Spring Cleaning: There’s Sanity in a Clean Car

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Spring is finally here (FINALLY!) which means we will be in our cars even more.  Spring cleaning also means it’s time for a clean car! The kids have soccer games, t-ball practice, and after school clubs. Weekends include more trips to the parks to hike and explore nature.

While the weather will be a relief from the nasty winter we just had, spring also brings lots of rain, which leads to mud and messes. Taking the time to keep up with the interior of your car means less mess in the garage, less mess in the house, and ultimately a higher resale value when the time comes to buy a new car.

Here are a few suggestions on spring cleaning and maintenance for your cars:

Clean Up Once a Month

Spring Cleaning Includes Reorganizing Your Trunk.

Spring Cleaning includes reorganizing your trunk.

At least once per month take the time to really clean up the inside of your car. Take out the car seats and stored items.Vacuum all the carpeting. Reach down between those seats and find the lost toy dinosaurs, French fries, and straw wrappers. Use a leather or vinyl cleaner on surfaces and a carpet and upholstery cleaner on any stains. Reorganize your trunk.

All Weather Floor Mats

While we may like the look and feel of the carpeted floor mats in the car, they really are not practical for many of us. Look for all-weather floor mats at discount stores or your dealer. These can easily be taken out of the car and washed off with the hose.


Look for all-weather formats at discount stores or your dealer.

Seat Covers for Kids and Pets

There are some great covers now to protect your back seats from the mess of kids and even pets. These are more easily washed and will save a lot of wear and tear on your seats.

Carry a Tarp or Shower Curtain

We all have had this happen: a slide down a muddy hill means a wet, dirty crew (plus a shaking-off dog!) and a lasting imprint on your upholstery. But keeping a small tarp or an old vinyl shower curtain tucked in the trunk means no expensive cleaning afterward, and having something they can sit on in a pinch is wonderful.

Wash the Inside of Your Windows

The outside of the glass is cleaned during a car wash, but the inside glass is often neglected, except maybe by the dog whose nose is pressed to the glass all winter. Wipe off all those fingerprints and residue. A little vinegar and newspaper will clean them exceptionally well.

Check the Seat Belts

Now is the time to look for tears in your seat belts or problems with the latches on any of them. If you find a problem take your car to the dealer for them to replace the worn parts. Safety is always a high priority.

Check Your Emergency Kit

Look through your emergency items to make sure your spare tire is ready to go, you have the tools you might need, and always have fresh water. Look in the first aid kit also and dispose of any expired medications and restock any bandages or other items that may have been used up.

Stock Up on Towels

Along with your other supplies be sure to put in a roll of paper towels and a few old bath towels too. These are great for spills and for drying off if you get caught in a sudden downpour.

Carissa Rogers' 3 Goodncrazy Kids

Charge the kids with taking care of  spring cleaning of the car.

Going through these simple checklists can mean less dirt in your house, more sanity in your vehicle and money in your pocket when you sell your car. If you have older kids, include some of these tasks as part of their chores.

And here’s a bonus: if your kids are charged with taking care of the car, perhaps they’ll be more likely to be more careful when they’re in it, since they know who will have to clean it up.

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St. Louis-based Robyn Wright writes about family, food, pets, technology and all things St. Louis. Her interest in cars... More about Robyn Wright