View Full Version : Cleaning seat upholstery fabric

08-07-2013, 01:34 PM
I found some filthy, but relatively intact FJ60 seats to swap into my FJ62. I plan to remove the OEM seat fabric/vinyl covers (and internal wires) to clean them.

On Mud, there are many ideas for how to clean seats, and the suggestions were:

Don't put it in the washing machine - too hard on the stitching
Use stain stick and then soak in a tub with laundry detergent and hand scrub
Use a power washer (can't see how this would work?)

It seems a like a short, gentle machine cycle (checked frequently) would not destroy the covers. Any other suggestions or first-hand experience? I can't believe that laundry detergent will get these clean....they don't have axle grease on them, but are crusty with major sweat and dirt and 25+ years.


08-07-2013, 01:44 PM
I have used a scrub brush with warm soapy water on them, then a shop vac to pull the soap and water (and dirt) back out. I did it on a warm day and let them dry overnight. Worked pretty well and didn't even remove them from the seat frames.

08-07-2013, 02:42 PM
Woolite is a pretty good, mild detergent for seat cleaning. I've used it with good results on both leather and fabric. Dilute ~ 5:1 for mild cleaning and 10:1 for heavy duty cleaning. For leather it is easy to wipe it clean with a towel, but for cloth I'd do the same as what Martin suggests - a heavy duty shop vac to suck as much water out as possible and then let it sit outside in the sun to finish it off.

08-07-2013, 04:04 PM
Great responses!

The shop vac idea is great - I have used that in past for greasy clothing (spraying brake cleaner on one side of the shirt with the shop vac sucking on the other), but didn't think of it for this. Woolite is another good idea - might be less harsh than Tide. These seats have been rained on a bit, so I suspect one more dousing with water won't really hurt them. I can always remove the upholstery if this isn't enough.

08-07-2013, 06:35 PM
Personally I would not pull the covers either but it would be easier on the foam if you did.

A good shop vac is your friend. If you have a Bissell that works too but my shop vac sucks better:D I'd try Woolite carpet cleaner myself rather than the standard laundry detergent.

08-28-2013, 12:12 AM
The best cleaner I have found in a can is called Tuff Stuff (yellow and red can). The sell it at most parts stores. It works great at lifting harsh stains out of carpet and upholstery

08-28-2013, 12:13 PM
I failed to update this thread - I used Woolite fabric cleaner and a stiff brush on an FJ60 back seat and pass. seat. I misted the seats (cover installed) in the yard with water, scrubbed with the brush dipped in a Woolite/water mix, and then shop-vac'd the seats. I did this a few times and rinsed the seat fabric with water and shop-vac'd some more. These seats had dirt and crusty (literally) sweat on them.

The seats look infinitely better, if not new. The shop vac did get out a lot of water and in 24 hrs. the seats were dry. I'll try to post a pix. Grease stains did not come out. The best part about Woolite is that it leaves behind a faint 'clean' odor, and the seats don't stink like Tide.