like having a new car seat again!
Ahhhh... I feel so much better 🙂