seat belt

Our Guide to Cleaning Car Seat Belts

Seat belts are a crucial safety feature that everyone should wear when in a vehicle. Designed to be simple, convenient, and comfortable, simply dragging the belt across your torso and locking it into place can save your life. Despite the ingenuity of these devices, they still require regular cleaning, just like every other part of your vehicle!

Seat belts can get dirty due to sweat, food stains, beverage spills, and other factors. However, not many people know how to clean seat belts thoroughly. Here’s what you need to know about making your seat belts sparkling clean:

The Items You Need

To get started, you’ll need a few items:

  • Scrub pad
  • Hand clamp
  • Terry towel
  • Small, soft brush
  • Dish soap
  • Plastic cup
  • Stiff bristled brush
  • Fabric cleaner
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • White vinegar

Gather these materials and put them in one place to make them easy to reach when you’re cleaning. 

The Steps to Clean Your Car Seat Belt

You’ll be pleased to find that cleaning seat belts isn’t as tricky as you may think it is, especially when you have the materials needed to make them look brand new again. 

Step 1: Pull the Seat Belt

The first thing you should do is pull the seat belt gently until it comes entirely out of the retractor. Doing this will allow you to spot mold and other sources of foul odors. Ensure that you pull the seat belt until it can’t go any further, allowing you to wash it thoroughly. Use a metal clamp to stop the belt from retracting as you’re cleaning it.

Step 2: Use the Cleaning Liquid to Wash Your Seat Belt

Use the cleaner to remove dirt and stains from your seat belt and spritz fabric cleaner on the fibers. All-purpose cleaners are handy for lifting stains, which is helpful for food or drink that accidentally splattered onto your seat belts.

If you have stubborn stains that refuse to go away, fill a cup with warm water and add three spoons of all-purpose cleaner. It’s important not to add too much cleaner to avoid discoloring your seat belt. You can also try a mixture of a tablespoon of dish soap, a cup of warm water, and 30 ml of vinegar. Gently mix until it combines well, then apply it to the stain. 

If you have a steam machine at home, spray fabric cleaner on the seat belt, then use pressurized steam to blow dirt and dust away from the fabric while killing the germs. It’s also great for minimizing the moisture used and reducing the time needed to dry the seat belt.

Step 3: Scrub the Seat Belt

After applying the cleaning solution, use a stiff bristle brush to scrub the seat belt. Start from top to bottom to avoid damaging the threads and fibers of the straps. Scrub in up-and-down, back-and-forth motions instead of circular ones. Once you’ve finished scrubbing, use a microfiber towel to remove as much moisture from the belt as possible. 

Step 4: Allow the Seat Belt to Air Dry

Finally, use a cloth towel to dry the seat belt by squeezing the strap between your hands and running the towel up and down the fibers. It is crucial to allow the belts to dry completely before pulling on the belt and retracting it. Otherwise, mold will grow inside. 

Allow your seat belt to dry overnight. With enough time to dry, you’ll prevent bacteria and mold from growing in damp places within the spool, which may require you to take it to an auto seat belt repair shop to disassemble and treat.


Cleaning your seat belts is a critical step in maintaining your car. By following our guide, you’ll enjoy fresh-smelling, squeaky clean seat belts that will continue keeping you safe and comfortable whenever you’re in your vehicle.

Safety Restore is a seat belt repair service that can bring your seat belt back to its perfect glory. We are the world leader in post-accident restorations specializing in seat belt repairs and air bag modules. We also provide webbing replacements and instrument cluster repairs. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for your vehicle!

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