The Sisyphean task of keeping a car clean when you have little passengers is a challenge that all parents face daily. No matter how often you clean your vehicle, it seems like the mess comes back in no more than two weeks—if that.
At every stage of life, your children can make a mess of your car’s interior, whether it’s juice on the seats or smelly fast-food wrappers stuck in the floor mats. For the sake of your sanity and your vehicle’s value, try these three ways to keep your family vehicle clean to see what works best for you and your beloved mess-makers.
Keep a Handheld Vacuum in the Car
It’s always easiest to build a routine out of cleaning when you consistently have the tools you need on hand. Instead of adding another step to cleaning your car by keeping the vacuum cleaner in the house or garage, simply leave a handheld vacuum somewhere in the vehicle.
Place it in the trunk like a tool kit, or leave it in the center console where everyone can access it. Keeping it in the car can help motivate you to keep the floors and seats free of dry debris. A handheld vacuum is easy to use, easy to remember, and easy to empty out; it’s the perfect solution for a family that’s constantly on the go.
Protect Your Original Seats With Seat Covers
Some of the messes that children make are difficult to get out of your car seat upholstery, to say the least. Whether they’re smelly, sticky, or colorful, a stain on your seats can stick around until you resell the vehicle. Car seat covers protect your seats and make cleanup easy in case of a spill or accident.
Make sure to get a seat cover with a material that will protect the seats—don’t buy one based on the pattern or style alone. Neoprene is a common seat cover material with a long history of reliable water resistance and durability to match. Its all-around good quality makes it perfect for keeping your seats safe from the messes that children make.
Always Bring a Trash Bag
If your family has trouble bringing in their trash when they leave the car, make it easier for them by keeping trash bags in the vehicle. You don’t need to use a full-size garbage bag, just a grocery bag or a small bin so that garbage has a place to go other than the floor. Garbage bags also come in handy with unexpected car sickness or quick spill cleanups. Stow paper towels in the vehicle as well to avoid carpet stains or clean up sticky situations.
Many of the ways to keep your family vehicle clean are similar to what you do to keep your home clean. If you’re stumped, try treating your car just like you treat your house and lay down some ground rules. There are no limits to what you can try to maintain a clean vehicle!