How to Protect Cloth Seats in a Car

It only takes one accident to leave a stain on your cloth interior. Even when you don't allow food and drinks in the car, a wet, dirty hand or jacket can leave a stain behind. Vinyl seats are easier to clean but cloth offers a more comfortable alternative in hot or cold weather. Throwing a bath towel or blanket across the seat is an easy solution for protecting car seats but not a reliable or fashionable one. Seat covers and fabric protecting sprays are the best alternative for keeping cloth car seats in their original state.

STEP 1 - Buy seat covers. Seat covers run the gamut from one-size-fits-all styles to custom-fit covers, and come in any fabric imaginable. Waterproof seat covers are also available, and are a great choice for people who enjoy outdoor activities like swimming or surfing. Look for seat covers with a protective backing to keep liquids from seeping through to the seats.

STEP 2 - Spray a fabric protector on the cloth seats. Fabric protecting products create a barrier that liquids cannot penetrate. Stains cannot embed in the cloth when a fabric protecting product is used properly. Read the product label and follow the manufacturer's instructions for best results.

STEP 3 - Buy an upholstery treatment when you buy the car. Many dealers offer this as an option at purchase time. Make sure there is a warranty for the service and an allowance included in the purchase price for additional applications.

TIPS: The protective spray applied by the dealership will not provide any more protection than applying a fabric protecting product yourself. In fact, the dealer's application is usually quite expensive in comparison to applying one at home, which can run $6 to $10 a can.

One can of fabric protector will usually be enough to protect all the seats in the car. Store the product in a cool, dry place so the remaining contents are in good shape for re-application at a later time.

Read the label to learn the life span of the protective spray product once it is applied. Re-application at certain intervals may be necessary.

THINGS YOU'LL NEED: Seat covers, Fabric protecting product

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