Cleaning Car Seat Straps

Updated on November 16, 2009
M.G. asks from Minneapolis, MN
12 answers

Hi Moms,

My son graciously vomited all over himself while strapped in his car seat yesterday! So, my question is, how do you clean the straps on the seat? We have a Britax Marathon.


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answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with cleaning them with the vinegar and water solution and a cloth. A few drops of lemon juice will help with the vinegar smell, which will be gone in a few days.

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answers from St. Cloud on

HOLY HANNAH! I can't believe that people are suggesting that you take your straps off and wash them! You should never immerse car seat straps! It will damage the fibers.
My daughter vomited all over her car seat and I used a gallon of warm water and a cup of white vinegar and a few drops of grapefruit essential oil, dipped a rag in water and scrubbed the straps. I didn't need to take the straps off at all. I set the whole seat in the window to dry in the sun.
The smell of the vinegar totally goes away in no time at all and does act as a disinfectant. You can also use tea tree essential oil for more disinfecting power
Good luck!

EDIT****I meant to say that I dipped the rag in the water AND vinegar solution, not just in water. Just had to clarify! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Madison on

I would check the car seat's manual on instructions for cleaning the straps. If you no longer have the manual, call Britax and ask.
Britax USA
Support Phone: 888-427-4829

I would do exactly as the manufacturer recommends and nothing else.



answers from Minneapolis on

I always say, When in doubt check with the experts. Here is a link that gives cleaning advice from

There are reason's for everything and this site tells you the do's and don't's and why. Safety is important and so is knowledge.



answers from Minneapolis on

There are 3 possible options that I am aware of.
1. Soap and Hot water and a rag.
2. a little bleach in the water
3. dismantle the car seat, which I am sure you have already done, and the straps should come off completely and then you shoud be able to put them in the washing machine, maybe put them in like a net bag so that they don't wrap around the washer and get stuck.

Good luck, it is always fun!



answers from Duluth on

I learned you are not supposed to use soap, but how is this going to work?! I was told just water but the smell will be there so get in touch with the Manufacture and see what they say.
I was told the soap will make the seat not a safe in an accident. The straps neeed to stretch and if you use the wrong cleaner this may mess with the stretch.
Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Baking soda and vinegar are the best cleaners for anything like this!

If you can removed the straps, soak them in warm water with baking soda, a dab of laundry detergent and vinegar. If not, take the cover off the seat (if you haven't already...clean it in the washer with reg. soap, baking soda, and put vinegar in the fabric softner dispenser).

After the cover is off, take a wash cloth and soak and wash the straps with the solution above (you want to really get it wet and work out the yuck). Then take a towel and try to dry the straps as best as possible. Then, take a hairdryer and thoroughly dry the straps.

Just had a thought....can you put the carseat in your bathtub with the cover off? You might get a better clean of the whole thing. Then you might want to let it air dry over a vent in your house....but then double check to make sure the straps are dry.

It's a pain in the butt to clean straps, but it has to be done! Good luck!!! Sorry to hear your little guy was so sick!



answers from Duluth on

I didn't know that you weren't supposed to submerge car seat straps; honestly, I'm not sure what the difference is between putting them in a bucket and wiping them down thoroughly enough that they're clean (I can see that agitating them in the washer might be wear and tear)--but I had spitty babies, and we were always wiping ours down. When they were really bad, I made sure to do an initial wipe to get the crud off, then I took a bucket of warm water and gentle soap and washed and rinsed them just with a rag. I think I might have even taken them out of the seat to wash them thoroughly, though I think I've always used a rag and gentle soap to wash them; I just make sure they get really wet!



answers from Minneapolis on

Remove the straps and spot clean using an old toothbrush dipped in a solution of a couple drops of Dawn (or other mild dish soap) mixed with a cup or two of warm water. The toothbrush does a great job of getting the residue out of the crevices in the straps. Then hang them to dry.



answers from Minneapolis on

I've removed and cleaned our Britax straps more than once. I've put them in a basket in the dishwasher, but found that the bleach in the detergent faded them. The washing machine on gentle cycle worked great. Just be sure to let them line dry. Also, you might want to make a mental note on which hole in the side they came out of. The first time I reinstalled them incorrectly.



answers from Minneapolis on

A lot of times the carseat cover and the straps will come off the frame completely and can be washed in the wash machine.


answers from Minneapolis on

I hope everyone reads that! You absolutely cannot submerge car seat harnesses in water, or put htem in the washing machine. Doing either will weaken the fibers in the harness and cause them to fray and be weak, possibly breaking in a crash. They absolutely cannot be washed in the washing machin or submerged in water.

Now, that being said, you son vomited on his car seat harness. Gross, right? You can do a few things. Get out some baby wipes and get as much off as you can, and then let them dry. Take the clorox wipes next and finish cleaning them that way, then lay outside to dry out and freshen up.

You can also order a new harness from Britax. We did it one time, and it was here in 3 days. Explain the situation to them and they send them out pretty quickly.

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