A Busy Mom’s Guide to a Clean Car

After becoming moms, it didn’t take much time for us to realize that the days where we enjoyed a clean car were LONG GONE! The pristine, shiny interior that once was, is now, only a distant memory.

Instead of cleaning up spilled lattes from our long work commutes, we are now faced with with the challenge of cleaning milk, puke and lord knows what else from every single crevice of our vehicles.

It’s funny because we were inspired to write this post one day after Meghan noticed an old gooey Goldfish stuck to the passenger side of her car door.  Naturally she picked it up to throw it out, but by habit, she ate it instead.



Ok, well admittedly, not the most noble moment in the world, but at least you’re now laughing because you know you’ve done it once or twice before too.

You may not believe us from the previous description, but we have found a few simple ways to keep our cars decently clean while we chauffeur our munchkins around town.

a busy mom's guide to a clean car

Keep these clever tips in mind to make sure your car isn’t voted “Nastiest MOM CAR of the Year”:

Suit Up:

Today there are some pretty handy products out there that help protect your car from your kids.  Make sure that you add a few of these to your registry or shopping lists so that you car is kid-proof and ready!

  1. Seat Protectors:  Car seats can be hard on your car’s upholstery,  so can spilled snacks.  Installing these babies underneath your car seats makes cleaning up SO much easier because they act as a catch all!
  2. Kick Mats: The back of your seats will take a beating after your kids kick and wipe their feet across the back of your front seat with their muddy sneakers.  These kick mats will protect your upholstery and help organize gadgets and items that you may need in the car. Don’t skip these!
  3. A Small Car Trash Can:  If you don’t snag one of these, you too will be eating nasty Goldfish at stoplights. Keep it in a place where you can conveniently chuck the wipes & junk that you collect during your daily rides. Don’t forget to empty that sucker!
  4. An Organizer: This one isn’t a complete MUST have, but is a good idea if you like to keep toys and entertainment in the car for your kids.  You just never know when you will be in a situation where the kids have to be patient and behaved.  It’s nice to have a place to put those things rather than on the floor of the car.

Don’t Leave Home Without – WIPES

Baby wipes, hand-sanitizing wipes, microfiber wipes. Whatever your preference may be…buy in bulk and keep them coming. There will be a time when you leave home without wipes and disaster strikes.

Don’t learn the lesson the hard way, read about Jenn’s side of the road, dog diarrhea catastrophe here.  After reading that one, we promise you’ll always have wipes on hand!

Your kids will scream, “I have a bloody nose,” and the next thing you know you’ll be handing them your brand new t-shirt.  Do you want to be forced make a u-turn so you can change your clothes?  Refer back to said trash can to keep this mess all in one place.  Didn’t believe us about the trash can? You can also chuck them on the floor and toss in the garbage at your next destination….this real life after all.

Choose Wisely

At first we wanted to stick to our guns and not allow snacks in the car, but let’s be real here, a screaming child while your stuck in rush hour traffic doesn’t care about your unrealistic rules.  So just listen to this….choose your snacks wisely. Yogurt pouches are no match for a pair of fumbly toddler hands. It is guaranteed that the yogurt will end up being shot across the car before you leave the driveway.  

Be smart about what you are letting your kids eat in the car and your car will thank you!

Develop a System

We get it, some people might not be as particular about their cars.  If you like the space you spend time in to be tidy, create a system.

We have found systems that helps us keep our cars more tidy. Jenn likes to remove EVERYTHING from the car at the end of the day and vacuums the crumbs up on Fridays.  Meg likes to let her car become a hot mess if the trash isn’t nearby…then cleans it on the weekend. To each is their own!

Most moms end up living in their cars… and with kids it gets messy. Period. No matter how often clean your car, it probably won’t be pristine again until the kids move out of the house. So to save your sanity and some elbow grease, adjust your expectations embrace the new norm.

Crumbs are the new cool now right?

Do you like a clean car?  Did we miss any awesome car cleaning tricks that you LOVE?

Share your ideas with us in the comments below!