Try These Ingenious Car-Cleaning ‘Hacks’

Need a few good car-cleaning “hacks?” Business Insider suggests using cola to remove dead bugs from your windshield, getting into hard-to-reach areas with a paint stick or screwdriver, and using the static of a blown-up balloon to pull pet hair off of upholstery. A can of compressed air is great for dusting out vents, and an old blanket can provide a handy (and washable) way to curtail messes from kids and pets. Finally, try lining your car’s cupholders with silicone baking cups, the article says, to prevent moisture, dirt and grime from building up inside them.

Make Your Summer Road Trip Clutter-Free

If you’re like most people, the open road is calling you. Summer is the time to take a road trip, and whether that trip is long or short, to locales familiar or exotic, and with family or friends, your vehicle is likely to attract the clutter and detritus that comes with travel. To avoid it having that lived-in look by the time you return, plan ahead.

First, start with a clean slate. In addition to performing operational maintenance such as checking fluid levels and tire pressure, remove anything you won’t need for the trip from the car. Keep your vehicle registration and proof of insurance handy inside the car, as well as chargers, toll change, tissues or baby wipes, and other necessities.

Now, clean and vacuum the car’s interior thoroughly. Once the car is spotless, get ready for your trip by installing a temporary trash receptacle; a plastic grocery bag is the most likely choice. Hang it from a headrest or put a passenger in charge of collecting cans, wrappers and other items, and empty and or replace the bag at every stop.

Carryalls are a great idea if you’re on a long trip, especially with kids in the car. A bin, basket or hanging organizer can contain backseat essentials such as books, games and sunblock. Professional organizer Bridgette Rappe advises that floorboards are for feet only; things can get lost under seats and broken underfoot easily.

For a family road trip, careful packing is essential, Huffpost says. Encourage kids to pack their own bags to help them “take ownership” of a specific space in the car. Bring a duffel or laundry bag to collect all the dirties. And keep a bin of emergency equipment such as a flashlight and valuables well-hidden in the trunk.

To eat healthy on the road, you’ll need a cooler. Organization also pays inside that small space. Use reusable freezer packs or pre-frozen bottles of water to keep other items cool without taking up extra room, and plastic storage containers to keep foods dry. Arrange items so items can be grabbed quickly without disruption.

The longer the trip, the more lived-in your car may become. But with planning and organization, you can keep the clutter at bay, along with the stress it can bring. And that will make your road trip — and the memories you make while on it — that much better!

Road Trip Tips: Keeping the Car Clean

If you’re taking a road trip this summer, Real Simple has a few tips to keep your ride clean. First, start with a clean car; if you wash and vacuum it ahead of the trip, it will set expectations for passengers. Have plenty of cleansing wipes and small bags on hand for in-car cleanup. Set clear rules for rider behavior and perhaps what foodstuffs can be consumed en route, especially for kids. And finally, be sure to clear any trash from the car every time you stop for gas or a bathroom break. Making cleanup a constant can cut the stress!