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How to Clean Car Seatbelts: 3 Tips & Tricks

airbag and seatbelt

Most drivers prefer their cars to be clean and neat. However, even if you thoroughly wash your vehicle, certain parts might be hard to reach or clean or get damaged from cleaning. That also applies to car seatbelts.

These can be really tricky to clean because of their shape and position, and if your whole car is already clean, wouldn’t it be nice if the seatbelts were clean too? If this is something you struggle with, this article is the perfect place for you to become familiar with tips and tricks on how to clean car seatbelts.

Keep reading to find out more and make your car seatbelts squeaky clean!

car and road divider

The 3 Tips & Tricks for Cleaning Car Seatbelts

1. General Seatbelt Cleaning

Image Credit: Pixabay

For general seatbelt cleaning, this might be the best method. You should start by pulling out the seatbelts and placing a metal clamp near the belt reel. That will prevent the belt from retracting back inside.

You can use a fabric cleaner or an all-purpose cleaner to spray it onto your seatbelts. They are easy to use as they’re typically in spray bottles which is convenient when cleaning seatbelts as they can be hard to reach.

Once you’ve sprayed the cleaner on the seatbelts, you should gently scrub them with a scrubbing brush to remove excess dirt. You should scrub from the top of the seatbelt towards the back while being as gentle as possible to avoid wear and tear. If the stains are deep, you can repeat this process.

After the scrubbing, use a microfiber cloth or towel in the same motion to remove any excess moisture from the seatbelts. Lastly, you should leave the seatbelts to dry, possibly overnight, to ensure they’re entirely dry. That will prevent mold and odors from gathering on them.

2. Removing Difficult Stains

If stubborn stains are on your vehicle seatbelts, it’s not the end of the world, as every stain can be removed. To clean stains requiring more work, you should start with a cleaning solution made of water, detergent, or other cleaning product. You’ll need:

You’ll need:
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 3 cups of detergent/dish soap/all-purpose cleaner

Once the mixture is ready, dip a bristle scrubbing brush into it while minimizing the moisture retained on the brush as it could damage the seatbelt. Use the brush to scrub the stain gently, starting at the top of the seatbelt and slowly going towards its end. If necessary, you can add small amounts of the cleaning solution to eliminate the visible stains.

After cleaning, you can wipe the seatbelt with a damp cloth and allow it to air dry out for a couple of hours, or possibly overnight if you have enough time.

3. Getting Rid of Odors and Mold

spraying homemade cleaner in the car
Image Credit: Towfiqu barbhuiya, Unsplash

A common issue with dirty car seatbelts is that they can get moldy and smell bad. If that happens, the stains will be even more challenging to remove. However, it’s not an impossible task if you follow the following tips.

Similar to the first cleaning technique, you should pull out the seatbelt and place a clamp to hold it in place. This will make the cleaning easier while allowing you to better find where the mold is located.

As mold is stubborn and foul odors are hard to eliminate, you’ll need to make a DIY cleaning solution by mixing:
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of dish soap (non-bleach)
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar

Mix all the ingredients until you get a soapy mixture you’ll use for cleaning.

For this cleaning technique, you’ll also need a bristle scrubbing brush to soak the cleaning solution and apply it to the car seatbelt. Again, remember to scrub from top to bottom while avoiding any circular motions.

Once the stains are gone, use a dry microfiber cloth to blot the seatbelt. You could also use a mold-preventative product that should lower the chances of similar issues in the future. When you finish everything, allow your vehicle seatbelts to air dry overnight to ensure there’s no more moisture, as it could lead to mold reappearing.

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How Often Should I Clean My Car Seatbelts?

Image Credit: Pixabay

There’s no precise answer to how often you should clean your car seatbelts. So, while your car seatbelts might need cleaning every other week, seatbelts from another person might need cleaning only once a month.

If you drive your car daily, without passengers, you’re using the driver’s seatbelt the most. Because of the frequency of use, you should wash it every week or so to avoid stains and bad smells.

As for the passenger’s seatbelt, even if you typically drive on your own, you can clean it when cleaning the driver’s seatbelt. The cleaning process will be a few minutes longer, but your car will look and smell much better than if you left the seatbelt dirty.

If you feel that that’s too frequent for a solo driver, you can clean the passengers and the back seatbelts once a month to ensure they’re not going to become moldy or get a foul smell.

Things You Should Avoid When Cleaning Your Car Seatbelts

If you don’t clean your car seatbelts properly, they could get ruined and fall apart over time. That’s why there are certain things you should avoid when cleaning them. Although some of the following points might seem like a good idea, our advice is to stray away from them.

  • Washing the car seatbelts with a pressure washer: A pressure washer can certainly remove the stains from your car seatbelts, but this cleaning technique can be extremely dangerous. Avoid it, as your seatbelts could fall apart quickly.
  • Using a steam cleaner to get rid of the dirt: This is another frequently used cleaning technique, but it’s not the best option for cleaning your car seatbelts. Using a steam cleaner will expose the seatbelts to high temperatures, causing them to wear down rapidly.

car and road divider


Cleaning your car seatbelts is not a tough job, but it will be rewarding as your vehicle will look and smell clean. If you neglect cleaning your car seatbelts, you could face severe mold and odor issues which can sometimes be tricky to remove. It’s much better to maintain regular maintenance and keep all components of your vehicle neat.

Featured Image Credit: Tasoph, Shutterstock


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