How To – Clean Your Neoprene Car Seat Covers
When you think about neoprene, often the first thing that comes to mind is wetsuits. Neoprene car seat covers are actually made from rubber similar to those used for making wetsuits (modified for automotive use) and once you understand its properties, you will see why it’s ideal for seat covers!
Neoprene is a hard wearing material that stands up to a range of conditions (think wetsuits and seawater, constantly damp with exposure to the elements). Therefore neoprene car seat covers, especially those made from high quality automotive-grade neoprene are going to be very durable and water resistant, as well as being able to withstand extended exposure to UV under the harsh Australian sun. While that is a good thing for car seat covers, it could also pose the question for some – how to clean them?
Cleaning Minor Spots
Before we begin, quality neoprene seat covers are already low-maintenance and do not scuff or take dirt up easily when compared to fabric or leather. Nonetheless, if you have minor spots and marks on your car seat covers, you can clean them off immediately to prevent long-term staining.
First of all, vacuum the car seat covers to get rid of any bits of dirt or food crumbs to avoid rubbing these nasties into the fabric. If a vacuum is not handy, swipe them off with your hands.
Next, get a clean cloth and dip it in warm water. Squeeze excess water out and wipe the area of the cover that is marked. If dirt has gotten into any corners or seams of the fabric, you may choose to really get into the nooks and crannies to get the marks out. After you’ve finished, leave the car windows down to allow the car seat covers to air-dry naturally.
TIP: For those who can’t wait for the seat covers to dry, use a hair dryer set to medium heat to accelerate the drying process. It should only take a jiffy.
Quality neoprene car seat covers should be easy to clean and quick to dry so this process is relatively quick and painless.
Removing Bigger Marks
For more aggressive marks, you may use a mild household detergent to help lift the dirt to avoid permanently staining the fabric or having the dirt ground in. As is always the case, prepare the covers by first sucking up any loose debris and dust with a vacuum.
WARNING: Some stains may prove harder to remove. Nonetheless, one must avoid the temptation to use turps, stain removers, orange oil, eucalyptus oil, bleach and other chemical cleaners. It will not only damage the fabric and strip off UV protection (assuming you have purchased automotive-grade neoprene seat covers) but also cause the fabric to peel away from the neoprene rubber.
Lifting Stubborn Dirt
Our car seat covers are super easy to remove and re-fit. So for hard-to-clean dirt, just remove the covers. Using your regular garden hose, set the nozzle to spray or jet and blast that dirt away! When you’re done, simply hang the covers to drip dry on your Hills Hoist, preferably out of direct sunlight.
TIP: After a hose down, neoprene soaked in water becomes heavy. In the same way a wetsuit should be hung from the waist to dry, distribute the weight of the seat cover as evenly as possible on the clothes line. Hanging the covers from its edge using clothes pegs will cause the covers to deform and stretch.
As a last resort, machine wash the neoprene seat covers by following our Care Instructions. However, we do not recommend machine washing neoprene seat covers on a regular basis as it will shorten its lifespan.
Regular Cleaning & Maintenance
The best way to preserve your neoprene seat covers is to regularly clean them. Although they are quite hard-wearing and durable, removing dirt and marks before they really stain the seat covers will aesthetically keep your neoprene seat covers looking fresh.
As a preventative measure, you can apply a fabric protector on the seat covers such as Scotchgard to repel stains. It will not only make cleaning easier down the road, but keep your covers looking like new.
Our neoprene fabric has been battle-tested for over 10 years in Australia. With proper care, there is no reason why your seat covers should not last 2, 3, 5 years and beyond… assuming you haven’t upgraded your car by then 😉
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