The garage is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a safe place to store your unused car seats. But there are some essential steps to take before you store them away.
Throughout this post, you’ll learn how to store your car seats to keep them safe from mold, mildew, mice, and other pests. That will keep them looking (and smelling) great for a long time.
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How to Store Car Seats
No matter where you decide to store your car seats, start by thoroughly cleaning them. If possible, seal them individually in plastic bags for protection, and keep them in an elevated area, high off the ground.
Moisture, direct light, mice, and other pests can take a toll on your car seats.
Before putting your child’s car seat into storage, it’s a good time to check its expiration date.
Every new car seat has a label telling you when it should no longer be used. Typically, they’re good for between six to ten years after manufacture.
1. Clean Your Child’s Car Seat Before Storing It
I don’t have to tell you how gross your child’s car seat can be.
Before you store car seats in your garage or basement, be sure to clean off any Cheerios, french fries, or candy.
Start with a shop vac or detailing vacuum to get as much dust out as possible. These vacuums typically have HEPA filters which will help trap any contaminants.
Next, you’ll want to clean the entire car seat.
If you’re lucky, this can be as simple as using a damp cloth to wipe down the whole surface. Typically, you’ll need a potent disinfectant and some Febreeze.
If your car seat is made of a vinyl or “leather-look” material, use a moisturizer like Meguiar’s Leather Care after cleaning.
Older or neglected car seats will need more attention to remove accumulated grime.
Even though this process could take some time, it’s important not to skimp here. Simply putting your child’s car seats on a shelf and neglecting them could lead to mildew, mold, foul odors, or other issues.
2. Individually Seal Each Car Seat in a Separate Container
According to Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians, it’s best to individually seal each car seat in a protective bag.
The specific type of container isn’t as important, but it needs to be airtight. You can choose trash bags, plastic totes, or any other option with an airtight and water-tight seal.
This helps prevent mice and other pests from getting in and making them their new home.
In addition to potential pests, it’ll help protect the car seats from humidity which can allow moisture to seep in and cause mold and mildew to grow.
For more information on keeping moisture out of your storage totes, check out this guide with some tips and recommendations.
Silica Gel Packets are a great option to limit moisture. Toss a couple of these small packets into the bag or container with your car seats. They’ll prevent moisture from penetrating the fabric or leather, keeping moisture away from your car seats.
Silica packets may not be enough if you live in an area with lots of humidity. Here in Florida, I have a dehumidifier for my garage to help keep the moisture manageable.
Depending on the size of your car seats, you may need to double up on each bag for extra security and pest prevention. In that case, securely tape the edges of the bags. Remember, the goal is to make the containers airtight and waterproof.
3. Inspect the Area First
Before storing your sealed car seats in your garage, it’s important to inspect the area first.
If storing your car seats on shelving, look for damaged or potentially fragile areas that might not withstand the weight of the car seats.
Next, watch for signs of ants, cockroaches, mice feces, etc. It’s a good idea to spray for bugs and pests between 24 and 48 hours before you store your car seats in the area.
Some houses are more prone to mouse invasions than others. If your garage has a pest problem, consider measures to keep mice out of your garage.
Mice love to tear through plastic and nest in fabric, like the padding of car seats. However, their feces is an even bigger problem. Diseases can spread from rodents to people through direct contact with infected rodents or their droppings.
Place traps near any entrances to your garage, including additional garage entry doors, and where you store the car seats.
4. Store Car Seats Off of the Ground
Always store your car seats off the ground, especially if you keep them in your garage.
Your garage floor gets affected by temperature changes much quicker and more severely than anywhere else. Mice and bugs usually enter your garage from ground level and then look for someplace to nest.
Keeping your car seats off the floor makes it much harder for critters to use them as a nest.
Store car seats on shelves, counters, or on top of cabinets. If you have an overhead storage rack, that will be your best option.
5. Keep Them Out of Direct Light
Like moisture, storing your child’s car seats in direct sunlight can be bad for them.
Even small amounts of direct sunlight weaken the fabric or leather over time. Since colors fade in light, you’ll quickly notice severe discoloration and whitening of the material.
By storing car seats in bags or containers, you help protect them from fading. If possible, keep them in cabinets, under shelves, or anywhere else that isn’t touched by light.
6. Rotate and Clean the Car Seats Once per Month
It’s not enough to keep your car seats safe from light sources, pests, and moisture.
Did you know that letting them sit in one place for too long can also damage them?
Eventually, the seat’s plastic, fabric, and foam padding will start to warp and compact to whatever it’s pressing against.
To illustrate, take a pillow and lean it vertically against a wall. After a few minutes, it’ll slowly start to flatten where it hits the wall.
To help prevent such issues from occurring, remove the seat and put it in a new bag at least once every other month. When you return it to storage, adjust the position so that it’s not resting in the same area that it was before.
This is also an excellent time to give it a quick wipe-down to help keep it clean and well-protected.
Wrapping It Up
Now that you’ve seen how to store car seats in the garage with these simple steps, you can keep them safely stored there for future use. The most important thing to remember is that your seats shouldn’t have humidity, heat, or pests nearby.
Here’s a quick recap of the post:
- Clean your seats monthly and change the storage bag each time.
- Use dehumidifiers, mouse traps, and bug spray to keep the problems away.
- Keep the car seats elevated off of the garage floor.