How To Clean Car Seat Belts

How To Clean Car Seat Belts

When car owners clean their cars, they usually focus on the outside of their vehicle, or pay some attention to the upholstery. But what about the seat belts? 

Seat belts in a car are constantly grabbed with hands that are full of sweat, oils, and grime. 

How To Clean Car Seat Belts

All of this can start to build upon a car, leading to a dirty seat belt, and in the worst case, even mold. 

If seat belts aren’t clean, they can give off a poor appearance and can start to smell bad. Keeping your seat belts clean is important to keep you and any passengers happy while traveling in your vehicle.

Cleaning a seatbelt can be difficult, especially if you haven’t cleaned one before. It can be hard to clean all of the dirt from the crevices on the belt, which is why replacing your seatbelt is much easier. 

If you’d prefer to try cleaning your seatbelt yourself, our guide below can help! Cleaning your entire seat belt can be tricky, but by following the guide below, you’ll find that it will be cleaner than before. 

How To Clean Your Seat Belts

Seatbelts are lightweight, but they’re made from a strong polyester weave. If this material is submerged in water, the seatbelt can take twelve hours to fully dry. 

As is the case with your car upholstery, you shouldn’t deep clean your seatbelts regularly, as the material can start to break down, and you won’t be able to drive with a soaking seat belt. 

This is why it’s better to lightly clean your seat belt instead of soaking it in cleaning products. You’ll be removing any dirt and stains with a soft brush, warm water, and dish soap. It may not clean all of it but it’ll be somewhat cleaner. But you’re better off just replacing it. 

Replacing your seatbelt also gives you the chance to change the color of your seat belt. Safety Restore’s colored seatbelt webbing replacement service lets you do just that! There are many different shades to choose from, ranging from a sporty red to a vivid teal. 

Whether you want to match your car’s interior, or go for something a bit bolder, Safety Restore’s custom seat belts are perfect for everyone, no matter what your taste is. 

Nevertheless, if you’ve decided you want to try cleaning your seat belts, here’s what you’ll need to start:

  • A clip
  • A soft brush 
  • Dish soap or another cleaning agent (rubbing alcohol, degreaser, etc.)
  • Two microfiber cloths, one dry, one damp. 

Clip The Belt In Place

To begin, delicately move the belt towards you until it’s fully extended. The whole belt should be in view, making it easier to spot any stains or mold. After the belt is out completely, use the clip to secure it in place.

This will stop the belt from rebounding back to its original position, making it easier to clean. 

Clean The Belt

Once the belt is secure, you can start spot cleaning the material. Mix a little dish soap and warm water, then use a soft brush to apply the mixture to the belt. Don’t use too much dish soap, as this can make the belt’s fabric break down.

Gently use the brush to remove any stains, but don’t scrub too hard. 

Only use small amounts of the cleaning solution, as over-saturating the belt will take longer for the belt to dry, and might leave a bad smell if it doesn’t fully dry. If the seatbelt is even a little wet when it retracts back, mildew might start forming on the surface. 

Wipe Down 

Once you’ve cleaned the belt, use your damp microfiber cloth to wipe any cleaning solution off of the fabric. The cloth shouldn’t be soaking wet, just slightly damp. 

If any stained areas remain, use the damp cloth and apply more pressure, or go back in with your soft brush to remove the mark. 

When you have wiped down the whole belt, use your dry microfiber cloth to wipe it once more. This will remove any remaining moisture so it’s easier for the belt to dry. 

Don’t forget to clean and wipe the other side of the belt too! 


When you’ve finished wiping the belt, leave the belt to dry for 30 minutes. This will ensure that any remaining moisture is removed, as well as the smell of dish soap. Make sure that enough air is circulating around the area.

Examine the belt after half an hour. If you believe that it’s fully dry, remove the clip so it retracts back in place. 

You’re done! 

Can You Clean A Seat Belt With A Steamer?

Steam cleaning uses water and heat to thoroughly clean a surface. It’s often used for car and interior upholstery, but is this method safe for your seatbelts?

As mentioned before, we’d recommend replacing seat belts over cleaning them. Using a steamer incorrectly can ruin your belt beyond repair. 

How To Clean Car Seat Belts

If you want to use a steamer, here are a few guidelines that can help prevent you from damaging your belt. 

Only use a low heat setting. Seat belts are made from a sturdy weave, but it isn’t as robust as sofas or carpets. If you use a higher temperature, the steam can burn the material and break down the threads. 

You should also avoid steam cleaning too often. Any more than twice a year is too much. Even if you steam at a lower temperature, frequent steaming will affect the material’s properties. The belt will become weaker and less flexible as time goes on. 

Can You Clean Seat Belts With A Pressure Washer?

No, you should never use a pressure washer to clean your seat belts. A seat belt needs to stay sturdy and flexible to keep the passengers safe in a vehicle. 

Cleaning a seat belt with high pressure can damage the webbings in the material. The high-pressure water can stretch the fabric’s fibers, making it weaker. 

This can lead to the belt deteriorating and even breaking during a car accident. It’s always best to replace any particularly dirty seat belts, or lightly clean them with the method outlined above.

The Bottom Line

Seat belts are necessary to keep drivers and passengers safe, but dirt and grime can easily build upon them from regular use. 

Replacing your seat belt webbing is better than deep cleaning them, but if you’d like to lightly clean your seat belts, the method outlined above can help. 

Just make sure that the belt has dried fully before you put it back in place to avoid mildew building up on the surface. 

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy our article on ‘How Can I Get Extra Length In My Seat Belt?‘.

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Edward Cole
Edward Cole

Hi, my name is Edward Cole and I have been in the car customization industry for a decade now. I also specialize in repairs, so I have plenty of experience with looking after my vehicle and showing it off.

When your car is in pristine condition, with a fresh wrap around it, people notice. I cannot tell you how many compliments I have received through my car and its condition. People appreciate a customized car and it will give you a great deal of satisfaction to be driving the most envied vehicle on the road.

One thing that I have found to be incredibly popular in the car customizing industry - by both owner and admirer - is color seatbelt customization. Having anything other than the plain black seat belts like every other car will get you being the talk of the town in no time.

I have created my website in the hopes of inspiring some of you to customize your own vehicle and improve your self esteem. Taking care of your car is an extension of taking care of yourself. So, take a look around and see if you find anything you fancy - you could be steps away from a fresh new look.

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