Summertime, and the livin’ is easy – but not for your car! Most families do extra driving in the summer: vacations, weekend adventures, trips to the pool or beach, outings to the ice cream store, etc. Your poor car’s interior takes a beating. Here are the top 10 tips for keeping it clean and organized.
1. Get Rid of Trash
You can’t keep your car clean if it’s not clean to begin with. Time for an initial spring car cleaning. Take your car to a car wash for a complete cleaning inside and out. Or save money by doing the interior cleaning yourself. Start by getting rid of all the trash that probably has accumulated on the floors, under the seats, in the console and glove box, and on the back ledge.
2. Vacuum Everywhere
Shake out the floor mats and then vacuum everywhere. Don’t forget under and between the seats, down in all the seat crevices, and the backs of sun visors.
3. Clean Surfaces, Windows, and Mirrors
Wipe down all hard surfaces with wet wipes or with an all-purpose spray cleaner and paper towels. Clean the windows and mirror the same way. Use wet cotton swabs for hard-to-reach places, such as cup holders and air vents.
4. Hang a Car Deodorizer
Whew! That was hard work, but everything looks almost new, so reward yourself. Hang a car deodorizer from your rearview mirror. It’s unobtrusive, and you can buy one at any car wash. They come in all shapes and scents – some even smell like a new car.
5. Organize the Glove and Console Boxes
Put a first aid kit in your glove box for those little roadside emergencies. Some of today’s first aid kits are self-organized and fold up to the size of a woman’s clutch purse. Also add a small box of wet wipes for cleaning dirty or dusty hands and dusting interior surfaces whenever needed. Don’t forget to put in several packets of tissues for those inevitable sneezes and runny noses.
6. Install Trash Bags
It’s a continuing mystery why cars don’t come equipped with trash bags. All families need one, maybe two. For front-seat trash, try looping the handles of a plastic grocery sack over your center console or emergency brake. It may not be aesthetically pleasing, but it works. When it’s full, just remove, tie up the handles, and dump the whole thing in your household trash bin. Be sure to carry extra bags in your glove box or trunk.
For back-seat trash, buy a combination trash can and tissue holder that hangs from a front-seat headrest. Not only does it have a roomy trash bin and place to securely put a full-size box of tissues, but it even has a side pocket for a travel mug and a front pocket for a video game or DVD.
7. Hang a Back-Seat Organizer
Buy a back-seat organizer to hang from the other front-seat headrest. This is fantastic for kids, with plenty of pockets for toys, books, games, and snacks, plus two more pockets for travel mugs.
8. Get a Cooler Bag for Groceries
An insulated cooler bag doesn’t take up much room on the floor between the front and back seats and will make summer grocery shopping much more pleasant. You can also put it in the trunk.
9. Cover Seats During Pool Trips
Take extra towels along on trips to the pool or beach to cover your seats on the way home and prevent spots and stains from wet bathing suits.
10. Don’t Forget Fido
Nothing is worse than dog hair all over your car’s upholstery unless it’s that wet-dog smell that imbeds itself in upholstery and lingers forever. Buy a waterproof dog-hammock or seat cover that lets Fido ride in comfort while protecting your back seats.
By following these 10 tips, your summertime livin’ really will be easy and your car will thank you for keeping it clean.