How to Clean Your Seatbelts    
 
In my years of parenthood, I've become pretty good at cleaning almost everything. My first daughter spit up often and everywhere, so I learned quickly how to clean surfaces without damaging them further. One of the things that stuck with me was how carefully you need clean car seat straps. You aren't supposed to submerse them in water or use any strong cleaners on them, as this can weaken them to the point where they can fail in an accident. I knew this, and I was always very careful every time I took the seat apart to remove whatever mess I was dealing with. 
 
Now, my oldest daughter is out of a harnessed seat and using a seatbelt, but she hasn't grown out of making the occasional mess. A few weeks ago she made smoothies in her cooking class, and on the way home, the top popped off the container, soaking her, her booster, and her seat belt in a dairy based liquid. And I needed to learn how to clean a seat belt. 
 
Just like the straps on carseats, seatbelt straps should not be soaked in water or cleaned with any harsh cleansers. Not only can this weaken the fibers, but it can strip away the fire retardant treatment that keeps the belts safe. Safe cleansers for seatbelts are pH neutral - a pH of 6.5 - 7.5 is generally considered safe to clean. Dawn dishwashing liquid, Johnson's babywash and Dove bar soap are all acceptable. Anything with vinegar, bleach, borax, or baking soda is too far from neutral to be considered safe for this kind of cleaning. 
 
Mix two cups of warm water with about a tablespoon of gentle soap. Dampen a microfiber or other soft cloth in the cleaning mix, and gently wipe the stains. Obviously, the sooner you clean, the easier this will be. Don't be tempted to scrub, but just repeat with the damp cloth as needed. 
 
Once the belt is clean, assuming the weather is cooperative, open the windows and leave the car in the sun to allow the belt to dry before using it again.

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