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How do I clean dirty, smelly seat belts?


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#1 PadawanPrime

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 07:10 PM

Beige seat belts, dirty, actually moldy in some places. Also, smells bad (mold???).

Posted Image

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I'm thinking of using Folex. If that's not enough, I'm thinking of getting a steam cleaning (Bissell Little Green Machine???). Do I need an ozone generator (and if so, what do you recommend? Something from Sharper Image???)? :nixweiss

TIA.

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#2 White95Max

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 07:15 PM

Try some Woolite and warm water. It's worked on seatbelts for me. Just rub the solution into the belt with a cheap MF towel.
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#3 HomicidalSloth

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 09:32 PM

Steam would be nice, but the LCGM is a carpet extractor, not a steamer. I'd just use some woolite like Maxy-pads said. ;)

#4 White95Max

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 06:57 AM

Geez I get a new nickname every week! :P
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#5 Spilchy

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 07:01 AM

The mold needs to be killed or it will come back. Woolite won't do it.

I would dillute a Tablespoon of bleach in a gallon of water and pre-clean them. Wipe with a damp towel. Then I would use a dilluted APC like 10:1 or Folex with a nail brush to clean them. Then wipe clean with a damp towel

#6 White95Max

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 07:02 AM

Can I ask how they got moldy in the first place?
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#7 EdLancer

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 07:25 AM

Seatbelts are made of nylon so they are pretty much water resistant. I just use a tub of luke warm water with dishwashing detergent and dip the whole belt into the tub and rinse dry with a MF.
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#8 Black240SX

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 12:26 PM

I would think twice about using bleach on seatbelts. You don't want to find out the hard way that it has weakened the material.
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#9 Spilchy

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 12:47 PM

I would think twice about using bleach on seatbelts. You don't want to find out the hard way that it has weakened the material.


A Tablespoon in a gallon is neglible and kills the spores that cause mold.

#10 Anthony Orosco

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 01:28 PM

Extract the belts all the way, place a clamp or clothes pin at the top so the belt does not retract and then remove them outside of the car as far as possible, close the door so that the seat belt material is now outside of the car.

I did this with my car once at the local coin op car wash. With the seat belt outside of the car I just hit it with the pressure washer and soap, then rinsed, dried them with a towel and allowed them to air dry...but not in the sun.....and yes be cautious when using bleach.

I now clean seat belts with my steamer which makes it very simple.

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#11 mirrorfinishman

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 01:42 PM

Personally, I would buy new belts to replace those dirty, moldy seat belts. I don't think I would want to be riding around in a vehicle wondering whether mold or the cleaning solution used to clean the belts reduced there effectiveness.

#12 Murat

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 08:00 PM

As far as I can remember ALL the user's manuals of ALL the cars I bought till now state that you are to use NOTHING ELSE but neutral soap and water to clean seat belts. Probably because the polypropylene used to weave and ultimately manufacture those belts are affected adversely by any other thing.

A steamer does not sound safe to me regarding that synthetic fibers tend to sag and degenrate / distort / warp under high heat...

I would ask my dealer' s workshop if I were you... It is safety more than appearance in this case.. :nervous:
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#13 PadawanPrime

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 08:20 PM

Thanks for all the replies.

The suggestions so far have been very helpful.

Update - I already ordered the steam cleaner. :)

BTW - the "strikethrough" code does NOT work. :down

Getting the seat belts new would cost me over a $1,000 for all five seat belts, that's to rich for my blood (thank you for your suggestion mirrorfinishman).

I don't feel comfortable using anything w/ bleach, but I do agree that the mold (mildew, whatever it is) need to be killed to prevent further problems.

So far my first choice is the steam cleaner, followed by a cleaner (Prowax sells a seat belt cleaner called C-28, has anyone has any experience w/ this product), washing the cleaner off thoroughly, followed possibly w/ an anti-bacterial product to kill the mold/mildew. And finally letting it dry thoroughly in the hot, hawaiian sun.

The seat belts are already removed, to make cleaning them easier.

How does this all sound??? Let me know what you think.

TIA.

Peace.

#14 ktlimq

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 12:11 PM

I would not use bleach.

This is what is written on page 95 in the owner's manual of 1992 Mercedes 300D.

==============
Seat Belts

The webbing must not be treated with chemical cleaning agents. Use only clear, lukewarm water and soap. Do not dry the webbing at the temperatures above 176 * F (80 * C) or in direct sunlight.

Warning!
Do not bleach or dye seat belts as this may severely weaken them. In a crash they may not be able to provide adequate protection.
==============


Upholstery cleaners that manifest that they are safe for seat belts on the bottle labels are Meguiars Heavy Duty Carpet & Interior Cleaner and Mercedes-Benz Carpet & Fabric Care.

Mothers wrote on waxforum.com that Mothers Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is safe for seat belts.

Simple Green replied by email that Simple Green would probably be safe for seat belts, but they recommended me to use lukewarm water and soap due to liability issue.

#15 G35stilez

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 12:26 PM

The mold needs to be killed or it will come back. Woolite won't do it.

I would dillute a Tablespoon of bleach in a gallon of water and pre-clean them. Wipe with a damp towel. Then I would use a dilluted APC like 10:1 or Folex with a nail brush to clean them. Then wipe clean with a damp towel



Sounds good...Add some steam in the second step.
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#16 dtoolman

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 01:52 PM

Extract the belts all the way, place a clamp or clothes pin at the top so the belt does not retract and then remove them outside of the car as far as possible, close the door so that the seat belt material is now outside of the car.

I did this with my car once at the local coin op car wash. With the seat belt outside of the car I just hit it with the pressure washer and soap, then rinsed, dried them with a towel and allowed them to air dry...but not in the sun.....and yes be cautious when using bleach.

I now clean seat belts with my steamer which makes it very simple.

Anthony


I just tried this and it worked great. I the belts on my 1992 Grand Prix, were so dirty and sticky my wife would not drive it anymore.
I have been trying to get the seat-belts on my wife's car cleaned or replaced for the past 3 months. But I'm a cheapskate and I didn't want to buy new belts as they were going to cost $80+ ea. I was almost at the point of buying them when I found your post. Thanks very much.
You just saved me over $160.

#17 Brad B.

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 02:54 PM

I just tried this and it worked great. I the belts on my 1992 Grand Prix, were so dirty and sticky my wife would not drive it anymore.
I have been trying to get the seat-belts on my wife's car cleaned or replaced for the past 3 months.


That would have been fun to watch. Glad it worked!
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#18 lostdaytomorrow

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 06:45 PM

Sometimes it really isn't as hard or expensive as it seems to replace the whole seatbelt assembly, check it out sometime if they are really bad.

#19 TOGWT

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 12:07 AM

1. Pull the belts from the retractor and gently close the door on the belt, clean with a Limonene-based cleaner (P21S® High Performance Total Auto Wash) and allow to air dry before opening the door and retracting the belt. Do not use bleach, strong detergents, or dye on the seat belts as this may severely weaken them and render them ineffective in a crash.

2. Dry vapour steam or a Tornador® are alternative methods for cleaning.

3. Once fabric is dry apply a fabric protection (303™ High Tech Fabric Guard)

4. While you are cleaning the belts, take the opportunity to closely inspect them for damage and security of attachment, ensure here are no cuts, tears or abrasions (you should always inspect for damage etc if they get caught by a closing door)

5. After a while the seat belt mechanism becomes slow and / or will not retract when released. This can be avoided by cleaning the upper anchor; as the seatbelt retracts it leaves behind a film of dirt, which builds up over time. Use compressed air to remove dust and then using a Q- tip and some Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) you can clean the seat belt anchor / retracting mechanism. Once clean add some Plexus Plastic Cleaner to provide lubrication.

Maintenance - clean seat belts with a 5:1 P21S® High Performance Total Auto Wash / distilled water solution, ensure they are thoroughly dried before use

Alternative products – C-28 Seat Belt Cleaner and Spot Remover from PRO® is a non-flammable and non hazardous concentrated cleaner that safely removes dirt, oil, grease and stains from seat belts

Alternative cleaning methods – dry vapour steamer is the most effective way to kill mould spores


Caution: Do not use bleach, solvents or other strong chemicals on the seatbelts as these may compromise the webbing leading to subsequent failure.
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