This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure for more details.
Do you say a little prayer before you and your friends hop in your car, hoping that they won’t smell anything that may still be lurking in your vehicle? Or worse, if they caught a glimpse of the years of accumulated things that you have miraculously stuffed under the seats? Yikes.
With having kids, it seems like most families can say that majority of their time is spent in the car. Running errands, dropping off/picking up kids from school, rushing to make soccer practice on time, and everything else in between. That much time in the car takes a serious toll on your car’s interior. Not to mention, the smell of stinky feet, stale fast food, old laundry, and something that you just can’t find the words to describe its lingering unpleasant smell.
Our family vehicle stays clean. However, that has only been possible because we clean our vehicle daily even with a full-time schedule and two messy kids.
Our daily car cleaning routine takes minimal effort and time. It’s easy and the whole family can help. Our cleaning philosophy is that it is better to maintain daily than to make it a full day project on another day. We apply that to our home and our vehicles.
I’ll share our best daily car cleaning tips and our three favorite car hacks that will help you keep your car clean and organized even despite the extensive amount of time being spent in it with kids.
Our Daily Car Cleaning Tips
- Whatever is brought in at the start of the trip goes out at the end of the trip. No exceptions.
Through trial and error we have found that the easiest way to clear a vehicle is by separating items into bins We have two medium-sized plastics bins (like these). One is used for trash and the other is for items (hats, shoes, sports equipment, etc.) Before anyone can exit the vehicle (including kids) we place all items in either one of the bins. Once everything is removed, we take the bins inside and toss the trash, and then put the other items away. Easy.
- Sticky Cup Holders No More!
We have plastic inserts that makes cleaning up sticky messes in the cup holders and the consoles pretty easy. We remove the inserts as we get out of the car and run them through the dishwasher to come out all clean and sanitized. The next time we hop in the car we just put the plastic inserts back where they go. If the girls don’t make a sticky mess in the cup holders then we don’t take the plastic inserts out.
If you don’t have any plastic inserts in your cup holders then you may be able to find some that fit your vehicle through an automotive store or online. Using cupcake liners is another option.
- Dust/Wipe Inside Windows While Waiting In Passenger Loading
While the toddler and I wait for our school-ager to get out of school we wipe down the inside of the car. We keep a couple of short-handle disposable dusters in the glove department. It becomes a game to quickly dust the inside of the car down before our oldest gets out of school. We also have window wipes in our car to get those darling handprint murals off the window. They are also good to get the grime off the buttons, dashboard, and interior mirrors. I finally purchased a microfiber window cleaner for the front windshield (like this). I am so glad that I don’t have to try and reach to clean the inside of the windshield anymore.
- Quick Vac
This one is not a necessity but since I make such an effort to keep our family vehicle clean I make sure to vacuum it after our outings. It got a little tiring to haul out the shop vac to vacuum it out all the time so we purchased a vacuum for the car. I love this one (here) because I can plug it in my car and it has so many options to pivot and stretch to reach those tight areas. The car vacuum folds up and is ready for quick clean ups.
- Sweet Not Stinky
Even with keeping our vehicle fry-free it can still brew a few odors. We love our essential oil diffuser (like this one) because we can use natural essential oils to dispense a fine mist that removes airborne chemicals.
I’ve also included three of my favorite car hacks:
Check out the DIY Bag “Seatbelt” clips for the car on Little Miss Dexterous. I saw Tara’s tutorial for these seatbelt clips and can’t wait to make a few. I love how these allow for the bags to hang lower than just using a carabiner.
Check out DIY Dollar Store First Aid Kit for You Car + FREE Printable Labels and Shopping list on Mama Cheaps. Every car should have a first aid kit and Devon from Mama Cheaps has put together a great first aid kit with printable labels and a shopping list.
Check out the Auto Organizer on A Day In My Life. An auto organizer is a great way to keep auto documents nice and tidy in the glove department.
Do you have any car hacks or cleaning tips that help keep your family vehicle clean?