We bought a new car recently (new to us, anyway), and for a moment–the blink of an eye, no more–the interior was beautifully clean. After a couple of days of the school carpool and other errands, there was enough dirt tracked in to give my shiny new ride that lived-in look. But the polished dashboard and unstained upholstery also made me notice that the kids’ carseats and boosters were awfully dirty. Icky is really the only word for it.
Once school got out and I didn’t need to shuttle around the neighborhood kids, I began cleaning one seat at a time. The boosters are easy: remove the cover, spray heavily with your stain remover of choice, wash on cold and hang to dry. I also wiped off the plastic frame and all the stickiness lodged in the convenient pop-out cupholders. Repeat on all other boosters.
Little Four has graduated from his toddler carseat to a high-backed booster seat, and I promised to hand down his seat to a cousin’s toddler. I couldn’t in good conscience pass on the seat without cleaning it first. It has a black cover that is extraordinary at hiding stains (there’s a tip for new parents: skip all those pretty light-colored prints). I had not washed it once in the four years Little Four has used it, and I’m pretty sure he’s not extraordinarily neat and tidy.
I’ve removed and washed many a carseat cover, but this one was on the tricky side. You’ve got to detach the straps and wriggle all the buckles and clips through slits in the cover that are just a little too narrow. Then I worked on the frame, which had collected all sorts of debris. The crevice tool on the vacuum worked well for this job, sucking up all the crumbs from every nook and cranny. Another wipe down with a damp cloth (and some Mrs. Meyer’s All Purpose Cleaner), and it was time to reassemble. Truthfully, it took me longer than it should have, because I kept forgetting to slide all the attachments onto the shoulder straps in the correct order. But the seat looks (and functions) like new, and I’m happy that this expensive piece of baby equipment will get some more use.