How to safely clean your child’s car seat

Experts advise against using bleach, harsh disinfectants to protect components

SAN ANTONIO – Bleach-based and other strong disinfectants may be recommended for cleaning high-touch surfaces to combat the new coronavirus, but when it comes to your child’s car seat, experts say hold the spray bottle. Harsh chemicals may be a bad idea.

“When it comes to car seats, each component must withstand high forces and repeated use in order to keep kids safe during a crash,” said Emily Thomas, auto safety engineer with Consumer Reports. “You don’t want to use any cleaners or disinfectants that could compromise any of the seat’s components in any way.”

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What should you use? Check your car seat owner’s manual for washing and drying instructions for each component. If you no longer have it, check for an online version on the company’s website.

While many manufacturers say it’s okay to machine wash and dry the fabric car seat cover, check the manual because you don’t want to cause any flame retardant to deteriorate.

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The harness should never be put in the washing machine. Instead, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and clean by hand. Most specify soap and water for the harness and plastic components as well. And, be sure no slippery soap residue or oils are left on the buckle.

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