Infant Car Seat Clean Up

I knew when Norton started gnawing on the pull strap of his infant car seat that it was time to clean the darned thing.  Well, actually, I knew that it was time to clean Norton’s infant car seat when we had to put a receiving blanket under him in Cache Creek (3 hours from home) because he’d gone through his diaper and his clothes.

Fortunately, the task of taking apart the infant car seat for cleaning went to the husband.  He patiently sat down and popped the restraint straps out of the seat, and then carefully removed the padding.

Infant Car Seat Clean Up (Cloth Diaper Addicts)Well, great.  He had taken it apart.  Now I had to figure out how to clean the darned thing.  He figured that it would just be thrown in the washer and dryer, and done.  As the baby laundry maven, I knew that it was a distinct possibility about the cover, but I was pretty sure that I had read somewhere that the straps to the infant car seat weren’t supposed to be submerged in water.

Great.  Before I went crazy on baby laundry for the seat with no instructions, I figured I’d better do some searching to see what I could come up with.

It turns out that washing the car seat cover for our Graco SnugRide 32 infant car seat was a pretty simple thing.  I found the instructions on the Graco Baby’s website under care.  Turns out that all I had to do was toss it in the washer on gentle cycle and hang to dry.

Okay, no problem, I could do that.  And the straps?  I was right.  Those aren’t supposed to be submerged.  I ended up wiping those down with Lysol wipes, then wiping them again with a wet wash cloth.  I repeated the process with the bucket shell of the car seat.  My part took me about five minutes worth of my time.

I suspect that the hard part was putting it back together after everything was clean and dry.  I didn’t even try to put it back together.  Honestly, if it had been all on me, I probably would have decided that it was too much work to wash the darned thing and bought a new one.  As it was, it took my careful, brilliant, detail oriented husband who loves assembling things about twenty-five minutes to reassemble it.

I know that I would have gotten frustrated in that time and dropped a few choice words.  So, long story short?  Washing an infant safety seat isn’t hard at all.  But putting it back together might require a bit of patience.

Have you cleaned your infant car seat?  How did you do it?

Originally written August 15, 2010.  Canadian infant car seat standards have changed since then, but there’s one standard that remains: your straps should never be submerged.  While there are no documented instances of safety strap failure, the manuals all agree that we shouldn’t throw them in the wash.  Why?  Because of what could happen.  The straps can weaken, which could lead to breaking or stretching during a crash.  Sure, we all want our seats clean… but we want them to be safe even more.

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. I haven’t had a child in a car seat for a long time but yes, I use to clean the car seat. I took Lysol wipes and wiped it down quite frequently. It is nice to see Child Safety Month being promoted!

  2. Amy Boyington says:

    I dread cleaning car seats. My son’s infant seat was much easier to clean than his toddler seat. Still, I suck it up and do it every couple of weeks because the ickiness factor gets to me more than the hassle of taking it apart and putting it back together!

  3. Oh man, I had to clean a few carseats in my day and it took forever!!

  4. Alix St.Amant says:

    I hate cleaning car seats. I avoid it at all costs…

  5. Karen Hewitt says:

    This reminds me I have to clean ours

  6. Car seats get nasty and I really hate having to take them all apart to clean them. We have several Graco car seats and they are always easier to clean than our other car seats. We had one where you could take the cover off but couldn’t put it in the washer… WHAT’S THE POINT?

  7. Amber White says:

    Took it apart and then swore like a banshee trying to put it back together

  8. On one 13 hour road trip this summer, my 1 year old barfed FOUR TIMES. There was no NOT cleaning it. I didn’t have access to a washer where we were staying so I hand washed it in the tub, hosed it off outside, hung it to dry some and tossed it in the dryer for a bit too. I then hosed down the rest of the car seat and wiped and wiped. No I didn’t have internet so I could look up anything.

  9. I have been lucky that we have not had any bodily fluid issues with any of our carseats yet (cross fingers that I didn’t just jinx it). I washed our bucket seat cover between children just so it was clean for storage and it was a PAIN to put it back together. Honestly, I don’t see how wiping the straps with strong chemicals is better than just cleaning in a sink of water and allowing to dry… I can understand how they shouldn’t go into a washing machine though.

  10. michelle rattan says:

    Cleaning them is not so bad its putting them back together.

  11. Hmmmmm….i definitely wish you could just remove everything from the plastic and throw it all in the washing machine….straps and all!

  12. Hmmmmm….i definitely wish you could just remove everything from the plastic and throw it all in the washing machine….straps and all!

  13. Samantha says:

    This is so smart . This will most likely come in handy
    Samantha recently posted…Cloth Diaper Giveaways – Roundup for 6/13/14 (Plus Linky for All Giveaways)My Profile

  14. I never had to wash our infant seat beyond a wet cloth for a few spots (Maxi Cosi Mico) but the convertible did get a nice trip through the gentle cycle for sure… in fact, a horrifying barf is what ultimately sent that sucker to the dump – it was a fantasticly loved Britax Boulevard – we had her for just over 3 yrs. The kid barfed so badly in it that even after an hour of wiping the shell down, it would still randomly shoot barf out of some unseen crevice when it was tipped forward – it bit it for that reason alone. The shell should never be hosed off or set in the shower to be washed.. it’s possible to cause rust underneath as you can’t get to all of the metal components to properly dry them. Not a risk I was willing to take – so we replaced it.

  15. Hi Suzi,
    Wonderful suggestions for infant car seat cleaning. I love your post. I usually clean my baby car seat frequently, on weekend.

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge