Seat belts are your body’s protection when your car suddenly had a collision, a sudden stop, and other types of an accident your car may suffer. They are certainly an essential part of your safety that is why they are also called “safety belts”. Seat belts are subject to regular tear and wear, they become dirty and slimy over time, and may be inoperable when metal parts had stocked up due to dirt and rust.
Sometimes, safety belts do become smelly due to wrappings around the body. Keeping your seat belts clean and tidy must be part of your regular maintenance.You cannot ignore the fact that seat belts do not last forever.
Seat belts have to be replaced when they are not able to do its designed functions anymore due to tear and wear. Or if much of the safety belt is damaged. But you can prolong its life by undertaking the necessary cleaning and maintenance that will take you just minutes to perform.
In this article, we will teach you how to clean seat belts in two simple methods. First, by manual cleaning, and secondly, by using a pressure washer. By the end of this article, you will be able to identify what are the parts of a seat belt and the job they do.
What are the parts of a seat belt?
Here are the basic parts of a seat belt (driver seat) and their functions:
Webbing (the belt itself)
The webbing is the major part of a seat belt, it is the flat strip of varying width and material (commonly made from polyester, nylon, or leather). This is wrap around the driver while in motion and could be easily become filthy and dirty during continuous use.
The extender is not included in your car’s purchase, it is bought separately. This is an extra piece of equipment that allows you more space if the one existing is too small for you. This extends the length of the existing safety belt to fit your waist and torso.
For a more durable seat extender, try this one from Amazon: E4 Safety Certified Rigid Seat Belt Extension, Black 5 inches from Seat Belt Extender Pros. This does not require elaborate installation, for plus size people, and for people with limited mobility. It’s a Click-and-Go thing.
Or you may opt for the E4 SAFETY CERTIFIED 2-pack Rigid Seat Belt Extender (7/8" metal tongue) - Raises receptacle by 5" - Click & Go!, if you want 2 extenders, one as spare. This is also available on Amazon.
The latch is the only piece of equipment to your right. The latch is a device that is commonly attached to the floor of your car and it totally locks the rest of the safety belt keeping you in place when there is a collision.
The pretension locks during a collision, keeping you in position. It is also a system that pulls back the safety belt, keeping it stable and firm while you are on the wheel.
This device is the one that snaps into the latch and can be glided through the belt (in an up and down fashion). This adjusts the seat belt to a more comfortable position.
This device is located over your left shoulder while the belt (webbing) is installed to the car door’s column where you can draw the safety belt to the highest part of it up and down. Although not all cars have this type of device, it is commonly a convenient feature of a seat belt. This device reduces the chafing effect of a safety belt especially for taller or shorter drivers compared to the one with an average height and built.
These are what you will need in cleaning seat belts
Since we will show you two methods of cleaning your seat belt, some of the tools that you will use can be found from your kitchen or other household items that are readily available. While the chemical-based cleaners are also readily available from Amazon with instructions on how to use them.
- A clothespin or clip
- Vinyl upholstery cleaner
- Clean cloth or towels
- White vinegar put in spray bottle
- Water-based seat belt cleaner
- Scrubbing pad
- High-pressure washer
- Safety goggles
This is what you have to do to clean your dirty seat belts
- Simple manual cleaning
- Without discarding any part of the seat belt, pull it out as far as possible. This will allow you to clean the segments of the strap that are commonly concealed within the track.
- Mount the clothespin or the clip at the end of the strap to avoid the belt from retracting back.
- Using white vinegar or a vinyl upholstery cleaner, spray the liquid evenly on a clean towel or cloth and wipe it over the webbing of the seat belt. Do this on both sides of the webbing.
- Continue spraying the cleaner of your choice into the towel and wiping it at the belt until you notice that stains and dirt are removed.
- After cleaning, be sure that the seat belt is totally dry before drawing it back to its original position. Leaving the belt wet will be enough cause for the growth of mildew or molds.
- If you can take out the whole belt (but be sure that you can put it back, if not, better not to disassemble the seat belt), you can soak it whole in the white vinegar or the vinyl cleaner for a thorough cleaning.
- Using pressure washer
This is done when you have a very filthy seat belts
- Open the door of your car, then pull the seat belt out as far as it will go to maximize the cleaning surface.
- After extending the seat belt out of your car, gently close the door of the car. This will allow the full extension of the belt with the door’s rubber lining holding it without retracting.
- By holding the belt tightly (or let someone hold it for you), apply your chosen water-based cleaner. Scrub it with a scrubbing pad one side after the other.
- Once you notice that dirt, stain and other debris are loosened up, use the high-pressure washer to finish off the job. Make sure that you are wearing goggles to avoid injury in your eyes. Using the high-pressure washer, you will notice that filth starts to ooze out of the belt.
- Then use the clean towel or cloth to dry the belt. Do not retract until you are sure that it is totally dried.
Some honest tips
If you want a durable replacement for your worn out seat belt, try this universal designed seat belt:
Additionally, if your seat belt is made of leather or synthetic leather, here is one great cleaner from Amazon: Vinyl and Faux Leather Cleaner & Conditioner – Keep Seats, Jackets, Vinyl, Handbags, Sofas, Couches, Shoes, Boots & More Looking New – TriNova.
Did you enjoy this tutorial? Seat belts can save your life and your loved ones while you are on the road. It is only proper that you maintain this simple piece of equipment to make it works all the time.
Now you know how to clean seat belts in two simple methods, you are assured of a safe driving.
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