Driving the family car can sometimes feel a bit icky. No matter your kids’ ages, cleanliness can seem to go out the window when they’re in the car. If you want to keep your family car clean, there’re a few tricks and tips you’ll need to use. Some will work with small kids, others are a better fit for older ones.

It’s easy to think the worst mess is over when babies get past teething. No more half-munched rusks found stuck to seats, right? Sadly, there’s no such luck. The kind of mess just changes. My tweenager son still has a tendency to remove his shoes and socks. He leaves them to fester under the driver’s seat. Urgh.

It’s easier to love your car when it’s clean. When it’s a bin on wheels and wrappers escape every time you open doors, you’re more likely to be dreaming about a new car. Trouble is, even if you do replace your car, the mess will just build up again.

So, to help you keep your family car clean, the OWO team have rounded up all the best tips and tricks we could find. From rules to clever accessories, we’ll have you loving your car again, inside and out.

General rules to keep your family car clean

The first step to keeping your family car clean is all about your mindset. And your passenger’s mindsets too. If you consider your car as additional storage, pretty soon everyone else does to. So it fills up with junk, clothing and an odd assortment of items. Try implementing these rules to keep your family car clean…

You can take it with you

Some things belong in the car. Your user manual and emergency kit are two essential in-car items. Everything else is negotiable. Consider what needs to be left in your car and make sure everything else gets taken out when you arrive home.

This approach stops the build-up of coats, gloves, jumpers, books, school bags, toys and other items kids leave behind. (Ahem, and stinky shoes and socks!) It also stops you from hunting for things at home that are actually tucked away in the family car. Think of all the time you’ll save!

So, implement a ‘take it with you’ rule. You’ll find it far easier to keep your family car clean.

Limit the food consumed in your car

Snacks can keep smaller passengers happier and calmer. But some snacks are messier than others. If you limit the food consumed in your car, you’ll also limit the mess. Consider banning fruit pots, pastries, crumbly cookies and chewing gum.

Put a lid on it!

Just like some snacks can be a nightmare to clean up after, drinks also cause their fair share of mess. Implement an ‘only drinks with lids’ rule to keep your seats stain free. Many smaller kid’s drink containers are no-spill, making them perfect for travelling in the car.

Adult-sized no-spill cups are also worth investing in. If you love barista coffee, you can use these cups instead of disposable ones. You’ll help the planet and avoid getting hot coffee in your lap! Of course, it will help to keep your family car clean too.

A drinks with lids car policy will help your car to smell better. There aren’t too many of us who appreciate the smell of soured milk, even if it does have coffee bean top notes.

Little and often

Clearing up after each journey can seem too little a task to be worth the effort. But let me assure you, it is. Dust off the seats, remove any rubbish and wipe the dash with a fresh-smelling wipe. When you get back in your car, you’ll appreciate the few minutes you took to keep the family car clean.

Try to vacuum your car regularly too, it’ll reduce the build-up of muck, stones and dirt. You’ll feel much more comfortable when you drive.

Accessories to keep your family car clean

This summer, I got sent a car rubbish bin for my birthday. I tell you, it’s been a game-changer. My boys now have somewhere to put their wrappers, half-eaten sandwiches and other junk that used to end up on the floor. My partner does too.

These five accessories will help you keep your family car clean too.

Car rubbish bin

These come in all shapes and sizes. Choose a car bin to fit your family car and let your passengers know to use it.  It’ll make cleaning your car after each journey so much easier.

Seat covers

These days, car seat covers come in all shapes and sizes. They’re made of materials that are perfect for all sorts of situations too. Even if you do have a no food rule and only use no-spill cups, accidents happen.

Car seat covers let you clear up the mess easily and simply. Just whip them off and throw them in the washing machine. You’ll keep your family car clean and smelling fresh too.

Car organisers

After you’ve decided what can be left in the car, having a place to keep it gives everyone the room they need. Your car is tidier and passengers are happier because they can find the bits and bobs they love to travel with.

They’re great for kids on longer journeys too. Some back seat organisers have screen holders and busy bags or boards to entertain little ones. Organisers can be used in the central console, back seats, car boot or all three spaces for ultimate tidiness.

Car wipes

I don’t know about you, but I hate the dust that builds up on my dash. Car wipes get rid of this fast and leave a lovely smell in their wake. It’s worth investing in some to keep in your glovebox or car organiser pockets.

Air fresheners and odour eliminators

Even if you don’t have someone keeping a secret stash of smelly socks in your family car, kids can get a bit pongy. Air fresheners and odour eliminators will at least let your car smell clean while you hunt down the origin of those bad smells….

If you keep your family car clean, you’ll enjoy driving it for longer. It’s also a healthier space for you to spend time in with your kids. And with school back, we’re all spending a little more time behind the wheel.

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