Prefer video? Here’s a video of me cleaning the Nuna PIPA Car Seat:
I have the Nuna PIPA RX car seat with a RELX base and have used it for both of my children (I love the lightweight design!). This infant seat has held up incredibly well and, with regular care, still looks like the day I bought it.
Having a baby comes with lots of surprises, and sadly the car seat is where many of the surprises you would love to forget happened. So whether you have a happy spitter or your first child’s car seat blowout, keep reading to see how cleaning your Nuna PIPA seat can be a painless experience.
Before we start, I will say it’s rare that I had to wash all the soft goods for the car seat. You can get by washing those and the strap covers in the early days when your baby is still using the infant insert. But you will need to remove the full cover every time a blowout happens.
I should also add that most of these instructions apply to almost all of the Nuna lineup (PIPA, PIPA RX, PIPA Lite, PIPA Lite R, Nuna PIPA Lite LX, PIPA Lite RX, and PIPA urbn). However, always consult your manual and the tag on the covers to be sure.
You might be asking if you should machine wash your Nuna PIPA Car Seat before using it? The answer is yes. If you are expecting and just got your infant car seat, I recommend washing it before bringing your baby home from the hospital or birthing center.
Nuna is GreenGuard certified and is free of flame retardants. So if you did not wash it before putting your newborn in it, DO NOT STRESS. Just know it is best practice to clean all baby-related items before using them with your baby.
Step One: How to Disassemble the Nuna PIPA Car Seat
Start by removing the infant insert. This is very easy to do. The head support has a velcro strap, as seen below. And the lower insert just slides out through the crotch buckle.
Then remove the shoulder straps by undoing the two snaps on each one.
The lower crotch buckle cover has a small tab fed through the buckle. Feed through the underside of the buckle. It is a little confusing to figure out at first, but I am thankful it is there. My Nuna Rava car seat does not have this, and the buckle cover falls off regularly, so the pain of figuring it out the first time is worth it!
Starting from the bottom, pull out the plastic that is tucked under the bottom of the car seat. Repeat the same for the top. You will also want to remove the velcro from the canopy.
Start to pull up, and you will then need to stretch the fabric around the release button for the straps. This might be a little tight the first time you do it.
Feed the bottom buckle strap through and work your way up to release two more plastic clips, and the canopy snap on both sides.
Turn your car seat over and unhook the top of the straps from the metal claw.
Then feed the top straps through.
Now for what I found to be the most challenging part when I first washed my Nuna car seat… The release buttons by the hood. You will need to stretch the fabric over each of these buttons. It takes a fair amount of pulling and tugging.
Finally, feed the metal buckle and plastic chest clip through the bottom hole for the main cover. You will need to turn the plastic buckle vertically for it to fit.
Additionally, If you want to wash the canopy, simply press the small plastic button at the bottom of the hood on both sides and pull out. Then the fabric easily slides off the frame and can be washed with the other stroller fabrics.
Step Two: Washing the Nuna PIPA Car Seat
Now that you have the fabrics off, you can load them in your washer. Nuna manufacturers instructions website recommends washing the Nuna Pipa car seat on a delicate cycle with a mild detergent and advises against dry cleaning any Nuna products. I personally recommend washing the fabrics with Molly’s Suds or Branch Basics. Surprisingly, “Baby” branded laundry detergents are usually not the safest for you or your baby.
Wash the fabrics on the delicate cycle with cold water. Once the cycle is complete, allow all fabrics to air dry on a drying rack, or if you do not have a drying rack, you can use kitchen chairs. I will usually allow the car seat fabrics to dry overnight before putting the car seat back together.
Step Three: Cleaning the Car Seat Shell and Harness Straps
For the car seat itself (including the car seat’s harness straps and buckles), you can wash it with a damp cloth. If you need help, I recommend Branch Basics all-purpose cleaner, paper towels, or a microfiber cloth. If you are cleaning this car seat with an older baby and there are snacks or dirt, a handheld vacuum like this Shark handheld is very effective at getting crumbs. I have used this vacuum for years and highly recommend it. The dog also does a pretty good job :)!
The most important thing to remember is not to use any bleach or hard chemicals on any part of the car seat.
Step Four: Cleaning the Nuna PIPA Base
You can wash the car seat base using a damp cloth or mild soap (I use Branch Basics All-Purpose—not sponsored, I just love this product). For crumbs, use a handheld vacuum. You do not need to remove the base to clean it.
Step Five: Reassembling the Nuna PIPA Car Seat
Once everything is washed and air-dried, you are ready to put everything back together. Start by placing the cover over the body of the car seat. Then starting from the bottom, clip in the several plastic pieces that snap/tuck in on the bottom. You will then work your way up the car seat.
Turn it around and feed the padding around the release button. This may be a little tricky the first time, but it does get better. If you are having trouble, it may be easier to start with this, so you can undo the plastic tucking you did and focus on fitting it around the button. Feed the crotch buckle through the appropriate hole in the cover. If this is your first time washing the car seat, it is probably the hole closest to the baby.
Thread the top straps through the proper holes. Remember, you will have to move the chest buckle sideways to fit in both entry holes. If you have a new baby, you are likely using the closest straps, but if you have an older child, you may want to count how high up it was on both the back of the car seat and the cover to make sure you are putting it through the right holes.
Turn over the car seat, and connect the straps in the back. Make sure they are not twisted and are both under the metal bars.
Turn the car seat around again and continue working your way up by feeding the two release buttons by the bar through. You will likely have to stretch a lot to get these to fit (also gets easier in time). Then attach the clips under the car seat.
Finally, tuck the plastic piece in at the top of the car seat.
If you wash the canopy, you will want to slide the front pocket through the plastic piece and attach the hood to the clip. It should slide in really easily.
Connect the snaps on both sides.
Finally, stretch the hood to the top and velcro it.
For the last step, attach the covers. The crotch cover has that ribbon that needs to be threaded through, and the shoulder strap covers have snaps. The snaps should be on the opposite side of the baby’s neck.
Now add the infant inserts (if using), and you are ready to use your car seat. It seems like many steps, but you will be a pro after you do it twice. I hope this post was helpful, and if you want to see more, you can find me on Youtube and Instagram!