God help me.
So I set out to fix this stank of a problem and well... this carseat that we have, although I love it.... is not an easy one to clean. I scoured the internet for help and I came up so short. Everyone talked about using q-tips. People... q-tips weren't going to touch this shit. Gross. So, here is my "cleaning barf from your carseat" instructions, because we ALL need that. (Note: I did call Evenflo for help- there are so many screws on this seat, but there are warnings all over it: DO NOT REMOVE, blah blah. So, the lady basically said there was no suggestion other than spraying it with vinegar. I asked her if a vinegar bath sounded like it would hurt the seat, and she said it sounded like our best option. So, just an FYI, your seat MAY come apart... mine does not.)
Remove carseat from car. (If you're like my husband, keep the barfasaurus in the seat for transportation) Clean up the car, the smell will be SOOOOOO rank in the morning.
Remove carseat cover- take pictures if you have to so you can put it back together. We have an Evenflo Triumph 65 and it is very simple to remove the cover.
Step 2a: Shake off all chunks (we do this in our sink so it can go down the garbage disposal, blegh, ewwww, it is SO AWFUL)
Step 2b: Pretreat if you feel necessary, we had some leftover ice cream dribbles that I threw a little Shout on.
Wash according to your manufacturer's instructions. I usually wash our Evenflo Triumph in the machine on a delicate setting with a cloth diapering friendly detergent- BEWARE you can wash off the flame retardant- follow your manufacturer's instructions on what type of cleaners to use.
While the cover is washing, get down with the big plastic seat. Remove any foam that you can- we can remove the two hip pieces but NOT the back/head piece. We live in Chicago, it has been a miserably cold winter so we had to use the shower for this next part. My husband did shake the seat out sideways, upside down, etc in the yard to get anything dry off of it (I rarely buy goldfish, but they breed in his seat, apparently!). We had to put the carseat into the shower. We just ran it on really hot for a decent amount of time- I put Shout on the straps since they cannot be removed and sprayed vinegar/water solution in the seat of the seat- does that make sense?
Here is our seat in the bath, don't judge my messy bathroom, did I mention we had food poisoning and 2 kids barfing this week? This is in the fully reclined position and the water is still filling. You may be able to see it actually coming through the crevices where the straps are.
*Your cover should be done being washed by now, we choose to air dry our cover so we don't have any shrinking, etc. I just reshape it and hang it on a chair overnight, yes, it takes all night to dry. Many covers can be tumbled on low for a short amount of time, I am not a risk taker, apparently.
Let dry. BIG MISTAKE. We didn't realize how much water would stay in the seat, and so the next morning, I opened the bathroom door to Barfville. It. was. terrible. DON'T LET IT DRY YET!
INSTEAD: Make a hot, huge bath. We sprinkled baking soda all over the seat, poured vinegar directly onto the seat, reclined the seat as much as possible to get as much of the seat part clean, and then ran the tub as full as we could with very hot water. This loosened up so much gunk it was embarrassing. I shook the seat a little to loosen more stuff. Blegh. Just let that baby sit. We let it sit until the water cooled.
Drain the water- wipe down the seat as you do or some chunks will get stuck.
Not gonna lie, we soaked again in a vinegar bath for good measure. We tipped the seat upside down so things could float out in the water- so gross, people, SO GROSS.
Shower it off, just to be sure you've released as much as possible.
Turn the seat upside down in the tub, and let it dry. Do not leave it upright, it will not drain properly.
When seat is totally dry.... put your foam back on, your cover back on, and install according to your manufacturer's directions!
Enjoy your clean, fresh seat. I am so, so happy we did this!