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Tips For Cleaning Under Your Car Seats

Your car's cushy and comfy seats are possibly among the most underappreciated items when it comes to automotive care. They've kept us warm and cosy, but we may be caressing our behinds on filthy chairs that have been left uncleaned for years. Now, the exposed bits of the seats are easy enough to scrub deep into and remove all the nasty grime and filth that have been building up.

But the tricky parts come into play in the deep pits around your seats. That seemingly endless void between your captain's chairs and centre console are just the start of it, too. Tonnes of hairs, dead skin, muck, dirt, dust, coins, crumbs, leaves, and a lot of other disgusting trinkets fall all the way down and get trapped underneath your car seats. 

After a while, we tend to ignore this usually hard-to-reach spot, and hope it all somehow magically disappears. Although, when spring cleaning is just around the corner, you may as well try and have it cleaned. Besides, if not for the sake of keeping your car well-groomed and smelling fresh, at least consider that your carpets and fabric liners can get worn over time. 

What's The Best Way To Clean Under Your Car Seats?

Nonetheless, many people ignore cleaning under their car seats simply because it's too difficult. So, what are the best ways to clean that foul underbelly of your chairs? Well, the most thorough way to have it vacuumed and carpet washed is by completely removing your entire front seats. It's quite an ordeal and a half, but if you have some spare time and a few spanners, it's worth a try.

Step 1: Move the front seats all the way forward.

Step 2: Find the bolts at the back of the front seats, which are found along a rail mounted to the floor of the car. Usually, there are two bolts, one for the left- and right-hand side rail, respectively. In some newer cars, these bolts might be shielded under a plastic cover.

Step 3: These bolts are generally either hex, Torx, or hexagonal head. Remove these two bolts.

Step 4: Move the front seats all the way back. If your car has power-operated seats, then don't disconnect the battery or electrics just yet.

Step 5: Now, repeat the same process with Steps 2 and 3, by removing the two bolts on the front-end of the rail, for both left- and right-hand rails altogether.

Step 6: Disconnect your car's battery. It's important to bear in mind that you shouldn't disconnect the wires for your car's powered seats while the key is in the ignition and the battery is still connected. Doing this may just trigger the airbags to come on, or at least an SRS warning light.

Step 7: If your car has power seats, then there will be a lot of cables and wiring that you'll need to unplug. Be sure to remember which wires are plugged into which socket later on. You may need to gently lift up the seats - having someone else to help you would make this easier - in order to access the wires. 

Step 8: Once you're certain that all the wiring has been unplugged, carefully lift the seats and slot them through the door. 

Step 9: When you've already finished the deed of cleaning the unpleasantries underneath your car's seats, you can repeat all of these steps in reverse order to fit your seats back in. Be sure to have those wires re-plugged correctly to prevent any airbag or seat-belt warning lights from popping up.

A hot tip for those of you whose cars may have quite complicated seats, have your phone's camera at the ready. Take plenty of photos of where things should go before and after. For example, take a clean screenshot of the powered seat wires before detaching them, so you could reference them later on when you're re-plugging them back in. 

Is There An Easier Way To Get Under Your Car's Seats?

Okay, maybe removing the seats is a bit too tough for most people. While completely removing the front seats will allow you to get into every nook and cranny, and possibly even giving enough room for you to wash the fabric liner and carpeting below, it's going to take some elbow grease to get there. Plus, there are all the many looms of wires and cables running around that might be too daunting. 

So, is there an easier way? Well, if you can compromise on a spotless finish, then we can still do as good of a job as possible with what we have. The tools that you'll need is a vacuum cleaner, a small brush (preferably those used for detailing), or a can of compressed air. Starting at the bottom of the car, use your brush to dislodge as much loose dirt and dust as possible from the rails. 

Brush in between the bolts, and every opening possible along the length of the rail. Remember to move the front seats as far back and forwards to get the most amount of exposure to the area below your car seats. If the brush doesn't work, then try the can of compressed air, and see if that could free up the more stubborn debris. Then, get your vacuum out. 

Without any attachments, suck up as much as you can of the carpets surrounding the bottom of the seats. It may also help to have a slim crevice tool or nozzle attached to the front for later. Now, you can try to get a bit deeper underneath the seats. While you're moving your seats back and forth, you ought to try and clean out the areas besides your seats too, such as between the centre console.

Another bonus tip here is to use your tiny detailing - or bristle - brush while you're holding the vacuum. Use the brush to dislodge any dust or dirt, and immediately have it sucked away by the vacuum before it gets stuck anywhere else. In all, cleaning the nasty areas underneath your car's seats is certainly worth doing every once in a while, even if it may take a bit of time and effort.