Neoprene seat covers are a popular choice for many drivers thanks to their durability, water resistance, and ease of maintenance.
However, like any vehicle accessory, neoprene seat covers require proper care and cleaning to keep them looking their best.
Here is a guide on how to effectively clean neoprene seat covers and keep them clean long-term.
Before cleaning your neoprene seat covers, gather the following supplies:
- Mild soap or neoprene cleaner
- Spray bottle filled with water
- Lint-free cloths
- Soft-bristle scrub brush
Mild soap like dish soap or laundry detergent works well for most cleaning needs. Avoid harsh detergents.
Neoprene cleaners specifically designed for wetsuits and neoprene fabrics allow deeper cleaning while maintaining the integrity of the material.
Follow these steps to clean neoprene seat covers:
- Remove covers from seats. Take the neoprene covers off your vehicle’s seats so you can clean the covers thoroughly.
- Rinse with water. Use a spray bottle filled with cool water to rinse away any loose dirt or debris.
- Create a cleaning solution. In a spray bottle, mix together water and a small amount of mild soap or neoprene cleaner according to label directions.
- Spray cleaning solution. Liberally spray the cleaning solution directly onto the seat covers. Make sure to saturate any visibly dirty areas.
- Let soak. Allow the cleaning solution to soak into the neoprene fabric for 2-3 minutes. This gives the soap time to break down dirt and stains.
- Scrub with soft brush. Use a soft-bristle scrub brush to gently scrub the entire surface of the seat covers. Apply light pressure and work the cleaning solution into stained or dirty areas.
- Rinse. Thoroughly rinse away all soap residue using your spray bottle of water. Rinsing prevents soap from being left behind and deteriorating the neoprene over time.
- Blot dry. Use lint-free cloths to blot moisture from the seat covers. Avoid rubbing or twisting, which can damage the material.
- Air dry. Allow the neoprene covers to finish air drying completely before reinstalling in your vehicle.
Deep Cleaning for Stubborn Stains
For tough stains like oil, grease, or mildew, a deeper cleaning is required:
- Pre-treat stains. Spray stains directly with cleaning solution. Let sit 5-10 minutes.
- Scrub with brush. Use a soft-bristle scrub brush to work cleaning solution into the stain.
- Rinse and repeat. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. Repeat steps if stain persists. Harsh scrubbing can damage neoprene.
- Use diluted bleach. As a last resort for mildew stains, spray with a 10:1 water to bleach solution. Rinse thoroughly.
Avoid using full-strength bleach, which can degrade and discolor neoprene fabric over time.
Cleaning the Seat Belt Slots
Follow these steps to clean grime buildup in the seat belt slots:
- Rinse. Spray water into the slots to rinse away debris.
- Scrub. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the slots.
- Rinse. Spray water into the slots again to rinse.
- Blot dry. Stuff a towel into the slots to absorb moisture.
This helps remove gritty buildup that can abrade seat belts over time.
Caring for Neoprene After Cleaning
Once you’ve cleaned your neoprene seat covers, follow these tips to keep them in great condition:
- Store out of direct sunlight when not in use. UV rays degrade neoprene over time.
- Avoid exposing neoprene to high heat. High temps can cause drying and cracking.
- Reapply neoprene protectant spray after cleaning. This enhances water resistance.
- Spot clean after spills. Don’t let stains set in.
- Deep clean every 1-2 months for longevity.
Proper care keeps neoprene supple and maintains its durability. With regular cleaning, your covers can last for years.
Check out our guide on Car Seat Covers 101: A Complete Guide
Neoprene Seat Cover Cleaning FAQs
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about cleaning neoprene seat covers:
Can I machine wash neoprene seat covers?
No, you should only hand wash neoprene covers. Machine washing can damage the material.
What temperature water should I use?
Use only cool water when cleaning neoprene. Hot water can cause drying and damage.
Can I use upholstery cleaner?
Yes, an upholstery cleaner designed for neoprene fabrics can be used. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners.
How do I clean tough odors?
Deodorize neoprene covers by spraying with a diluted vinegar solution. Rinse thoroughly.
What is the best way to dry neoprene?
Always air dry neoprene fabric. Avoid putting it in the dryer, which can cause damage.
How often should I clean my covers?
For best results, deep clean neoprene seat covers every 1-2 months. More frequent light cleanings are better than less frequent deep cleanings.
Key Takeaways for Cleaning Neoprene
- Use only a mild soap and cool water when cleaning neoprene. Harsh chemicals can degrade the fabric.
- Thoroughly rinse away all soap after cleaning. Residual soap decreases the life of neoprene.
- Allow neoprene to completely air dry before reinstalling seat covers in your vehicle.
- Clean spills quickly to prevent stains from setting in.
- Deep clean neoprene every 1-2 months for optimal durability and appearance.
- Store out of sunlight and avoid high heat when not in use.
With proper regular cleaning and care, neoprene seat covers can remain supple and stain-free for years. Following these best practices will keep your covers looking new while protecting the investment in your vehicle’s interior.