How to Keep Your Car Clean When You Just Don't Have the Time

Don’t you just love driving a clean car? Yeah, me too. Do I drive a clean car? Ha! If by clean you mean there is a space in the front seat carved out for my purse amongst the balled up napkins and Target purchases I meant to return, then yes. I would love to give my car a good detailing once a month, but it just doesn’t happen. So if you’re like me and you need a little help, I’ve put together this list of simple car cleaning hacks that help me to at least keep my car slightly presentable. 

Tips and hacks for cleaning your car

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1. Keep Baby Wipes in Your Car

Baby wipes in car for cleaning up spills

After my kids were done with diapers I swore I would never buy these again. 

But I was wrong. 

Baby wipes are one of the most useful items to have stashed away in your car. About to walk into church and your kids have breakfast on their face? Use a baby wipe. Did you spill some of your coffee in your cup holder? Use a baby wipe. Dirty windshield? Use a baby wipe. 

See what I mean?

2. Use Silicone Baking Liners in Your Cup Holders

Silicone cupcake liners for car cupholders

I hate having to clean up sticky spills and piles of crumbs out of my cup-holders. But if you insert a silicone baking liner all you have to do is remove and give it a quick rinse. You can find these silicone baking liners at Target oget them on Amazon.

3. Take a Look Around

Garage in car

Before you get out of the car, take a quick glance around you. 

See anything that doesn’t need to stay in the car? Grab as much as you can and either bring it inside or toss it. 

You’d be surprised how this simple practice will save you from being swallowed by your stuff.

4. Use a Wipes Container to Hold Plastic Bags

Trash bags in baby wipe container

We all have a surplus of plastic grocery bags laying around. We’ll work on saving the planet later, but for now you can put them to use. 

Save a baby wipe container or a Clorox wipe container and stuff it with plastic bags. I can’t tell you how many times I have been grateful to have a plastic bag handy. (Can you say, “car sick child?”)

5. Use Those Bags to Collect Trash

I have gotten into the habit of leaving a plastic bag hung somewhere in my car at all times. I either hang it on the armrest of one of the front seats or use that little hook that most cars have on the back of seats or near the front passenger seat. 

If there is somewhere to put the trash you are more likely to put it there instead of shoving it in your cup holder. It’s a novel idea really.

6. Invest in a car vacuum cleaner

Vacuuming car seats

This is one of those items I’ve had on my wishlist that I just need to bite the bullet on and buy. This one gets great reviews and it’s pretty affordable. It plugs into your cigarette lighter and everything fits into a bag small enough to stash in your trunk.

7. Use rubbing alcohol and microfiber cloths to clean your wipers

Wiping car and wipers with microfiber cloth

Stop wishing you could see better when it rains because your wipers just aren’t cutting it. Give them a quick wipe down with rubbing alcohol poured on a microfiber cloth. It will remove built up residue and extend the life of your wipers.

8. Essential Oil on a Clothespin

Essential Oil and Clothespins

Is it just me, or do cars develop a funk after a long road trip? 

Put those essential oils you bought on a whim to good use. Just put a few drops on a clothespin and clip onto your air vents. The smell is so much better than any of those store bought car air fresheners.

9. Use a shoe organizer on the back of seats

Not only can you store some of the essentials I mentioned above, but it will protect your seats from those little muddy feet. This one is not as long as most of the over the door hangers available and should be a good length for your car seats. 

10. Shake Out Your Car Mats

Shaking out car mats

Make a habit of shaking the dirt off your mats every now and then. You’ll have less build up over time and they will be easier to clean when you do finally get around to giving them a good scrub.

Give some of these tips a try and see if they make a difference. Better yet, try all of them! And when you’re done you should check out 14 Common Household Items You Can Use to Clean Your Car. I never would have thought of #13 as a cleaning tool!

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Tips and hacks for cleaning your car

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Little Boys asleep with mom

Hi! My name is Kim. I’m the mom of 3 boys, the wife to 1 husband, and the driver of a 2013 Toyota Sienna. I love Jesus and my family, I have an obsession with getting a good deal, and if I had it my way I’d spend every weekend at Disney World trying a new food shaped like a Disney character.

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