Summer is over. Likely your car needs a wash. What about baby’s stroller and car seat? Between spit-up and diaper leaks, here are some useful care and cleanup tips.
With all of that action, you should clean up baby's car seat regularly using a disinfecting wipe or a paper towel sprayed with white vinegar to keep bacteria from growing. Thoroughly clean it a couple of times a year.
If you inherit a car seat from someone else, plan to give it a thorough cleaning before using. Car seats aren’t designed to be delicate and can handle a good washing. In fact, so can strollers. Here is how to go about it:
How to care for baby's car seat
If you don’t already have one, invest in a seat cover for your infant's car seat. These come in various fabrics to help keep your little one cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The best part is they keep the car seat clean!
- Look for models that can come off without removing the harness. Then just toss it in the washing machine whenever it needs it. (You still have to wash the car seat occasionally, but this will buy you time between washes.)
Refer to baby's car seat instruction manual for care and instructions on how take off any removable pieces. To wash, you'll need to:
- Remove baby toys and fabric parts.
- Wash the parts separately.
- Vacuum fabric with an upholstery attachment, paying special attention to creases and crevices where crumbs hide.
You should be able to toss the fabric cushion and inserts in the washer—just check the manufacturer’s tag for care instructions.
- Wash in cold water on a delicate setting using a mild detergent.
- Skip the dryer—you don’t want to accidentally shrink any parts!
- Squeeze out any excess moisture and hang or lay flat to dry.
Wash the solid seat unit with liquid dish detergent and water.
- Avoid soaking the harness straps—use a damp sponge to clean these instead.
- Allow car seat and fabric elements to fully dry before reassembling.
Your local fire station can help you make sure your car seat is installed properly if you're unsure.
Don't forget baby's stroller, too
- Remove baby toys, tray, fabric pieces, canopy and baskets.
- Wash each separately.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions for washing a removable fabric seat.
- Spot clean the remaining soft parts of the stroller, scrubbing away stains with a soft cloth and mild detergent.
- Rinse cloth and wipe away any soapy residue.
Next, use a dry cloth and all-purpose disinfecting spray or white vinegar to clean the stroller’s frame and wheels.
- If the wheels are sticky or squeaky, tune them up with a lubricating silicone spray. While you’re at it, check air tires for proper pressure.
Allow stroller and its parts to dry completely before reassembling.
- To avoid mold and mildew, always store your stroller in a cool, dry place when not in use.
By keeping your baby’s car seat and stroller clean and in good shape with a regular wash, you might be able to pass them along to another lucky child. Just be aware that both strollers and car seats have "expiry" dates—also referred to as length of useful life—after which they could potentially be unsafe and possibly illegal to use.
- The date of manufacture determines the length of useful life, which is usually indicated somewhere on the seat.