I love the feeling of a clean car! It makes me feel ready to tackle the errands I have for the day. In contrast to when my van is covered in snack crumbs and random children’s shoes. That’s just not a good feeling. So for today’s task, we’re sharing how to minimize your car stuff, how to get a deeper clean, and how to keep your car sparkling!
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Minimize Your Car Stuff
One of the simplest ways to keep your car clean is to minimize the stuff you actually keep in your car!
Here’s a helpful list of some of the paper essentials (think insurance info) and other items that you will likely need in your car.
As you are simplifying, don’t forget to keep emergency supplies in your car! This jump starter has helped me several times and is easy to use if you’re like me and don’t know a lot about cars. We’ll be refreshing our winter car emergency kits soon. Make sure you have the supplies that are appropriate for your climate and travel plans.
Deep Clean Car Tips
Clean out cars with a few baskets or bags.
Mariah and I both clean out our cars with the “basket or bag” method. Have 1 receptacle for trash, 1 for recycling, and 1 for stuff to take inside. Sort through your car like a tornado and put the inside stuff away right away!
We both like using shop-vacs for car cleaning because they have all the attachments you need. Plus they last for years and are handy for other jobs! My children love vacuuming our vehicles. After we vacuum my family likes to use these Armor All leather wipes for the seats.
Make your car smell good!
Clean smell = clean feeling. I’ve used this car freshener scent, and it’s a great motivator to keep the car picked up to match the good smell! We’ve also heard good reviews about essential oil car diffusers and will update this post if we find one we love.
DIY car detailing tips.
We’re not professional car cleaners. But Best Auto Detailing Tips has great information about car detailing DIY for beginners.
Have your car professionally detailed.
We try to go the DIY route when we can, but we treat our minivan to a professional detailing at least annually. Groupon is our favorite source for finding an awesome deal! Also, new small detailers will often have promotional rates as they’re building a client base.
Keeping Your Car Clean
Clean your car on a regular schedule.
Work on developing the habit of taking out items daily to make cleaning easier, like taking care of wrappers and water bottles. Tara is helping her children remember to take in their personal items after each trip.
Joey and I used to be diligent about doing a deeper car cleaning weekly. It kept our car looking nice most of the time. We noticed a big decline in how our car looked when we slipped in this habit! We’ve been doing it again the past few months, and our minivan especially is staying much nicer all week.
Use car organizers.
I LOVE this foldable car organizer! We have two that we bought three years ago and they still look like new even with a lot of use. My husband has kept supplies handy when he was working as a house contractor. We also have kept emergency kit items and extra baby and kid supplies like diapers and wipes, blankets, and a spare outfit.
Consider your essential car items and find the most practical storage solution to keep your car neat!
Other Challenge Task Ideas If You Don’t have a Car
No car? Choose another task that will improve your transportation experience!
Pump your bike tires or do other bike maintenance.
Two Youtube videos to get you started: Essential Bike Maintenance Tips or this 1 Hour Bike Tuneup both from Global Cycling Network and
Or clean your favorite pair of shoes for walking around campus or your city!
WikiHow teaches you how to clean several types of shoes in this tutorial.
Please share your best car cleaning tips below!
If you would like to see the other challenge posts, go to Refresh Your Fall Challenge. We’d love to have you join us!
Awesome tips! Thanks for sharing 🙂
These are great tips! I live in an apartment and cleaning my car is a chore … but I found these ideas really helpful. I do not have a car organizer and think that would be very helpful too.
These are great tips! I am not using a car organizer, but think that would be very helpful for me.
Great tips!! I love a clean car, and I’m totally going to check out the foldable car organizer!
I always feel like the best way to have a clean car is to not let it get messy to begin with… but easier said than done, right! Now you’ve inspired me to get back at it. Thx!
That’s so true Julie! Prevention is better than most of these cures 🙂 -Maegan
I really need to do this! I can’t even remember the last time my car smelled good! ? Thanks for the inspiration – it will go to good use this weekend!
This is fantastic! Love these tips. Cleaning out my car is top of my to do list this week, and now I have a plan. Thank you!
My pleasure, it’s on my to-do list this week too! -Maegan
When my car is clean, I feel sooo much better! Great tips!
Yes, it’s an amazing feeling! Thanks for reading! -Maegan
My husband needs to read this post. Cleaning the car is his part of the chore 😀
Ugh! My car is never clean simply because I am driving to and from the barn everyday and transporting horse stuff all the time! It is so hard to keep clean! Otherwise, it is very organized! 🙂 Thanks for the tips!
I let out a gasp when I opened the door to my backseat this afternoon. It wasn’t pretty. I’m fairly confident you could put together an entire happy meal from what I found back there. I feel so much better about my life when my car is clean – need to add to my to-do this weekend!
Oh I need to pass this along to my husband. He’s a house call PT and basically lives in his car all day and it’s a wreck. Great tips!
Love this!! So many great ideas! One of the things I do with my essential oils in the car is take a cotton swab and drops of essential oils on that and put it in my air vent! It works great and is cheap! 🙂
That’s a great idea! I’d like to learn more about essential oils. I’ve only used a few but have enjoyed using the oils I’ve tried.
I love having a clean car. I used to be better at keeping it clean, but once my youngest was born it became harder to clear out the whole car every time and wrangle three kids into the house. It was way easier to do with two! Now, I clean the whole car out once a week and try to minimize what goes into it.
Yes, getting kids in and out makes things more complicated! When I’m on the ball I get everyone to bring in their items, but sticking to a weekly cleanout schedule has been best for this stage of life for me also. -Maegan
this reminds me that I really need to clean out my car! everything ends up living in there!
I hate cleaning my car, but I love how it feels when it’s clean. We use my car for the dogs, so the back is always covered in dog hair. I should be better about vacuuming in there…I am good about air fresheners though. I don’t want my car to smell like dogs!
Love this and I need to do all of these things!
Nice and helpful tips that car owners can follow through to maintain their cars.
We’re so glad you found them helpful! Thank you!