Home & Life, Organization & Cleaning

How To Clean Car Seat Straps (Simple Steps)

Babies may be cute as a button, but they’re not half grotty little so-and-sos when they really want to be.

Best case scenario, they’re gumming everything in sight and slobbering all over the shop, but our little ones are just as likely to spill food or vomit on their gear, and being that the straps on their car seat are very near their mouth, they stand to take the brunt of our baby’s less endearing traits.

Hygiene is crucial where babies are involved, so it’s absolutely essential that we keep these straps nice and clean, otherwise, they can become a breeding ground for nasty bacteria, but it’s not an obvious task the first time around.

Unsure what to do when my daughter started teething and drooling everywhere, I consulted my health visitor and reached out to all my parent friends for info and assistance.

I also contacted the manufacturer of my baby’s car seat to ask for their opinion on best practices, we also talked about how to put a car seat in shopping cart, read here for information. Read on to keep those car seat straps clean and your baby happy and healthy!

Cleaning Car Seat Straps: A Step-By-Step Guide

This is the deep cleaning method I do every 2 weeks to 1 month depending on how messy my daughter has been, and it must be working, as, at the 7-month mark, my young one is yet to have any viral illness or bacterial infection.

But before we dive into the guide, let’s run through what you’re going to need:

  • A basin
  • Hot water
  • A magic eraser — There are a number of copycat magic erasers out there, but I prefer to use the brand name product because, having tested some cheaper variants, I found it to be the most effective.
  • A microfiber cloth — You don’t need anything fancy in the microfiber cloth department. They’re all by and large the same regardless of price, but what I did and what I suggest you do is buy a bulk pack, as you’ll go through them at lightning ace… trust me!
  • A soft bristle toothbrush — I use Colgate brushes because they arrive in a pack of 6, and despite the softness of the bristles, in my experience, they hold their form incredibly well and rarely fall out.
  • Lots of sunshine

Step 1 — Removing The Car Seat Straps

For the best possible results, you’ll want to remove the straps from the car seat, permitting access to lengths of the strap that would otherwise be hidden by the seat itself like in a pram bassinet.

The removal process may be slightly different from brand to brand and model to model, so I’d highly recommend checking your user manual before giving it a go, but, generally speaking, most models conform to the following steps:

  • On the back of the car seat, the shoulder straps loop onto a metal clip. Uncouple the straps from the clip.
  • Pull the shoulder straps through the holes in the back of the seat so the loose ends fall through to the front.
  • Run any plastic buckle components off the loose ends.
  • The shoulder straps are actually one strap that runs through the base of the car seat. Pull one side of the strap through the base so the end hangs loose underneath the seat.
  • Grab this loose end and pull the other shoulder strap through its respective hole in the base, and voilà; job done!

Step 2 — Damp Cloth Rub Down

With the shoulder straps removed from the infant car seat, you can begin the cleaning process. Start off by dampening one of your microfiber cloths with hot water.

It’s important not to saturate your shoulder straps, as the fibers can deteriorate, so be sure to wring out as much excess water from your cloth as possible.

Damp cloth at the ready, wrap a section of the strap around your fist to hold it steady, then scrub the belt gently.

How To Clean Car Seat Straps (Simple Steps)

Repeat this process, wrapping different sections of the belt around your fist until you’ve wiped down its entire length.

You can do this with mild soap if you need some extra cleaning power, but you’ll be spot cleaning next and that should take care of most heavy soiling.

If you want to play it really safe, I’d recommend using the baby shampoo you use for bath time.

I found this is the best way to ensure the cleaning substances you’re using won’t have a negative impact on your child’s health.

As for why you should use a microfiber cloth, the manufacturer of my baby’s car seat told me that it’s important to go easy on the seat strap fibers to maintain their integrity and keep your child safe.

Using aggressive cleaners such as wire wool is the worst thing you can do.

Step 3 — Spot Cleaning

Next up, grab your Magic Eraser and spot clean all the heavily soiled areas of the shoulder straps, again, using your fist to anchor the strap in place.

To activate the release of the melanin soap in the Magic Eraser, dampen it with cold water, being careful not to saturate it.

Scrub in soft, small, circular motions, and if the sponge picks up a lot of dirt and grime, rinse it clean, gently wring it out, then continue with the spot cleaning process.

Step 4 — Details

Sometimes food mess and spit up can sink into the tiny ridges of shoulder straps, so before giving them one last wipe down, grab a soft bristle toothbrush, dampen the bristles, then scrub the area with embedded gunk.

Step 5 — The Wipe Down

Grab a fresh microfiber cloth, dampen it, then give the length of the straps a wipe down.

Step 6 — The Other Side

If you’ve only done one side of the car seat straps, now’s the time to flip them over and repeat the above steps, Read here if you need help loosening the car seat straps.

Step 7 — Air Drying

Whatever you do, don’t throw your car seat straps in a tumble dryer. Instead, hang them up to dry in the sun or somewhere else nice and warm. They should be ready for reuse after about 24 hours.


How do I adjust the straps on Graco car seat?

Loosen harness straps: Lift lever and pull shoulder straps out. Remove both shoulder harness strap loops from splitter plate on back of child restraint. Pull harness straps through restraint and pad. Insert harness straps into desired slots.

Why does my seatbelt keep tightening?

This could be due to a number of reasons. For instance, if you lean forward too quickly, the retractor might engage. Or it might engage if you happen to lean forward at the same time the driver brakes. If you’re descending down a steep declining road, the gyroscopic sensor can cause the retractor to engage

Can you tighten car seat straps too much?

Well, straps can never really be too tight – but you just don’t want your kiddo to have red marks and restricted blood flow from the straps. So by all means tighten, tighten, tighten – just not to the point where circulation is being impacted. They say the tighter the better and that’s very true.

Final Thoughts

While cleaning your child’s car seat straps may seem like a daunting task, following the steps we provided will make cleaning them a breeze! We hope you and your kiddo will enjoy your newly cleaned car seat straps.

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