One of my favorite Mom Hacks is really a Papa Hack. Or, at least, it started that way. You see, Papa noticed that kids can be messy. They can be especially messy in cars. But messy cars are not so nice. So, how to protect the car from some naturally messy littles? Why, he covered the seats, of course!
But, seat covers can be costly, and don’t always fit your seats well. And they won’t always protect your seats from all of the joys of childhood. But it is easy to repurpose some thrift store (or in our case, freecycle) items into the perfect seat protectors.
I started with a cloth shower curtain, a seam ripper and a pair of sewing scissors. I took all of the headrests off the back seat, and laid the shower curtain over the bench seat so that the bottom edge of it hung where I would want it to be permanently. Using my seam ripper and scissors, I cut holes where the headrests would need to go. Then, I replaced the headrests. Then, using the same method, I cut holes where the seat belt buckles needed to come through. I tucked the edges around the seat as neatly as possible and voila! I had a beautiful rainbow seat cover for the back seat. This looks super cheery, and it protects the seat. I wish I had taken pictures as I did it, but this was 2 years ago, and I didn’t think ahead to writing a blog about it at the time.
Now, the fabric shower curtain does an excellent job of catching dirt, leaves, crumbs. and drips and keeping them off of my seats. When the curtain is lifted, my newly detailed van seat is right there looking at me! But, we all know that children are prone to especially messy and WET times in life. Every parent who hasn’t had puke or pee in your car at least once, please come write a guest post for me on how you avoid them!
So, for extra wetness protection, we have added one felted wool sweater beneath each car seat. Wool acts as a water barrier, for those of you who don’t know. Water will go through it eventually, but it gives you a significant amount of time to clean it up before it does. Wool has magical (ok, ok, they are scientific) properties that cause it to wick moisture across it and allow it to quickly evaporate instead of just soaking it up like cotton does. Also, the interior of the wool fiber allows it to hold the water to keep it from soaking through. To create your own wool barrier for the base of the car seat, find a sweater that is a high percentage wool fiber. Again, we got ours from the thrift store or freecycle. Wash them in the washing machine in hot water, and dry them in the dryer. Do this with a load of laundry that won’t produce a bunch of lint or stick the sweater inside a pillow case and knot it up to keep the sweater from becoming linty. Washing the sweater by itself will not help, as the sweater will not felt if you do. When the sweater is done in the dryer, either fold the arms under and place it in the car seat (where the base of the carseat will go), or cut the arms off with a pair of scissors and lay the body of the sweater only in the seat. Install the carseat right on top of it, according to manufacturer directions.
Now, you are good to go! Let the messes come! When the shower curtain or the sweaters get too dirty, simply toss them all in the washing machine together and put them back in the car.