Mold On Infant Car Seats: How To Remove In Three Steps

A car seat for your infant is an essential piece of safety equipment, however, if the seat becomes covered in mold, it can become dangerous in itself. So, what can you do about this? Why has your infant’s car seat become moldy in the first place, and how can you prevent it from happening again?

In this article, we answer all these questions and more, so keep reading to learn everything you need to know about removing mold from an infant’s car seat.

Moldy infant car seat how to clean

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Why is your infant’s car seat moldy?

Children aren’t known for being the tidiest of eaters and spilling drinks all over themselves and whatever they are sitting in is almost a guarantee every time you pass them their bottle. Because of this, it’s really no surprise that their car seat has begun to grow mold.

Mold only needs a few things in order to create a colony, moisture, a source of nutrients, and an ambient temperature between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you were to allow the liquid from your child’s spillage to stay on the car seat for more than 24 hours without drying it, there is a very good chance you could begin to see mold growing, as moisture left over from the spillage mixing with leftover food combined with a parked car in either a garage or in the sunlight provides a near perfect environment for mold to thrive.

Is the mold on an infant seat dangerous?

Unfortunately, yes, the mold you have found growing on your infant’s car seat can indeed be dangerous.

Some of the most toxic forms of mold such as penicillium and aspergillus can certainly be seen growing on the fabric found within a car, and a child’s car seat is no exception.

These types of molds produce metabolites when they feel threatened called mycotoxins that can cause a number of health complaints, even in healthy individuals if inhaled or ingested over the long term and especially in younger children.

Symptoms of mycotoxin exposure include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Fatigue (in rare cases)
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing

This is just a small list of the numerous conditions caused by mycotoxin exposure, and certain individuals who are particularly sensitive to them can suffer potentially life-threatening conditions such as liver damage and cancer.

There is no easy way to tell whether the strain of mold you are dealing with is toxic without testing. Even black molds can be either perfectly harmless or quite toxic, this is why it is important to remove any mold as soon as it is found and to do so whilst wearing the correct safety equipment.

How to get mold out of infant car seats

Removing mold from an infant’s car seat is fortunately a simple process. However, as we have discussed already, knowing what type of mold you are dealing with is difficult without testing, therefore, before attempting to remove the old yourself, it is recommended that you wear the appropriate safety equipment, namely, a breathing mask, eye protection, and rubber gloves.

In order to effectively kill and remove mold from an infant’s car seat, use the following steps:

Step 1. Vacuum the seat

Using a vacuum, gently remove as much of the visible mold as possible. Do not vigorously vacuum the seat or you may disturb the mold and spread its spores further through the vehicle.

Seat 2. Clean the area with detergent and warm water

Create a solution of warm water and detergent, then scrub the area clean using an abrasive sponge. Work the sponge into the fabric to remove any mold that has grown deep within the padding of the seat.

Step 3. Dry the area thoroughly

Any moisture that remains on the seat could act as a source of moisture for mold in the future. Ensure that the cleaned area is dried as quickly as possible before storing it or returning it to the vehicle.

How to remove stubborn mold and stains from an infant’s car seat

In some circumstances, (for example when mold is well established), the above method may not remove the mold entirely.

To remove more stubborn mold and its stains use the following steps:

Step 1. Use a white vinegar solution

White (distilled) vinegar, is excellent for cleaning porous surfaces and killing mold due to its acidity levels.

Make a solution of one part vinegar to two parts water and pour it into a spray bottle.

Step 2. Spray the affected area

Liberally spray the affected area and leave for at least ten minutes for the vinegar solution to kill the mold.

Step 3. Clean with warm water and detergent

Using warm water and detergent, clean the area with an abrasive sponge to remove any mold residue and to reduce any odor leftover from the vinegar.

Step 4. Dry the area

Again, ensure the area is completely dry before storing it to prevent additional mold growth from occurring.

If the seat is very moist, use a dry cloth and dab the area to dry it, or leave it in the sun to air dry if possible.

Avoid using vinegar on the safety straps

Using vinegar to clean the padded areas of your infant’s seat will rarely cause any issues. However, you should not clean the straps of the car seat using vinegar as its acidity level has the potential to weaken the straps, making them potentially less effective.

Seeing as an infant’s car seat is an important price of safety equipment, care should be taken to maintain the integrity of the straps to ensure it continues to function as it was intended, therefore vinegar and other harsh chemicals should be avoided.

If there is significant mold growth found on the safety straps of the car seat, use a solution of one tablespoon of baking soda to one cup of water and spray this solution instead. Baking soda creates an alkaline environment that will kill mold but not damage the fabric of the straps.

Spray onto the affected area and leave to dry, then vacuum any powder residue.

How to prevent mild growth in an infant car seat

One of the most simple and effective methods to prevent mold growth on an infant’s car seat is to ensure that it is kept as dry and clean as possible at all times.

Cleaning up any spills of food or drink as soon as they are created will not give mold the time it needs to begin growing.

Keeping the car seat in direct sunlight is another cheap and easy prevention method as the sun’s UV rays will kill mold and its spores.

If your vehicle is prone to high levels of humidity due to lots of wet weather gear being stored in it, (for example), you can leave open boxes of baking soda or activated charcoal in it to absorb both moisture and odors.


Mold growth on an infant’s car seat can be a serious issue, as the mycotoxins some molds can produce have the ability to cause a number of medical conditions, some of which can be serious. Fortunately, removing mold and preventing it can be a very simple and effective process that is often cheap and quick to complete.

Chris Walker

Chris Walker has struggled for several years with mold after buying his own property. After finding the solutions to several issues around his home, he decided to create this site in order to answer as many questions about mold and mildew as possible to help others dealing with the same problems.

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