12 Tips for Keeping the Family Car Always Clean

Children and dirt. Children and dirt and car interiors. Yes, parents, we feel you. With the cold weather and the rain, it’s even easier for children and their clothes and shoes to get dirty.

We don’t have tips for the best ways to keep your kids from getting dirty, but we do have tips for keeping your car interior clean.

  1. Cover the seats.

Child car seats will be even more susceptible to getting dirty during the wet and cold months. Kids will put their hands and feet on anything within reach, and without eight hands, you can’t always wipe or pat them clean before they get in the car. But you can get removable, washable seat covers. 

  1. Keep disposable garbage bags handy. 

Have a roll within reach, as with kids, you never know when they end up spilling or dropping something. To be safe, make it a rule not to eat in the car, baby or toddler being the only exemption, of course. 

But on occasions when eating in the car cannot be avoided, say when you’re in a hurry and someone’s really hungry (or all of you are), or on road trips when eating in the car is part of the fun, the disposable garbage bags will save you a whole lot of effort in cleaning up. Plus, you can get the older kids to clean up after themselves at the end of the trip.

  1. Keep barf bags handy as well.

Children get carsick at the most inopportune times, so be sure there are barf bags in the back-of-seat pockets and in the glove compartment.

  1. Always travel with motion sickness medication.

Or you can give the small ones a motion sickness pill. Just make sure to check with your pediatrician first to be safe.

  1. Take frequent rest breaks if on a long drive.

Rest stops means kids can pee, and you can clean them up with soap and water (ideally). Plus, if someone needs to be sick, they might as well do so in a rest stop bathroom.

  1. Invest in a car trash bin.

While you’re at it, might as well get a car trash bin, if you haven’t yet. 


  1. Always have baby wipes within reach.

If you have a baby/toddler, have packets of baby wipes in your bag, and in your car. Not only are they great for wiping sticky hands and faces and cleaning up minor messes, they’re also good for wiping down the dashboard and door handles, as well as cleaning bird poo or tree sap off the windscreen.

  1. Put in floor mats.

Get good-quality floor mats that you can remove for easier cleaning and vacuuming. You protect your car floor from mud and mess and lessen the amount of effort required for cleanup.

  1. Have spare clothes in the car.

Having a change of clothes ready when needed is one way to keep dirt, grime, and mud from transferring onto your car upholstery—even if you have seat covers.

  1. Keep some towels handy as well.

Especially in the wet months, having a spare towel will go a long way in keeping your car seats and carpet from getting wet or dirty or both. 

  1. Go for zero-mess food and snacks.

If you must eat in the car, then at least make sure you’re eating food that will not result in a crumbs ending up on the seat and the floor. Choose food that you can pop in your mouth in one bite at a time. And if at all possible, avoid soups. 

  1. Always have a stain remover handy.

Spills can’t be avoided when you have kids, so might as well be prepared. 

Regularly wash your car.

Having kids in the car is all the more reason never to miss a wash schedule for your car. This ensures that any stray bits and crumbs of food, dirt, grime, etc., are removed in time.

A family car will take a lot of beating, but it will also be a place for so many memorable moments for your family. Keep it in good shape for as long as you can—not just because you want to avoid buying a new car too soon or the cost of expensive repairs and cleanup, but also because it’s another place you and your family share a lot of moments together. 

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