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How to Clean Car Seats and Strollers

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What are some of the messiest things when it comes to babies?

No, not just diapers.

Car seats and strollers!

convertible car seat in a backseat

My first baby rarely ate in his car seat but now that I’m on baby #3? Let’s just say I pick my battles (and have a lot less time to organize or plan snacks). My strollers and car seats get nas-tay thanks to dirt feet, grubby park hands, cracker crumbs, milk and juice leaks, pee… you name it. It’s gross.

Shortly after my third was born, my second son got into the habit of drinking his (rice) milk sippy in the car while we drove the oldest to school. It was a great idea at the time but months later when I started smelling an awful stench? I began to re-think my excellent (or so I thought) plan. It also took a while to get the smell out.

Here are some tips to stay on top of the stinky, dirty mess that is your child’s car seat and/or stroller.

1. Check your manual for care information.

Both in the manual and on the actual item, there is always detailed information about how you should care for your item as well as things you should never do while cleaning your item.

2. Invest in a second car seat cover from the manufacturer.

If you have a second cover, you always have a clean one when accidents happen (or you just need to clean the first cover). A lot of car seat covers ask that you don’t machine dry them so, chances are, your cover will be hanging to dry when you need to dash out of the house.

3. Invest in a stroller seat cover or liner.

Lots of stroller companies and boutique companies make lay-in covers to keep your stroller clean and easy to care for. I’ve even seen (and have) bumper bar covers, which is a genius invention. The stroller bumper bar is not only one of the hardest things to clean (on some, not all, strollers) it’s just asking for your baby’s teeth marks! While you’re at it- you can find push bar covers for foam handle bar. I suggest getting those, too! I’ll never forget the day when I went to fold my Bugaboo and the parking lot gashed my handle bar. It’s not super important but it’s nice to have (and not an expensive investment– the cover not the Bugaboo, haha.)

4. Keep a pack of baby wipes in your car.

Baby wipes are a mom’s cleaning tool from the gods. They quickly wipe up spills, crumbs, grubby prints.. you name it. When I think of it (or when I notice my child was especially messy in his stroller at snack time) I wipe down the stroller after every outing and before putting it in my trunk.

5. Use a travel bag if you travel.

If you’re flying, get a travel bag from the manufacturer or a universal travel bag for your car seat and even for your lightweight stroller if you plan to check it at the gate. I learned this the hard way and the large grease mark across my child’s seat never did come out. Just keep in mind the new guidelines that some airlines have for weight limits on strollers before purchasing a travel bag.

6. The Dust Buster is your best friend.

Use it every few days if your child eats, drinks and snacks in the car. This allows you to slightly stretch out the amount of deep cleanings you need to perform.

If you don’t have the time or your stroller and car seat are just beyond icky, you can always check out some of the cleaning services!

Buggy Bubbles

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Monday 25th of July 2011

Any tips on how to get CRAYON out of the car seat. We went out to eat and them cheap crayons made it to the car seat with out mom knowing!!! In Fl melted all over such a mess....

Jennifer Beall

Friday 22nd of July 2011

Thanks for the mention, Christina! CleanBeeBaby is happy to help out any Los Angeles area moms who are looking for professional help cleaning their car seat or stroller - we're mobile so serve a very broad geographic area to be convenient to everyone! We are also all certified safety technicians and will happily help moms safely reinstall their car seat after we clean it - worry free and hassle free!


Friday 22nd of July 2011

This is kinda funny, but after I'm done at the carwash I pop open the stroller and use their vacuum to give it a good once-over, even if it isn't that dirty. It helps keep the crud to a minimum. You might get some strange looks, but hey - it works!


Friday 22nd of July 2011

I am the same- I wipe gear down prior to it getting into the car- the last thing I want to find is crusty peanut butter or the like from previous outings! I also keep a package of baby wipes and Wet Ones (the giant ones) in the packet of my car passenger door so when my little mess makers get out of the car, I remove all garbage and sippies and I wipe down all the crumbs and crusties so it's be fresh and clean next time we get in (the floor is another story, however!). Seems time consuming, but really has just become part of our routine. I wish they never had to have snacks/drinks in the car at all, but like Hollie says- it is convenient- you just have to stay on top of the messes! WAY on top of them!


Friday 22nd of July 2011

I'm on baby #1 so i didn't realize the mess she will eventually leave on the seat... though i still wonder where the mystery crumbs come from, she's never eaten in her infant carrier...

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