How to Clean Up Your Messy Car (And Keep it That Way)

woman cleaning her car with a vacuum cleanerlightpoet / Shutterstock

If you spend a lot of time in your car, whether to get to work, commute with the kids or both, you know how messy things can get. Here's how to put things in order and keep it that way to prevent your car from turning into an embarrassing dumpster.

Messy cars arrive easily, even if you are the only person in your vehicle. You get a fast food and drop a fries or two. You throw a tissue or towel on the side to pick it up later, it is only later than ever. The change falls from your pockets. Sand and gravel come into your shoes.

Just like cleaning your home or maintaining your yard, keeping your car clean is an ongoing project, but you can do some things to better organize your car and make cleaning less tedious.

Let's start with cleaning the car so we can work with a new slate, and then look at the tips and habits to keep it clean.

Cleaning your messy car

There is a big difference between getting your car's details to the point where it looks fresh in the showroom and just getting things in order. There is something to be said for cleaning a car to the point of using q-tips in tiny crevices, but if that's not your style, all that really matters if you clean the car properly to eliminate waste, debris and dust.

Empty your car

The first step in cleaning your messy car is to remove all the content, be it garbage, clutter or your favorite CDs. Remove the floor mats while you are there. You can as well do a thorough cleaning while you are there.

Throw the garbage in the trash and set things that must go back in the car to the side. All that remains must be placed wherever it is inside your home or garage.


Take a hand vacuum and vacuum every nook and cranny of your car. You will not be surprised at what's hidden under your seats (and also in the seats). If you do not have a vacuum cleaner at home, take your car to a car wash and use it.

Vacuum the floor mats. If you have plastic mats, you can use the hose to clean them, then let them air-dry while you rearrange your car. Some self-cleaning bay-style car washes will have clips on the wall of the bay where you can clip your carpets and use the spray lance to clean them thoroughly. If so, you can spray them and take them home to dry in the sun.

Wipe the surfaces

The final step is to grab paper towels or microfiber cloths and clean the surfaces of your car. If you want to stick strictly to pragmatic things, the only thing to do is to use a little window cleaner and a cloth to clean the inside of your windshield and the interior windows. Over time, the glass accumulates and it is very difficult to see clearly in the sun or driving at night.

If you have more time, clean the dashboard and other surfaces to remove dust and dirt from the road.

Keep your car clean

Now that dirt and clutter are avoided, it's time to set a plan to better organize your vehicle, so you do not have as much damage to clean next time. It's also time to store everything in your car, including your floor mats.

The key is to have a place for everything and a plan to move things that do not belong (like that empty cup of coffee from your ride) to your place of residence or trash.

Use your trunk and glove box

There are some things you need to keep in your vehicle that are better stored in the trunk or glove box, but they also need their own organizers. Keep your proof of insurance and registration in a bag in your glove box, along with your vehicle's manual. This makes it easier to enter these papers when needed.

Keep a vehicle emergency kit with starter cables, a flashlight, and tools in your trunk. You can buy them as kits in zipper cases, which allow everything to stay together and away from shopping and other items that travel in your trunk.

S & # 39; organize

Hang the organizers (such as those hung on closet doors to store jewelry) on the back of your front car seats to allow children to store their toys, books and other unwanted items in their car . , leaving the car in a messy state, and making it easier for you to clean when it's time to vacuum again. The are tons of models on Amazon in all kinds of shapes, colors and sizes.

Organizers can also be useful in the trunk. You can use a small bin to store your items, which will prevent them from rolling in the trunk.

Get a trash can

Invest in a small bin to keep it in your car. You can put it on the floor at the back or even get small foldable which can be attached to the back of the console or to other places in the car. Keep a plastic bag and change it each time you fill it or throw away fast food leftovers inside. This will help keep your car clean and prevent it from becoming stinky at this point.

Find a house for CDs

If you're still listening to CDs in your car and CD cases are floating on your car, get them out of there with a visor organizer. You will have room for a few CDs. They will be placed above the seats and will allow you to recover them when you change your music!

Align your cupholders

Cup holders are one of the spots in cars where the grossest things happen. The drinks overflow, the crumbs fall in and become sticky and coarse. You can avoid this by investing in silicone cupcake liners. These liners are easy to clean and will not prevent your cup holder from doing its job. Of course, if you have removable cup holders, simply remove them to wash them once a week (or when a spill occurs).

Take it with you

Another way to not clutter your car is to take it with you. When you arrive at the office, bring your coffee cup to the office with you. When you return home after this long drive, bring your fast food bag and mail so that you can dispose of garbage or pay your bills.

If you clean your vehicle when you leave, you will have less work to do when you clean it every week or every month!

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