15 Things People Who Always Have Clean Cars Have in Common
Does keeping your car tidy seem impossible? With these genius tips from a professional organizer, you can turn that dream into a reality.
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
They never leave home without garbage bags
If you’re super busy or you travel for work, you might end up at your fair share of drive-throughs or grab-and-go sandwich stores. Why can that be a problem? “Those people often end up having messy, smelly cars because food bowls, wrappers, and debris start to pile up,” says Dena Sanowicz, a New York–based professional organizer and the brains behind Instagram’s best-kept secret for organizing tutorials. “If you’re late for a meeting or you’re running somewhere, it’s easy to let these things pile up. You can solve that issue by always keeping car-specific garbage bags on hand and emptying them daily.”
Try an easy-to-use product like Tossits, which you can hang on the passenger-side headrest and tear off with minimal effort. These eco-friendly bags also have adhesive strips to seal away the mess before you make it to a trash can. If you’re always on the go, keep these 14 items in your car and you’ll be twice as productive.
They don’t use their car as a storage facility
“When traveling with small children, we sometimes think we need to travel with our whole house for all those ‘just in case’ moments, and after a few trips, we end up having multiples of the same things all over the place,” says Sanowicz. “Instead of reloading the car with doubles of everything, try just keeping absolute essentials in a carefully thought out organizing bin in the back or trunk.” This sturdy organizer from Fortem can hold everything from changes of clothes to sports equipment. Plus, it has a non-slip bottom and securing straps, so it will stay exactly where you need it to. It’s one of the Amazon products you’ll definitely use every day.
They treat upholstery stains immediately
Rather than waiting for that annual spring cleaning, tidy drivers treat car upholstery and dirty floor mats with stain-fighting products the very same day they notice an issue. Try a cost-effective spray solution like CLR Stain Magnet, and keep it in your trunk organizer for unexpected spills, accidents, and particularly messy rides.
They clean handles and knobs every week
If you have enough people in the car to use the HOV lane, you need to thoroughly disinfect everything in your car more often than you may realize. That includes all of your car’s interior handles, knobs, and vent adjusters, which are particularly prone to germs, dirt, and fingerprints. Try a pet- and child-safe spray like Greenerways Organic All-Purpose Multi-Surface Cleaner, and commit a few minutes one day each week to cleaning all the nooks, crannies, and windows you take for granted. While you’re on a cleaning kick, be aware of the most toxic cleaning products on the market—and know what to buy instead.
A cordless hand vacuum is their best friend
“Carpools, long rides, and other drives are always off to a better start with a clean space, which is why I always try to take my hand vacuum,” explains Sanowicz. “Clean out the car seats, cup holders, and other areas so that you start off fresh and not feeling cramped.” One great, user-friendly option to consider: the Hoover ONEPWER Cordless Hand Vacuum.
They always have reusable wipes on hand
Reusable microfiber wipes are the eco-friendly answer to paper towels and disposable wipes, and once you start keeping them in your car, you won’t know how you ever lived without them. Use them with your favorite cleaning sprays, dust down dashboards, and rescue upholstery from unforeseen soda spills in a jiffy. Casabella Micro Wipes are budget-friendly, reusable, and can be machine-washed between uses.
They love lint rollers
If you think they’re just for clothes, think again. Giant lint rollers can easily pick up pet hair, coat fuzzies, and random gunk from car upholstery and other surfaces. Opt for a long-handled version, like this Evercare Mega Roller, that can access hard-to-reach areas. While you’re at it, check out these other things you can clean with a lint roller that you probably never thought of.
They spray the nasties away
Organized carpoolers know they can’t control every cough, sneeze, or bacterial nightmare, so they keep their car-cleaning caddy stocked with germ-busting disinfectants that do double duty. This eucalyptus-and-spearmint-scented disinfecting spray from Seventh Generation effectively combats the viruses and bacteria that make their way onto door handles, window buttons, and other highly trafficked interior spots. Plus, just one spray will make your car smell like a spa.
They use products that do double duty
You don’t need to fill your caddy with every cleaning product under the sun, according to Sanowicz. Instead, pick products that combine functions, like disinfecting and deodorizing, or cleaning and protecting. For example, 303 Automotive Protectant Wipes get rid of gunk and dust while sealing in UV protection for your rubber, vinyl, and plastic surfaces. Each matte-finish application lasts a month or more, giving you a cleaner car along with UV protection for dashboards and other sun-affected areas. (Still, for a truly clean car, a month is really too long to go between cleanings.) Don’t miss these 74 other maintenance tips that will extend the life of your car.
They repurpose household items in genius ways
If you’re diligent about cleaning just one part of your car’s interior each day, make it your cup holders, says Sanowicz. They tend to collect every bit of junk, and they’re notoriously hard to clean. Consider simplifying this task by inserting silicone cupcake liners and taking them out for cleanings. Just dump out any accumulated crumbs, and then pop them in the dishwasher. You can store extra liners in your glove compartment for those just-in-case moments, and they make great snack cups, too.