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  1. #1
    CPS Technician Mom2FiveGirls's Avatar
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    How to clean the harness???

    DD#4 got sick and threw up all in her car seat (nautilus) a little while ago. I got the cover off and its in the washing machine, but how do I clean the harness and the crotch strap? I know you aren't supposed to get them wet (or is it you aren't supposed to submerge them in water?), but they are already wet...is that ok?

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  3. #2
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    Re: How to clean the harness???

    I won't say this is the RIGHT answer, but we had one who got really really sick in her carseat once. I mean, REALLY sick - straps were completely soaked. I tried everything short of chemicals to get the smell out. No dice. I finally put them through the washing machine on gentle with baby laundry detergent, and then air dried them. I inspected them as well as I could with the naked eye afterward, and they looked exactly the same. No broken fibers or anything.

  4. #3
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: How to clean the harness???

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    I won't say this is the RIGHT answer, but we had one who got really really sick in her carseat once. I mean, REALLY sick - straps were completely soaked. I tried everything short of chemicals to get the smell out. No dice. I finally put them through the washing machine on gentle with baby laundry detergent, and then air dried them. I inspected them as well as I could with the naked eye afterward, and they looked exactly the same. No broken fibers or anything.
    Correct, wrong answer. Those straps needs to be thrown out and you need to buy more. Submerging them isn't great at all, not allowed, but doing it in a relatively violent washer with soap, even on gentle with baby, may have made the harnss brittle enough to not hold properly in a crash.

    You can use a baby wipe, or a washcloth with a little drop of soap. Some vinegar can help with the smell as well. Otherwise if they're awful, contact Graco about buying a new set.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 100#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 50", 70#, Nuna Aaces, Safety 1st Incognito
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic


  5. #4
    CPS Technician Mom2FiveGirls's Avatar
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    Re: How to clean the harness???

    Thanks. I used a baby wipe and they look good. They smell just a little (if I stick them right up to my nose) so I'll try a little vinegar and see if that helps. I got a replacement set from Graco because I was having issues with the crotch buckle and I've still got the original set, so I can use those if I have to. I've haven't had any issues with the new set though, so I'd like to keep using those if at all possible.

  6. #5
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    Re: How to clean the harness???

    if weather permits a lil outside sun helps too.
    Ginny
    Mom to 4!
    DS1 16yo, DS2 15yo, DD 11yo & DS3 9yo

  7. #6
    CPS Technician Mom2FiveGirls's Avatar
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    Re: How to clean the harness???

    Its raining today Hopefully the weather will be nicer tomorrow. DH says he can't smell anything, so apparently its just me and my super sensitive nose again... I found the manual and it says spot clean only or replace, so I'm going to skip the vinegar unless I absolutely have to.

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    Re: How to clean the harness???

    Okay - I have a question - if vinegar or harsh chemicals or laundry soap (or, in an earlier post, mosquito repellent or sunscreen) are so dangerous to the integrity of the strap, why is vomit (stomach acid) not considered a no-no as well? This is the first time I've ever heard to replace straps after vomiting - other posts talk about spot-cleaning, and I've always thought if soap or water could ruin a strap, surely stomach acid could too?

  9. #8
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: How to clean the harness???

    Vinegar is ok in small doses.

    It's ok for the straps to get damp. And most times a kid vomits the straps don't get soaked, they get damp. If you wanted to use a dime sized dollop of gentle soap on a wet washcloth and did that over the entire strap, that'd be considered, IMO, spot cleaning. Putting them through a washing machine with an agitator and a bunch of soap can do damage.

    Most times if the harness is SO absolutely soaked from vomit you're not going to be able to clean them without putting them int he wash anyway, and you'll likely replace them just because they stink to holy heck. So it's likely the stomach acid can hurt them, but in the amount it would take for enough stomach acid to saturate the harnesses you'd toss them anyway.

    Whenever Piper threw up big time in the car (she's not a vomiter, but she was Mt. Vesuvius as a baby) if she was throwing up so so much in one go it'd go far. I had to be more worried about the backseat rather than her harness. It was the smaller amounts that ended up on her harness. And they got wiped down immediately. And if it was a lot and she was going to keep vomiting, I'd already pulled over after the first and was holding her out of her seat to finish the rest of it. So a stomach full of acid, completely undiluted, I think is rarer than you think.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 100#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 50", 70#, Nuna Aaces, Safety 1st Incognito
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic


  10. #9
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    Re: How to clean the harness???

    I am not comfortable using vinegar to clean the harness in any amount. It's extremely acidic.

    If warm water, a gentle baby soap and spot cleaning, with perhaps some airing out doesn't kill the smell, I'd take it as a sign that a new harness is in order.

    Under no circumstances should a harness go in a washing machine.

  11. #10
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    Angry Re: How to clean the harness???

    Ugh. My daughter is generally not a puker, but vomited all over on the way home last night, with no warning. The straps were soaked. I have a Graco MyRide 65. Tried wiping the harness down with chlorox wipes, to no avail. Used a toothbrush and vinegar and they are now drying. Contacted Graco, in the meantime, and replacement straps aren't available for the MyRide. They also said not to use the seat because vinegar is not recommended. They *generously* sent me a rebate for $40, on the purchase of a new seat. Entirely peeved.

  12. #11
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: How to clean the harness???

    Here's a question just for my own curiosity - will squirting them a couple times with some febreeze (I use it after the kids are sick at home on the carpet so I know the febreeze gets rid of the smell) damage them?
    DS, 7, 65lbs, Parkway SG
    DD1, 5, 42lbs, ff RXT
    DD2, 4, 39lbs, ff RXT
    DD3, 2, rf Rainier

  13. #12
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: How to clean the harness???

    Quote Originally Posted by MammaBear View Post
    Here's a question just for my own curiosity - will squirting them a couple times with some febreeze (I use it after the kids are sick at home on the carpet so I know the febreeze gets rid of the smell) damage them?
    If you'd squirt it in your child's eye, yes. That's a good way to gauge if it's mild enough to be used on the harness.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 100#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 50", 70#, Nuna Aaces, Safety 1st Incognito
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic


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  15. #13
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: How to clean the harness???

    Then there's an organic sports spray that would be perfect. Thanks!
    DS, 7, 65lbs, Parkway SG
    DD1, 5, 42lbs, ff RXT
    DD2, 4, 39lbs, ff RXT
    DD3, 2, rf Rainier

  16. #14
    CPST Instructor Carrie_R's Avatar
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    I'd probably call Graco before using a spray like that - a lot of organic-ey stuff comes complete with enzymes and such that make it work but could be damaging to the harness.
    Down to just a spare Radian, folded in the hall closet for my Godbaby.

    Check out this thread for a Pilot overview!

  17. #15
    CPST Instructor trippsmom's Avatar
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    Why not just use sunshine? It has been used for eons to remove odors and stains.
    Rachel - CPST-I and Mommy to:
    Tripp - 12/22/07 48" and 45# FF FR85
    Aubrey - 11/20/09 38" and 33# ERF in an XTSL
    Bella- 7/13/11 33.5" 24#- XTSL and MySize70


  18. #16
    CPS Technician
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    Re: How to clean the harness???

    Quote Originally Posted by Heatherlef View Post
    Ugh. My daughter is generally not a puker, but vomited all over on the way home last night, with no warning. The straps were soaked. I have a Graco MyRide 65. Tried wiping the harness down with chlorox wipes, to no avail. Used a toothbrush and vinegar and they are now drying. Contacted Graco, in the meantime, and replacement straps aren't available for the MyRide. They also said not to use the seat because vinegar is not recommended. They *generously* sent me a rebate for $40, on the purchase of a new seat. Entirely peeved.
    I would call back and request to speak to someone else. Ask up the chain until you can get someone to help you. I don't think that's acceptable at all. When I ruined a strap on a Britax seat, and called to order a replacement that turned out to not be available, they offered me a *very* discounted price on a brand new seat (any one that was in the warehouse right then, that would fit my needs). That was okay by me, b/c I'd had the seat a long time, so it was more than fair. However, if it had been a very new seat, I'd have wanted them to pay for more of it. Irreplaceable straps that you cannot get clean from vomit, for a seat that should last 6 years if cared for properly, is not okay w/me.
    henrietta
    former CPST & Mom extraordinaire of 2 rowdy little boys & 1 spunky girl toddler, among hundreds of other skills!
    #1, age 9.5, Harmony Literider or Transit backless booster, occasional Safety First Incognito
    #2, age 6.5, Cybex Xfit booster/Harmony folding travel booster/Evenflo hbb
    #3 age 15 months, Britax Advocate CT/Combi Cocorro

  19. #17
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    Sorry it's taken me so long to reply; my alerts weren't on. I ended up telling Graco that it was unacceptable for a product marketed for babies and children is not fully washable/replaceable. They ended up having me cut and send the straps and cover and sent me a new seat. It killed me to cut the straps out. They were completely saturated; don't think sunshine would help.

    Sent from my iPhone using Car-Seat.Org

  20. #18
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    Re: How to clean the harness???

    I feel like sunshine is a really bad idea also. UV breaks down fabrics.

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