Family smiling and laughing in a car

11 Tips To Keep Your Car Clean With Kids

If you are a parent, then you are super familiar with the concept of kids being dirty. And by dirty, we mean gross, which is downright filthy and describes how dirty your little one can get. But ain’t they the cutest!

And this dirt and mess has an uncanny way of settling inside your car. Keeping your car clean is a monumental task, especially when you have little passengers you chauffer on school runs or road trips.

A car’s satisfaction goes up when you keep it clean and down when it is dirty. But with your bundle of joy, the car can even have odors.

Here is how to keep your car clean without wasting time in the “clean up the car” arena.

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Why You Want To Keep Your Car Clean And Tidy ( Your Own Vehicle Or A Rental)

Whether it’s your own car or you are borrowing a rental for your road trip vacation, there are several reasons for keeping a car clean and tidy. Most cars naturally depreciate, but you can extend the life of a vehicle, therefore, preserving its value longer if you keep it clean.

Here are some more reasons why you should keep your car clean.

Unclean cars can breed bacteria

You should adopt a routine of cleaning your car, especially when you have kids around. Unclean cars could be creating the ideal environment for bacteria. Those particles of food, drinks, and dirty clothes you leave on the car floor breed bacteria, and your vehicle will not smell too good either.

It helps prevent costly repairs

A messy car interior can wreak havoc on your car’s paint and body. Some of the damage that the car filth will cause is irreversible and might require complete replacement. The repairs might cost you a fortune in general, thus hurting the overall value of the car.

Clean cars are safer

Keeping your car clean is not just an aesthetic choice- it can also be an issue of safety. Yes, a dirty car can put you at risk of danger. People get in accidents every year because of dirty windows that reduce their visibility.

Cars usually have blind spots, and the smallest amount of dirt can reduce visibility tenfold. Add in clutter that might be blocking the path from your foot to the pedals- which are all recipes for disaster.

A clean vehicle is comfortable and makes you proud

If your passengers have to share space with your kid’s toys, umbrellas and food remain, they are all in for a less than cozy ride. Ensure to always clean your car before driving anyone.

It has been proven that having a clean car makes you happy. How you take care of your car says a lot about you. Take pride in your car and keep it clean.

Messy interior of a car before it is cleaned
Look familiar? Yep, that’s probably living under your car seats

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11 Tips For Keeping A Car Clean

A car’s interior may seem overwhelming to manage. But you do not have to break your back to keep your car clean inside, as there are easy tricks.

You can take tiny steps in maintaining the interior cleanliness of your car by as simple as putting a trash bin, using organizers, and cleaning spills immediately. 

1. Cover Your Car Seats

A perfect way to keep your car interior from dirt is by ensuring that you have covered your car seats. It is the easiest way to keep car interiors clean. Using a cloth sheet or a more permanent solution with a plastic cover, you can temporarily protect the seats.

Car seat covers will help keep your car seat protected from stains. And when they get dirty, you can always take them off your car seat and have them washed. With the plastic covers, you will need to wipe them, so there is no need to remove them from the car seat.

2. Provide Your Vehicle with A Car Trash Bin

You can DIY your car trash storage or purchase a trash container with a waterproof lid hanging from the front seat headrest. Instruct your little ones to throw all sorts of trash in the car trash bin. Remember to take out the garbage when your trash bin gets full.

3. Keep The Cup Holder Free From Dirt

Keeping a cup holder cleaner is one of the tips to keep a car clean. Cupholders tend to be sticky and dirty due to the crumbs, drink spills, and condensation, especially if you have kids in the car.

A perfect cleaning hack for your car’s cup holder is to get an old sock and spray it with an all-purpose cleaner. Use the sprayed socks to rub around the cup holder to get rid of the grime.

Alternatively, you can also use a cup holder liner or silicone baking cups to help catch all the spills and dirt that may get into the cupholder in the future. They make cleaning the cup holder much easier.

4. Keep Upholstery Wipes in Your Glove Box

Thanks to kids’ curious and antsy nature, they will tend to touch everything in the car interior with their little stick fingers. That’s why keeping upholstery wipes in your glove will be a convenient way to keep a car clean. Wipes will help wipe your kid’s sticky fingers and allow you to wipe away accumulated dust and the grime that the sticky fingers may leave on the surfaces.

Baby wipes are a great alternative option as they are small and compact enough to fit in the glove box.

5. Clean Messes Up Right Away

Ideally, spills on your car upholstery should be cleaned immediately. When not cleaned, they can cause stains that might be harder to remove later. So, when your little ones spill something while on a road trip, you should wipe it with a microfibre towel.

Cleaning messes up right away helps avoid the struggle of having to scrub out tough stains.

6. Keep Your Glove Box Organised

Your car gloves compartment can sometimes fill up with all sorts of things, to the point that it will tend to be cluttered or pour out a mini avalanche when opened. You should declutter the glove box by removing items you do not need to make it easier for you when handling kids on a trip.

You can opt for a pulse, expanding mini file, a folder, or anything that can help organize it.

7. Remove Odor

You know that kids and spills go hand in hand. The spills that you do not get to see can, over time, have foul smells. You can use baking soda to remove these foul odors from the car. It is good as it does not have any chemicals. Therefore you will not be exposing your kids to harm.

You can keep one packet of baking soda under the driver’s seat, the backseat, and the passenger’s car seat. And should the baking soda spill, you do not have to worry as it is easy to wipe off, or you can vacuum clean it. You can also use an air freshener on your dash or rearview mirror to help remove odor.

8. Organize Your Car With Organisers

It can get cluttered when you have your little ones in the back. And the back of the front seats can get mucky with the dirt from your kid’s shoes. You can solve these issues with the help of car organizers.

Car organizers are composed of many compartments that you can use to store your kid’s toys, travel items, and treats, and they can be hung in the backseat of the car. Car organizers also prevent the backs of the front seats from getting dirtied by your kid’s shoes.

9. Whatever You Bring In The Car, You Must Also Bring Out

If you keep leaving things in the car, they will eventually pile up and make your vehicle cluttered. This applies to your passenger kids as well. Make it a point to continually take out the things you brought in the car with you. You should also train your kids with this perfect car tidy idea.

10. Shake Off Floor Mats And Vacuum Often

Over time your car floor mats will accumulate dirt from shoes. Making it a habit to take the floor mats out and shaking them at least once a week or more will ensure that you do not put too much effort into cleaning the floor mats in the future.

You can also make it a point to vacuum your car once a month to improve its appearance. Vacuuming ensures you deal with all the stressful dirt on your car floor, i.e., crushed cookie crumbles, box juices, candy wrappers, and chips.

11. Create A Well Stocked Car Kit

Creating a well-stocked car kit with kids is a lifesaver. You should take a small stoke and stock it with all your kid’s necessities like diapers, wipes, snacks, water bottles, extra outfits, first aid items, and anything else your kiddo might use while you are out.

Check what you have left in the stoke and restock what you might need every once a week if you travel with your little one frequently. This will help you avoid unnecessary drive-through trips when your little one needs a snack and save you from buying things you might have forgotten.

Here are some essentials that will help keep your car pristine:

  • Microfiber towel
  • Organizers
  • Car seat covers
  • Plastic bag/ trash bin
  • Cup holder liner
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Upholstery wipes/ baby wipes
  • An expanding file/ folder for any glove compartment papers

Do you have any favorite tips and hacks for keeping the car tidy you think we’ve missed? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below

More Vehicle Care Tips

We hope you’ve found this guide to keeping your car clean helpful. If you’d like more tips on car care and common vehicle issues on your family road trip, you may also be interested in:

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