Cleaning your car can be hugely rewarding. Whether you put in the elbow grease yourself, or take it to the car wash, the gleaming bodywork always makes you feel as if you’ve just bought a new car.
But when it comes to cleaning the interior, all those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies seem like one chore too many, and the dirt and dust can quickly build up. Just imagine what germs must be lurking in some of them - in fact, you don’t need to imagine it, you can find out exactly what critters could be lurking inside your car.
Thankfully there are some easy tricks that will help you keep the interior of your car clean and tidy. Here are our best tips:
Keep a pack of wipes in the car
Whether or not you have small kids, wipes will come in handy for any car owner. They’re great for cleaning up spills, wiping dirty hands and a quick way to get the interior plastics and hard surfaces in your car spick and span.
While many people swear by simple old baby wipes, you can also get specialist interior car wipes - Auto Express recently gave its take on which are best.
Organise your glove box
Do you avoid opening the glove compartment in fear of setting off a small avalanche of the paperwork chucked inside?
If that’s you, then it’s time to totally empty it out. Check through what you actually need in there. You can use a folder, old purse or even a small expanding file to keep things neat.
Keep cup holders dirt-free
Research by Ageas has shown that cupholders are some of the worst culprits for hiding bacteria in many cars. Part of the problem is that they’re so hard to clean.
One popular trick is to use a travel cup, with an old sock over the bottom. Spray it with window cleaner, put it inside the cup holder and twist it around so it shifts all the grime.
You could also prevent them from getting dirty in the first place by putting silicon baking cups in your cupholders, which will catch all of the dust and dirt and are easier to empty out.
Protect your seats and organise your stuff
If you’ve ever driven with children in the back of your car, then you’ll know how easily the backs of your front seats can get mucky footprints on them.
Consider buying a cover that hooks over your front seat and hangs down. These usually double up as handy organisers, with plenty of pockets and pouches to store all sorts of easy-to-reach toys and treats for the little ones in the back.
You can get a car seat organiser online for less than £10, or make one of your own if you’re handy with a sewing machine.
Get a car bin
What do you do with any rubbish when you’re in the car? It can often just end up in the footwells or stuffed in the car door.
So why not keep something that will serve as a small bin in your car? A plastic cereal container, for example, is cheap, easy to empty and seals shut to keep smells at bay. Just remember to empty it when you get home.
Fill in the gaps between the front seats
Most things that get dropped down the sides of the front seats are destined to be lost forever. Retrieving them means waiting until you can pull over safely, shifting the seat back and leaning awkwardly into the footwell to help you reach.
So, it might be worth considering buying a seat gap filler, which is designed to fit snugly in that gap, preventing anything from slipping through in the first place.
Tackling those tiny spaces, such as air vents
Air conditioning vents on your dashboard can get full of dust and are fiddly to clean.
If you want your dash to be spotless, get a small towel or cloth and wrap it around something narrow like the handle of a spoon. That will help you to get into all of the awkward places. An alternative is to use a cheap foam craft brush, or makeup brush to clean between the gaps.
Take something with you every time you get out of your car
Here’s a simple way to keep your car clutter-free: every time you get home, take out at least one thing. If you’re travelling with kids, ask them to carry in a piece of rubbish or a toy, too.
While you’re forming habits, another one is to remove the floor mats and give them a shake once a week to get rid of any dirt. You could make this a routine job to do when you get back from your last trip out each weekend.
Give boot junk the boot
It’s easy to treat the boot like a spare room, where you just dump everything in case you need it. Take a minute to go through your boot and decide what you really need to keep in there. Sort things into bags so they’re not left rolling around, or buy a car boot organiser.
While you’re at it, remember to stash away your emergency car supplies in their own container or bag.
With a bit of effort and organisation, these tips can help you get into a new routine of keeping your car interior fresh and clean – well, at least until the next trip to the beach.