3 ways to clean a seat belt

3 ways to clean a seat belt
3 ways to clean a seat belt

Seat belts are devices that are integral to the safety of anyone sitting in a car. This accessory that you use also gets the sweat from your skin, presents food stains as well as coffee spills. Unfortunately, it's very easy to forget the seat belt while cleaning and washing the car, causing odors, stains, and even mold growth to become commonplace. To clean your vehicle's seat belt, you must hold it fully extended, apply a light coat of cleaner, and then allow it to air dry.


Method 1 of 3: Do a general cleaning

Step 1. Pull the seat belt

You should pull the belt vigorously until it is stiff and static. Once done, the set will be unrolled and easy to touch.

Step 2. Place a tightening device near the belt retractor

Follow the belt strap upwards and identify the retractor. This is where a good part of the belt is housed when it is not in use. Attach a metal strap to the belt right next to the retractor. Thus, it will not be able to fold up again in the reel.

You can buy the metal flanges at hardware stores

Step 3. Spray the seat belt cleaner

A fabric cleaner or all-purpose cleaner can be safely used to remove stains from the seat belt. These products are available in bottles and you can buy them at a general store. All-purpose cleaners are designed for delicate fabrics and should not contain bleach. You will need to spray along the waistband to create a light, even coating. Do not forget to treat the undersurface of the belt as well.

  • As a cleanser, you can use a solution that contains equal proportions of water and a mild, pH-neutral detergent (such as Dawn dish soap) or baby cleanser.
  • Vinegar or vinegar-based cleaners are effective in removing odors. However, it should be noted that vinegar is acidic and using it in large quantities can deteriorate the condition of your vehicle's seat belt over time. It is advisable to use cleansers for delicate fabrics as well as baby wipes instead.

Step 4. Rub the belt

Take a stiff-bristled scrub brush and apply it to the belt from the top end down. Avoid making circular movements or raising the belt. Proceed with great delicacy so as not to damage the threads of the belt.

Be aware that you can apply a second coat of cleaner to seat belts that are heavily stained

Step 5. Wipe down the seat belt with a microfiber towel

Wrap the towel around the waistband and slide the towel down along the length of the waistband. This action will remove excess moisture. Use only microfiber towels, as these are softer on the seat belt threads.

Clean a Seat Belt Step 6

Step 6. Let the belt dry

After treatment, you should leave the belt alone for at least one night. If after this time you notice that it is not completely dry, leave it for even longer. It is important that you can make sure the belt is dry before loosening it and allowing it to retract so that mold cannot grow on it.

Method 2 of 3: Treat stubborn stains

Step 1. Prepare a mixture of water and lye

Fill a small cup with lukewarm water. Add to that three cups of an all-purpose cleaner or mild dish soap. Avoid using a cleaner that incorporates vinegar or bleach, because the acid in either product can damage the seat belt. Be aware that most soils can be treated by hand with laundry detergent or with a fabric cleaner, regardless of the origin. As for the cleaners, you don't have many options, because they have too aggressive an effect on the seat belt.

Clean a Seat Belt Step 8

Step 2. Dip a stiff bristle brush into the solution

Dip the bristles of the brush into the bowl that contains the cleaning solution you have prepared. Reduce the amount of moisture on the bristles as much as possible so as not to wet your car seat belt.

Step 3. Rub the stain

Use the brush to rub the stain from top to bottom. You must be careful not to brush in a circular motion or to raise the seat belt. Gently scrub the stain, adding small amounts of cleaner as needed to apply a light, even coat.

Clean a Seat Belt Step 10

Step 4. Use a steamer

If you are dealing with a very stubborn stain on your car seat belt, you (or a specialist in this kind of treatment) can use a hot water extractor or a steam machine. Once you have added a coat of fabric cleaner or upholstery shampoo, rest the machine on the belt with a low level of humidity.

Method 3 of 3: Remove odors and mold

Clean a Seat Belt Step 11

Step 1. Pull the seat belt

Once again, you should carefully pull the seat belt forward until it is fully unwound. This will allow you to identify mold spores and touch the entire belt to remove odors.

Step 2. Place a tightening device near the belt retractor

Identify the retractor where the belt rolls up when not in use. Place the metal strap on the belt next to the retractor. If you do, you will find that the belt will no longer be able to retract.

Clean a Seat Belt Step 13

Step 3. Mix the cleanser in a bowl

Pour about a tablespoon (i.e. 15 ml) of non-bleaching dish soap into a cup (240 ml) of lukewarm water. Add to this 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of vinegar. Stir the mixture until it is soapy.

Step 4. Rub the belt

Take a brush with soft bristles that you will delicately dip into the solution you prepared earlier. Pass the brush over the belt from the top. Avoid brushing in a circular motion or turning upside down. Do this so that a small, even coat is applied that will not damage the belt threads.

Step 5. Sponge the seat belt with a microfiber towel

Use a dry microfiber towel to avoid adding moisture, which could damage the condition of your vehicle's seat belt threads. Press the belt against the towel and use up and down motions to remove excess moisture.

For recurring mold problems, you will need to spray a mold preventer like Mold Armor or Concrobium Mold Control while the belt is still wet. Make the effort to choose a product that does not contain bleach. You'll find out by taking a look at the ingredient list

Clean a Seat Belt Step 16

Step 6. Air dry the seat belt

Leave your vehicle's seat belt on overnight or until it is dry. In fact, it is important that it is completely dry before you remove the clamping device, otherwise the wet belt will be a suitable space for the growth of mold and bad odors will emerge from the inside of the retractor..


  • Avoid using bleach. You may not know it, but bleach will weaken your car seat belt, nor will it stop the removed mold from growing again.
  • Regular air fresheners won't help remove seat belt odors, but odor eliminators can do the trick without a thorough cleaning.

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