Car organization is important.
According to a study done by the Harvard Health Watch, the average American spends 101 minutes per day driving (which equates to a staggering 37,935 hours driving a car in a lifetime!)
Think about that. Just let that settle in! Yeah. Wow. We spend a lot of time in our vehicles.
Therefore, most of us want to be in an environment that’s clean and organized which in turn reduces stress, saves us embarrassment when someone else has to get in our car and improves safety.
This important (and a few embarrassments along the way) actually inspired me to create HappyChappy’s Car Trash Can and Backseat Car Organizer. But I also developed some other pretty nifty tips and tricks along the way to keep my car clean, reduce clutter from accumulating and to protect my investment.
So let’s get started…
How to Clean Your Car Interior (Effectively and Efficiently)
Before we look at the tips, tricks and tool for prevention, we need to address the current issue. Let’s get that car interior clean!
What’s needed for the job?
- Soft cloth
- Alcohol (no, not that kind of alcohol!)
- Baking soda
- Old shaker
- Spray bottle
- Essential oil
- Vacuum cleaner (preferably a carpet cleaner which you could rent from a rental store – not imperative, but helpful)
1. Don’t look down!
That’s a lie. You’re going to have to have a look under that seat. I know, I know. Not what you imagined you’d be doing when you woke up this morning, but this step is necessary before anything else.
Anything that doesn’t need to (or shouldn’t) be in your car – get rid of it. I’m talking the larger things that a vacuum won’t get (wrappers, toys, bottles, etc.) For Mom’s and Dad’s out there, there is likely a few surprises under the back seat and in some of those seat cracks and crevices. We’ve all been there. Perhaps that’s why we procrastinate? 🙂
This is where a car trash can really comes in handy – you (or your kids) can just throw your coffee cup, wrappers, cans, etc. in there as you go, contain it and then empty as needed. No need for this stage in the future!
2. Shake the floor mats out
3. Vacuum-up those cheerios!
Come on. I bet you’ll find at least 3 cheerios. Minimum. How did they even end up in there?
Vacuum anywhere you can fit the nozzle: Your seats, floor carpets, mats, dashboard, console, door panels, under the pedals and the trunk.
You can also use a small, soft brush (preferably a detailing brush if you happen to have one) for your air vents. Be sure to have the vacuum ready to suck up the dust you find.
4. Wipe down surfaces and Polish until your heart’s content
Car cleaning wipes are expensive! As a cheaper and just as ef- fective alternative – try baby wipes to eliminate dust and dirt. It may be worth storing a pack of these in your glove compartment or car organizer for those all-too-often (inconvenient) spills and messes!
Then spray a small amount of polish to the area and spread evenly to buff. Remember to avoid the stereo and any other electrical parts.
5. Recapture that new car smell!
Everyone loves that new car smell. Here’s a tip from Clean Mama on how you can quickly and very inexpensively freshen those car carpets:
Homemade Carpet Freshener/Deodorizer
- 2 cups baking soda
- 10-20 drops essential oil
- Container with a shaker top
- Place the baking soda in a ziplock bag or a jar and add the essential oil.
- Leave for 24 hours so that the baking soda soaks up the oils
- Store in an old shaker
- Sprinkle on your carpets. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes (or longer!) and then vacuum up
6. Q-tips & Cup Holders
Cup holders are often overlooked.
A cloth may do the trick for the bulk of the cup holder, but to get those edges, take a Q-tip and dip it into water, cleaning solution or vinegar and scrub the hard to reach areas.
7. Vinegar, Alcohol and Window Cleaner!
Windows – Forget Windex. Mix 1 cup water, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 alcohol in a spray bottle and presto! You have an eco-friendly, inexpensive window cleaner.
8. Zapping Stains
Seat stains & mats can also be tackled with equal parts water and vinegar, applied to stained area to soak for a few minutes. Use a wet cloth to blot up.
Ok now we’ve been through the tips and tricks to clean your car’s interior efficiently and effectively, let’s move on to the next stage.
Keeping Your Car Clean and Organized
It’s one thing getting your car clean. It’s another to keep it that way.
Today I’m going to help you put the processes (and gadgets) in place to make this a no-brainer going forward. Think of this part as an investment. Set things up now so later, you don’t waste the most valuable commodity of them all: Time.
9. Make the Glove Compartment Useful
Why do we still call it a Glove Box / Compartment? It’s been a while since we used it for gloves. I digress!
Mine used to be stuffed full with receipts, napkins, and car documents until I came across this excellent idea suggested by Sarah over at confetti and other fun.
You can just keep it basic and have folders for:
- Car insurance
- In case of emergency (contacts)
- Car maintenance receipts
- Car handbook
10. Bring Order to the Backseat Chaos with a Car Organizer!
A car organizer is the simplest way to store your kids’ iPad, crayons, books, toys and stuffed animals. If you or your spouse travels often in the car for work, keep bottles, razors, magazines in the various compartments. For family travel to the beach for in- stance, you could keep sunscreen at the ready, sunglasses, hats, etc.
The Backseat Car Organizer by HappyChappy is specifically designed to fit any vehicle, our organizer helps you effortlessly reduce clutter, conveniently store essentials (or toys!) and protect your seats from your kids kicking feet!
11. Plastic Bags at the Ready!
Gina over at CampClem suggests using an old Kleenex box stuffed with plastic shopping bags for trash, wet clothes, diapers or recycling. You can keep that under the seat, in a car organizer or in the trunk. Easy.
12. Shouldn’t every car come with a Car Trash Can?
Just think…No more litter under your car seats!
OK, I can’t guarantee that but it’s the simplest, most elegant way to contain trash and makes emptying easy.
- Designed to fit any vehicle – Cars, SUVs, Trucks, Boats, Vans, RVs and more!
- Quick & Easy Installation – No assembly required
- Protects your carpets & upholstery (leak-proof lining)
- Saves time & eliminates the stress of car cleanup
- Easy to clean and empty
- Keep essential items in arms-reach
- Child friendly
13. Puppies Be Chillin’
Protect your car’s back seats from dirt, scratches, and dander with a Dog hammock/seat cover.
14. Mom’s Little Emergency Kit
Angie at Echoes of Laughter came up with an elegant way to organize her emergency supplies. I think this is an excellent way to store the various objects and keep it in your glove compartment. The only thing I’d suggest is keeping a couple of bottles of water somewhere in your car should you breakdown and need them.
15. Car Seat Hangers
A simple way to hang grocery/shopping bags from the back seat without having to worry about the contents flying out or heavier bags crushing your eggs and bread!
16. On-the-Go Snack Basket
We all know that we make better diet decisions at home when we’re prepared. The same goes for when you’re on the road.
This tip comes from The Realistic Mama with this on-the-go snack basket. Why not implement this one today? All you really need are some good food options (fruit, nuts, etc.) and a basket and you’re in business! In terms of organization, this basket prevents you from having bits and bobs all over the place and is just another solid way to keep items contained to one place.
Also, don’t forget to check out our list of 51 Car Organization Hacks, Tips & Tricks!
Over To You…
Did you try and of these tips/tricks? What did you think? Any additional tips would you like to share with others? Let us know in the comments section below!
Thanks for reading and just remember the old saying: Tidy Car, Tidy Mind.
It’s something like that, right? Well…I’m coining it!