Topics

  1. Why you want a clean car
  2. How to start
  3. How to maintain a clean car

car image

Why:

It’s nice not to have to shuffle papers or sippy cups out of the way if you need to transport other people on short notice.

It feels good to be in a clean car.

It helps if you’re in an accident to know where the important papers are like registration or insurance papers.

Helps to track past services and car purchases.

How to start with a clean car

Take everything out of the car. Sort it into piles of like things such as clothes (socks, shoes, jackets), items associated with eating (sippy cups, dishes, unopened fruit snacks), toys, papers, trash, maps, CDs, etc. These piles make it easy to put away as well as see what types of things accumulate in your car.

Wipe down all the surfaces. Vacuum it out.

There are some professional companies that can do that for you if you would rather after you’ve taken everything out.

Evaluate

Evaluate what needs to stay in the car.

What do I use regularly in the car? Those go back in the car. Everything else stays out and gets put where it belongs. Keep like things together.

Emergency clean up supplies. Mitchells always keep a little stash of wet wipes for quick clean up. They also have some kleenex for unexpected runny noses.

A box of granola bars. Keep a few granola bars and one or two water bottles handy to tide kids over if errands are taking longer than anticipated and you don’t want to have to buy lunch.

Paperwork in the glove box. Mitchells have a little 5×12 inch accordion file they keep in the glove compartment that is divided into categories like current insurance and registration, oil changes, tire, purchases, services, warranties, etc.

CDs are nice to have in the car, but you don’t really need 20-30. Some of those you can rip to your phone or iPod and listen to them from there, freeing up some clutter in the car.

Maps. There are many electronic map apps that are helpful when navigating, making the need for maps not as much. Some people still like paper maps though so only keep the ones you need for your area.

Maintain

Every time you get home, grab everything you brought with you out of the car.

Keep a little trash bag in your car. That gives all those little scraps a place to go.

Clean messes up as soon as they happen. Keeping a little stash of wet wipes or napkins available makes it easy to do that.

Have an emergency stash of Ziploc bags for anyone who may tend to get car sick. Mitchells keep those in their glove box. They store small but are quick to grab. Once they’ve been used, you can zip it closed so no one has to smell it and can be tossed the next chance you get to an outside garbage can.

Mitchells also keep a little stack of plastic bowls for the kids in the car. When they go on long car rides and eat snacks or sandwiches, the bowls help hold the food and catch the crumbs, keeping the car cleaner if they do have to eat in the car.

Keep eating in the car to a minimum. Except for long rides, kids don’t need to eat every time they get in the car. If you do have to eat, be selective on the types of food you eat. Try to only eat foods that are easy to vacuum up.

If you have one, keep a portable mini vacuum in your car. That helps for the quick clean up right after it happens.

Kick off excess snow or dirt before getting into the car. That helps minimize all extra dirt or mud on the carpets.

Use floor mats. It’s much easier to pull those out and scrub or bang the excess dirt off of those than the built in flooring. Some are made out of rubber and can be hosed clean easily. Some are carpeted to match the interior of your car. And some people use both.

Some kids tend to forget to grab their items as they leave the car to go in the house and may need a little cue or reminder, so you may have to say “Look around you and grab everything you brought, out of the car.” This helps train the kids to tidy up every time they get out of the car.

Car wash coupons or gift certificates make great gifts.

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