Before Baby Stroller arrived, we bought a used Chicco Keyfit infant car seat. Car seat manufactures say that you should only buy a new seat, but we found a previous owner we trusted who had only used the seat for three months before moving her baby to a convertible seat. Like everything else we’ve bought used, I wanted to clean the seat thoroughly before using it for the first time.

It was obvious that I could scrub the base with Simple Green and spray it down with a garden hose. But I was most concerned with the fabric parts of the car seat. Who knew what kind of spit up or poo or whatever was on the seat. Yuck. Several girlfriends with the same seat had no idea that the entire cushion could be removed for cleaning, so I decided to take the seat covering apart piece by piece and document it along the way. Next time Baby Stroller, or one of Baby Stroller's hundreds of thousands of friends with the same seat has an accident in his car seat, we’ll all know how to get the seat squeaky clean again.

Newborn Inserts

The seat has two separate infant inserts in it -- one head support and one bum support/booster. The head support is attached with Velcro straps threaded through the harness strap holes. Remove it by un-velcroing it behind the seat.



Then to remove the booster, just push the shoulder straps out of the way and thread the center buckle through the hole near the crotch area of the booster.



Canopy

To remove the canopy, locate the little button at the base of the handle hidden under the canopy fabric.

Press the button and pull out the canopy boning. Remove the canopy and leave the boning attached to one side so you don’t lose it. Put the canopy in your wash pile.


Shoulder Straps

The shoulder straps thread through and attach to a metal bracket at the back base of the seat.

Wrangle the straps off of the metal bracket

Turn the seat back over so it’s facing forward again and pull the straps through. Remove the little shoulder pads from the straps and put them in your wash pile.

Main Seat Cushion

The main seat cushion is held on at the sides by an elastic piece and a plastic flange, and at the base by the plastic surrounding the button that controls the tightening strap.

First, locate the elastic, which will likely be under the elbow of the car seat handle. Unhook the elastic. Repeat on the other side.

Next to the car seat handle and attached to the car seat cushion you will find a hard, white, plastic flange that tucks into the car seat frame. Note how it’s tucked into the frame so you know how to re-tuck it when the cushion is clean and then un-tuck it from the frame. Repeat on the other side.

At this point you should be able to loosen and separate the seat cushion from the frame all around the edges. When you reach the bottom of the seat where the baby’s legs go, work the cushion around and out from under the plastic piece that surrounds the button that controls the tightening strap.

Thread the buckle near the crotch of the seat through the hole in the cushion.

Carefully work the chest clasps through the shoulder strap holes and remove the entire cushion from the seat frame. Place the cushion in your wash pile.

Wash the cushion, insert and shoulder pads on the gentle/hand wash cycle in the washing machine with a very mild soap; I used Ivory Snow. Hang to air dry (it was dry overnight for me).

Car Seat Base & Frame

There is a small compartment on the car seat base where many people store the car seat manual. Make sure you remove the manual before you wash the base!

Hose down the entire car seat frame and base and wash with a gentle cleaner, if needed. You do not want to get any of the straps soaking wet. I used a well-squeezed out, damp sponge on the straps to get them clean . . . a good technique for spit-up disasters. Allow to dry completely before reassembling.

Enjoy the new car *seat* smell in your car again.