5 Easy Tips for a Clean Car, Even if Your Kids are Slobs

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This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. tips-for-keeping-a-clean-car-1

The other day I took my car through the Miracle Wash, the wash that vacuums, dusts, and gives cars a quick once over. They do an okay job, not super thorough, but for $20 I decided it was worth it. When my car came out of the line, the head guy said, “Ma’am, my guys missed a few spots so we’re gonna run it through again. Free of charge. Your car was really dirty.”

Oh yay! Just what everyone wants to hear, right? Your car was filthy. Well, I can give you every excuse about how we live on a mud road yadayadayada. It’s hard to keep a clean car when you live on a dirt road. Even the inside of the car is affected by the dirt. Everything is filthy. Always. But it doesn’t help that maybe we’re just slobs – reality is harsh, yes? Luckily, there are things we do which really do help keep the car cleaner – the inside at least – and I’m sharing these tips with you today! You people who live on dirt roads like me, well sadly the outside of our cars are just destined to always be dirty.  🙁 I’ve just accepted it and move on.


5 Easy Tips for a Clean Car, Even if Your Kids are Slobs

Here are the things I’ve found that have a big impact on the cleanliness of the inside of my car. These tips were learned first hand, most likely the hard way, like all the tips I share on this blog. 😀


Trash call at every gas fill up.

Keep trash bags in the car and have a trash call every single time you stop for gas. Always, my kids are quick to proclaim that they have no trash. But it’s rarely true. I’ve found that I have to keep hounding them until they give me something! Having a ready stash of grocery store bags to use as trash bags helps a lot.

Empty car each time it arrives home.

Remind the kids when you park the car that they need to remove all trash, library books, magazines, water bottles, shoes, socks, books, papers, sweaters, hats, gloves, bathing suits, apple cores, rocks, banana peels, towels, sticks, frogs, etc. When I start into my lecture my kids groan, “We know, Mom. You don’t have to tell us every single little detail.” But I DO! Because if I miss anything, they don’t take it out. And invariably the response is, “Well, you didn’t tell us that!” Seriously?! Everything should mean everything, but in the case of kids, it doesn’t.

The trip’s not over until the car is cleaned. And this is where I usually fall apart. The minute we get out of the car, everyone is distracted by something else and all the junk is left in the car even after repeated reminders to take it all inside. What we really need is a way to automatically turn off the wifi when the car hits the garage and a quick way to turn it back on again once the car has been emptied. That would do the trick without me having to nag. 

But since we don’t have this, it’s on you, Mom or Dad. Be relentless. Make your kids go back out to the car two, three, seventeen times. Whatever it takes for them to really empty it. After a few times, they will start doing it on their own with fewer reminders.

Take Fewer Items in the Car

Do kids really need to bring 25 books, 14 teddy bears, 4 sweaters, and 2 pairs of shoes each time you go out? Maybe yes on the shoes, depending on the kid, but I’ve tried hard to limit what goes into my car. If it’s not in there, it can’t be left behind. And that makes the emptying a lot quicker!

Eat Cleaner Snacks

I wish I could outlaw eating form the car altogether, but it’s just not possible. What I can do is limit what they’re allowed to eat in the car. Absolutely no ketchup or dipping sauces. Water only, preferably. Fewer snacks so they’re less likely to drop what they do have and then smash it all over the floor. Again, having trash bags helps keep all the food trash accounted for and out of drink holders.


Keep Cleaning Supplies in the Car

I’ve found it very helpful to keep a few things on hand in the car at all time. I’ve got a little box that I *try* to keep accessible that contains grocery store bags, paper towels, a microfiber cloth, and WaterWipes. The bags make excellent trash bags so my kids won’t throw their rotten fruit peels and cores into the drink holders. They also come in handy on the rare occasion when a kid needs to puke – yes, it’s happened in my car. The paper towels are helpful for spills or puke. The microfiber cloth is great to pull out of the box for a quick dust of the dashboard when I’m getting gas!


And wipes are just a necessity of life. I like the WaterWipes because they’re chemical-free with only two ingredients: 99.9% pure Irish water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract! They’re durable and effective without any of the potentially harmful chemicals that may be found in other baby wipes. My kids are older now, but wipes will always be in my car. Even adults need them sometimes! I grab WaterWipes at Walgreens in the baby aisle, and I’m happy to share a giveaway for 5 – $100 Walgreens gift cards so you can stock up too!

WaterWipes @Walgreens Giveaway!

  • Prize: One of five (5) $100 Walgreens gift cards
  • Dates: September 16 – October 7, 2016
  • Influence Central will randomly select winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes (5 winners).

WaterWipes Walgreens Giveaway

What secret tip do you have for keeping your car clean?

If you're sick of the mess, these 5 easy tips for a clean car will help you a lot. Tip #5 is the best! Make sure you have these things in your car too. AD

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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1 Comment

  1. These are great tips! I keep a cloth in my car for spills but I didn’t even think about using it for dusting, too.

    Water Wipes are the best, aren’t they? I really like that they’re so pure.