Keeping a Clean Car with Young Kids

Keeping your car clean with young kids seems an impossible task. Irrespective of their age, kids are mess magnets. They will leave traces behind in the form of mess, and this can be food wrappers, clothes, toys, sports equipment, or fluid splashes. 

It is said that your mood goes up with great car satisfaction, and this can only be achieved when the car is clean.

Tips to Clean Your Car with Young Kids

Where to Buy
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Chemical Guys CWS20316 Foaming Citrus Fabric Clean Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner
Auto Shocker ClO2 car interior odor eliminator
Febreze Car Air Freshener Vent Clips, 2 Gain Original and 2 Gain Island Fresh Scents, Odor Eliminator, 4 Count

We gathered some ideas that are not hard to implement and will give you surety that one day your car will be a cleaner place than before. Check out the following tips so that your car will no longer be a landing place for dirt, snacks, toys, books, or food wrappers:

1. Wash Before Every Travel


Ensuring your kids do not enter the car carrying germs, dirt, sand, or food is one of the best and the easiest ways to keep your car tidy. Ask your hands to wash their hands before leaving the house. This is a win-win situation as washing hands will not only remove the dirt, micro-organism from your car seats but also it is a good hygiene practice for a healthy lifestyle. 

Also, it is best to keep a hand sanitizer with you for emergency needs as you may not always be near to sink or hand soap. 

2. Vacuum Immediately After Each Trip


This sounds perfect but practicing it on a long-term basis is not easy. Yet, it is the best technique for keeping your car clean. 

If you have time, try your best to vacuum your car and especially kid’s seats as soon as possible. Otherwise, the dirt, crumbs, and dust will sit for days and become breeding grounds for bacteria. 

We advise you to keep a portable vacuum cleaner in your car’s trunk, garage, or wherever you park your car. This way, it will be easier and time-saving to clean up the mess after every ride.

3. Make Sure the Cup Holders Are Clean


A cup holder’s space is more susceptible to becoming gross. Just one spill and your car will be a smelly mess. Moreover, cup holders are a bit tricky to clean. To make their cleaning easy, follow these tips:

  • Keep cotton swabs in your car as they always come in handy for deep edges cleaning, where your fingers might not reach.
  • Consider opting for silicone cupcake holders as they are eco-friendly plus reusable. Insert these in your cup holder. In case of any spilling or mess, you can pop them out and clean them easily.
  • The most economical way is to reuse an old sock. Sock it in detergent water and insert it into the cup holder. Clean the area by twisting thoroughly. This hack works like magic!

4. Set up a Well-Stocked Kit

It is super important to have a well-stocked kit in your trunk to keep your car clean with kids and avoid the unnecessary hustle. All the mommies out there, this is a lifesaver for you all! 

Take a small bag or carrier and stock it with all the much-needed items like:

  • Diapers
  • Water bottles
  • Flashlight
  • Spare outfit for all kids
  • Snacks
  • Wipes
  • Bandages 
  • Warm blanket (to make your kids sleep in the car during long drives)
  • And anything else you might need while traveling.

Make sure you keep a check on the bag once every week, so you can restock what you need. This way, you can save enough time and money spent on buying a pack of diapers if you forget the diaper bag at home.

5. Secure Your Car Seats With the Help of Seat Covers


Cleaning your car seats can be a tiring duty. Hence, covering them is a good way to protect them from getting messy. This can be temporarily done by using a cloth sheet. These sheets can be removed easily, but frequent cleaning is required. 

Another option is to use permanent plastic seat protectors specially designed for cars. These covers are easier to wash because there is no need to remove them. 

6. Always Stock Yourself with Wipes or Napkins


Being a parent of young kids, you must be well aware of the magic of baby wipes. These are multifunctional items that can be used to clean up a messy diaper or wipe a spill. 

It is advised to always keep a pack of versatile baby wipes, napkins, or paper towels in your car for quick swipe whenever needed. Just a quick wipe while waiting at a red light, and all the sticky mass is gone. The most likely scenario for every other school-going kid is to have breakfast in the car before dropping off at school. Having them in the spare will make a huge difference to the cleanliness of your car. 

7. Have Some Plastic Bags or Trash Cans Handy


Plastic bags are super useful whether it is for keeping trash, dirty laundry, messy diapers, etc. You must have plastic bags/trash cans in your kitchen, bathroom, offices, etc. Then why not in your car? It helps clean the car and reduces the amount of time spent on cleaning the car. Because in the end, grabbing trash will be as easy as grabbing a trash can. You would not need to spare 10 minutes to gather all of the trash. This is a mandatory item to keep the car clean, especially with young kids.

Plus, if you own a pet, biodegradable doggie poop bags are a great thing to have, along with plastic bags. 

8. Regularly Clean Your Car


We advise regular car maintenance to ensure the hidden trash pile of your kids under the seats is thrown timely and that the dirt and dust are littlest between the cleaning sessions. 

If you cannot spare enough time for regular cleaning, you can go for professional car cleaning or a drive-thru car wash. Believe us! You will be happy and love the results.

9. Keep a Stain Remover in Your Car 


Kids attract stains. They will stain your seats, car and their clothes. We recommend all the parents to keep a stain-remover handy in the car at all times. Otherwise, you will panic on every single bump in the road that your kids will splash juice all over the seats. 

There are some amazing DIY recipes for stain removers:

For this, you only need to mix a bit of dish soap with vinegar (½ cup) and baking soda (½ cup). Keep it in a spray bottle in your trunk. This will work best to remove the stubborn stains.

10. Odor Eliminators


The only possible way to have a fresh environment in the car if you have young kids is to have odor eliminators. No matter how long the drive was and how many cleaning tricks you have used, your car will be a mess at the end of the day if you have kids. This mess will leave your car stinky. 

Grab a ready-to-use odor eliminator and keep it in there. A good air freshener on your mirror or dash will work well too.

If you want an economical one, we have a tip for you to try. Keep a box of baking soda underneath your car seats. Baking soda will absorb the bad odors and cause no harm as it is not a chemical.

11. Keep Carpets Fresh

Keeping your car carpets fresh is one of the best ways to keep them clean, even if you have young kids. You can also follow the following DIY to keep the carpets fresh:

  • Baking soda, 2 cups
  • Any essential oil, 10 to 20 drops
  • Shaker container

Mix all the ingredients and let it sit for the next 24 hours so that the oils absorb baking soda. Occasionally spray it on your car’s carpets and let it be there for 15 minutes, then vacuum.


We all know that kids are messy. It’s a part of parenthood! But on the other hand, you can limit the mess in your car by following the above tips. Even if you follow any of the five tips mentioned above, you will see a big difference. Also, this way, you can teach your kids different ways to be less messy and more organized.