Why Does My Car Collect Junk? How to Clean the Inside of Your Car

Why Does My Car Collect Junk? How to Clean the Inside of Your Car

Does your car simply collect junk no matter how hard you try to keep it clean? If you have children, how to clean the inside of your car and keep it that way is even more of a challenge. My car seems to just collect things even though I do my best to keep it nice inside. Cleaning out my car on a regular basis isn’t an easy task, either.

My Ice Blue Ford Focus with Sync - Love it!
My Ice Blue Ford Focus with Sync – Love it!

I love my little ice blue, Ford Focus with Sync technology. It gets great gas mileage (37 to 38 on Interstate), is cute and is fun to drive. Even though it is small, this little car has some get up and go when I need for it to have that. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a car that I love as much as this one.

How to Clean the Inside of Your Car

I want to keep it in pristine condition, I truly do. Enter again, my kids. I can clean out my car and within one day they have clutter back in it. School papers, notebooks, books they are reading, clothes, shoes and purses are just a few of the things I clean out of my car on a weekly basis. Some things I do:

  • Throw out trash every time we return home.
  • Insist the kids take their “stuff” inside with them.
  • Vacuum the car out once a week on the same day.
  • Enlist the kids’ help wiping down the interior of the car.
  • Run the car through a car wash at least once a month.

Keeping Car Clean When You Have Kids

The other day, my youngest wanted some of my cover up for a blemish she had on her face. It is foundation that you pump out of the bottle. This normally wouldn’t have been a problem, except that I was driving. Being the good example that I am, I fished around in my purse for the bottle, shook the ingredients up really well and proceeded to have her hold her finger out for a little squirt of the foundation.

Unfortunately, the end of the bottle was clogged and when I hit that pump trigger, the plug popped out and foundation exploded all over the inside of my car. Now, I need to take a toothbrush and some gentle cleanser and attempt to get creamy natural foundation off my dash and steering gear. Joy!

Tips on How to Clean the Inside of Your Car

How to Clean the Inside of Your Car Video


Car Interior Cleaning Tips

  1. Use soda to remove bugs from the front of your car. Wash and rinse immediately.
  2. Utilize a toothbrush and some diluted laundry detergent to remove makeup and grime from upholstery. 
  3. Grab a cotton swap to dust between air vents and around small spaces.
  4. Use a shop vac to get up debris from the floor.
  5. Rent or borrow a carpet cleaner to freshen up seats and floorboards.
  6. Get in the habit of checking your shoes for dirt before getting inside the car.
  7. Throw trash away immediately. Never let it collect where it can create bad smells.
  8. Keep a small plastic bag inside to collect trash and throw it out immediately upon returning home.
  9. Buy bins to hold toys or sports equipment in one easy to locate spot.

Save Money and Keep Your Car Interior Clean Tips

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of ways to help keep my car clean and save a little money along the way. I hate spending money on car washes and detailing, so these tips cut down drastically on the need for those. 

Set Some Car Rules

Set some firm rules for anyone who rides in your car. Ask them to grab trash when you make a stop, rather than allowing them to leave empty soda cans or empty bags of chips behind. Your children can get in the habit of helping you keep things neat and tidy. Just be consistent.

Take Advantage of the Rain

If you know a storm is coming, go ahead and suds your car up and let the rain wash the soap off. If the rain doesn’t come, you’ll have to pull out the hose, but if it does you’ll get a free car wash. Yep, I am that cheap.

Get Car Washes in the Winter

I do go ahead and pay for car washes in the winter months, specifically when the Department of Transportation (DOT) puts salt down on the roadways. Salt can eat at your paint and the underside of your car. A simple hosing off won’t get that salt off the under carriage. Go ahead and pay for a wash that gets all that off for you. It will save you money in the long run on wear and tear. 

One thing we do is buy a book of car washes and share them over the winter. You typically get one free wash when you buy a book of them.

Invest in a Shop Vac

I do recommend you buy a powerful little shop vac. You’ll save on paying for the vacuum at the car wash and you’ll be more likely to keep your car clean if you have one on hand. You can also use the shop vac for other things, such as sweeping around baseboards in your home and getting into nooks and crannies.

Condition Leather

Do you have leather seats? If so, take the time to take care of them. The longer they last without flaking and peeling, the easier it is to resale your car or keep it longer.

Use Baby Wipes

Pick up some inexpensive baby wipes. Keep them in your car to mop up any unexpected spills immediately. You might also want to keep a Tide stick on hand to work on any spilled food or stains.

Buy Organizers

A few well-placed back of seat organizers can keep your kids occupied and their belongings organized.

Should You Allow Your Kids to Eat in the Car?

Let’s face it – we live in a world with a hectic pace. Your typical day may look like this:

  • You get up at 6 a.m. and make the entire family breakfast, clean up, feed the dog and rush everyone out the door.
  • Drop the kids at school, drop the dog at doggie daycare, go to work.
  • You spend your lunch hour running to the dry cleaners and calling your son’s teacher about a problem he is having in math class.
  • After work, you pick the kids up from school, the dog up from daycare and rush your son to soccer practice.
  • By the time you get home, there is homework, baths and getting ready for another busy day.

There really isn’t much time in there to make and eat dinner, so for many families, grabbing a fast food hamburger and chowing down in the car on the way to soccer practice is the best option on that day. Whether or not you let your kids eat in the car depends on your family schedule. You certainly shouldn’t feel guilty if you need to let them eat that way. There are far worse things you can do to your children and we’re all only human with only so many hours in a day.

Any cleaning tip or household tip that makes your life easier is worthwhile.

A Clean Car Isn’t Impossible

Luckily, the girls are getting a little older. As I vacuumed out the floor, I found one shriveled up McDonald’s French fry under the floor mat that had missed the diner’s mouth. Or maybe they were saving it for later? At least this latest car doesn’t have chewing gum on the floor or red Kool-aid stains.

Crabby Housewife

AuthorCrabby Housewife

Lori is a full-time housewife and writer, living in the Midwest with her husband of 28 years - they have two daughters. They have a house full of pets and her house is never quite perfect.