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How Long Does It Take To Shampoo Your Car Seats?

Are you interested in deep cleaning your interior? If so, you might be wondering how long it takes to shampoo your car seats.

Girl waiting in the corner

It takes between two and a half and five hours to shampoo your car seats, depending on how long the seats take to dry. Drying time is affected by humidity and temperature, but there are still ways to make sure your seats dry completely, even in the winter.

This article will explain why it takes so long for shampooed seats to dry and why shampooing your seats is worth the hassle. It will also briefly explain why it’s important your seats dry fully and how to dry your seats using your car’s AC during winter. Read on to learn more.

Why Does It Take So Long To Shampoo Your Car Seats?

Shampooing car seats

The reason it takes so long to shampoo your car seats actually has nothing to do with the shampooing. Instead, most of the time spent goes into drying your seats properly so that they don’t grow mold and mildew.

While your seats are drying, they’re doing so via a process called evaporation. Evaporation is when water or other liquids transform from a liquid into a gas and transfer from the wet object into the air. But, what factors in your environment affect how quickly your seats will dry?


Humidity levels are a measurement of the amount of moisture already in the air.

Air can only hold so much moisture, and when too much of it accumulates, it turns into rain. So, if you wash your seats on a humid day or while it’s raining, your seats will dry slowly because there’s little room for more moisture in the air.


However, in addition to humidity, temperature affects how quickly water evaporates.

Sources of heat, such as sunlight, speed the process of evaporation because warming the water’s molecules causes them to spread out and move faster. This makes it easier for the water to evaporate.

So, all in all, it’s safe to say that shampooing your car on a sunny morning in July will cause them to dry faster than if you did so on a cloudy evening in January. Also, starting in the morning so your seats have adequate time to dry before nightfall is essential.

Why Is Shampooing Your Car Seats Worth the Hassle?

So now, you may be wondering why you should even bother with the hassle of shampooing your seats in the first place.

Hand shampooing car seats

Shampooing your car seats is worth the hassle because it’s a tougher form of cleaning that will remove stubborn stains that a cloth will leave behind. In addition, it helps break down odors trapped in your seats, keeping unpleasant smells to a minimum.

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Shampooing Removes Stubborn Stains

What we know as soap is actually a natural salt that breaks down the bonds that make up dirt and stains, allowing them to be washed away.

It’s hard to get the full effect of soap unless you use water, which in cars necessitates shampooing. It may seem like a hassle, but it’s a more effective way of cleaning than a cloth and a spritz of water because of the amount of water used.

Dried-on stains like food or even vomit will come out quickly. It’ll break down stains known for sticking, like juice or ketchup. Stubborn, caked-on dirt will soften until it can be wiped away. If you’re facing difficult stains, it’s simply the better option.

Shampooing Keeps Odors to a Minimum

Soap also breaks down the molecular bonds in odor-causing substances such as skin oils, sweat, and other unavoidable byproducts of living.

Even if you can’t see what coats your car seats, it affects how the air smells. Letting these byproducts build up might make your car smell musty, skunky, or otherwise unpleasant.

Shampooing your car seats is a hassle, but it will keep these smelly substances from coating your seats and stinking up your vehicle. It’ll also prevent any need for chemical air fresheners that can cause problems for people with asthma and other sensitivities.

Can You Shampoo Your Car in Winter, Too?

So, you may also be wondering if you can shampoo your car in winter, too.

Man shampooing car in winter

You can shampoo your car in winter. You’re not restricted to doing so on a sunny day in the summer. However, you’ll likely need to employ fans or your car’s AC to dry your vehicle’s seats fully so they don’t accumulate mold and mildew.

Have you ever walked into a bathroom and noticed it smelled musty? Wet and kind of grimy? These unpleasant smells come from mold and mildew, which grow in fabrics and porous materials in areas with high humidity.

Your car seats are a great place for mold and mildew to live. This is because they’re made of fabric and foam, both of which have many small pockets for them to grow and thrive in. So, you must make sure your seats dry completely.

And, when I say completely, I don’t mean merely dry to the touch. I mean that the foam cores of your seats should be dry, too.

But, how do you do this during winter, when the temperatures are low, sunlight is weaker, and you can’t leave your vehicle’s windows open without your seats freezing?

Use Your Car’s AC To Dry Your Seats During Winter

The secret to drying your seats after a winter shampooing is to use your car’s AC or air conditioning. Doing so not only increases air circulation to whisk away more moisture, but it introduces air from outside, which may contain less moisture.

All you need to do is open your car’s windows by about an inch, then turn your car’s AC on at max. This can take two to five hours, just like in summer, so make sure you have enough battery life or gas in your vehicle.


It takes between two and a half and five hours to shampoo your car seats. Most of this time is taken by the drying process. Humidity and temperature affect how long it takes.

First published on Aug 31, 2022 by

Shampooing removes stubborn scents and stains. And it can be done in winter by using your AC to create air movement inside your vehicle.

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