Seat Covers – Installing and Cleaning


Sometimes you just need a seat cover until you are ready for those leather seat interiors from Rich’s Custom Upholstery.

So it’s time to get down to your installing your seat covers. First, we hope you ordered your cloth seat covers from Rich’s Custom Upholstery, in Seattle the other day and that they just landed on your front doorstep. “Looks like a pretty easy install”, you say to yourself as you look at the packaging and instructions that shipped with them.

You ordered them because you got tired of passengers riding in your car who did not pay attention to the good shape your original seats were in. They were totally ok with smearing food or mud on them during the ride or getting in and out of the car. So you’re looking forward to the new look of the interior as well as protecting the seats from any additional or future damage.

As discovered by reading the seat cover install instructions, seat covers can be fairly simple and quick with very little to go wrong.

But before you start installing them take a moment just to check and make sure you have all the the pieces for a complete installation. Another important item to check off on your list is making sure that all the pieces are truly for your particular vehicle.

You can do this by doing what is called a “dry run”. First take all the pieces out of their packaging and holding them up to the area they are supposed to cover – for example the headrests. Some companies deliver more than one size cover in the package if that’s how their particular covers are sold, in order to accommodate slight variations within a particular make and model of vehicle. So make sure the sizes are correct and that they appear to be able to fit snugly. Nothing like having a piece of badly fitting cloth flapping around your head while you are driving!

Next, you will want to make sure that all of the cut-outs are in the right place for your seat adjuster buttons, shoulder straps, harnesses, hook and loop attachments, etc.

Follow the instructions sent in the packaging with your seat covers. they should give you step by step detailed and illustrated seat cover installation instructions. If they appear to be incomplete (amazing how often that happens!) or confusing, you can always Google the model number followed with, or preceded with “how to install…(model) seat cover”. Usually YouTube will have something worth watching, even if it is not the exact model # or seat cover product you are looking for.

If some of the information in the seat cover installation instructions does not apply to your particular seat cover model (such as not having arm rests), just skip over that step and proceed with your install as much as it applies to your seat style.

Cleaning your seat covers after you’ve had them for a while

Luckily, it is fairly simple and easy to clean standard cloth and non-leather seat covers. Quite often the instructions will tell you that you can simply place your seat covers in a conventional (home) washing machine. Watch for instructions that tell you whether you should wash them in cold (usually the case) or hot water. Also watch out for what kind of low-sudsing detergent you should use. For long and lasting life of the fabric, you will usually want to use cold water and use the gentle cycle. Do NOT use bleach or fabric softener, both of which can break down the quality of the seams and material of the seat cover itself.

Go HERE if you have stains that need removing from your carpets.

After washing your seat covers as prescribed, you’ll want to put them into a traditional (home) tumble dryer, using the low heat/air setting. They can also be hung outside on a clothes line to dry if you prefer, and have the space. If you line dry your covers, often they may be slightly wrinkled. If that turns to to be the case, we strongly suggest that you DO NOT iron the seat covers, but simply reapply them to your seats and the wrinkles will smooth out on their own.

If you already have Leather Seat Covers that need cleaning, refer TO THESE STEPS.

Rich’s Custom Upholstery is here to help!

If you have any additional questions about installing or cleaning new car seat covers, or are considering finally getting those classy and long-lasting leather seat covers that Rick’s Customs Upholstery is famous for, feel free to contact our office at (206) 392-0030. We will be happy to answer all your questions.