Car cleaning tips for time-tight parents

I don’t know about you but I am one of those parents who pre-parenthood was NEVER going to let the children eat or drink in the car, muddy shoes and boots were NEVER going to be trampled over the seats or wiped over the back of the drivers’ seat and there was NEVER going to be rubbish just collecting in the car.

We learn don’t we, the hard way most of us – we learn that parenting is just not like that.

Having said that, the state of the car is something that does impact of my mood, mainly because we are in it so much, going backwards and forwards to various things with the children. Over time I’ve learnt to ‘manage’ the car situation so it doesn’t get too awful and too out of hand. Here are a few tips if you struggle with this too:

Nappy Bags

One tip is to carry nappy sacks or a couple of small carrier bags in the door pocket or glove box of the car. That way you’ve always got a rubbish bag to hand.

If you can get into the habit of this, you don’t spend ages puling aout bits of rubbish every week and you can keep on top of it much more.

Shopping Bag

Take a large reuseable shopping bag with you in the car. Pop it in the boot and if you do school or club runs in the car just pile all the school debris (coats, water bottles, lunchboxes, letters from school and so on) into the bag. This means you can empty the car faster when you get home and it avoids 20 trips backwards and forwards to the car, as well as things disappearing under the seats for weeks – simple, but very effective!

Disinfectant spray

I’m not sure what I did before Dettol All in One Disinfectant Spray existed! It’s brilliant stuff, which can be used on hard and soft surfaces. It’s great on the car interior including car seat. Before you lock up at night, have a quick spray around. It works overnight and smells a bit better come the morning school run.


Wipes – always carry a packet of baby wipes in the door pocket of the car. You never know when you are going to have to wipe a messy nose, or snot of a seat belt or back of the chair, from an explosive sneeze, OR indeed, panic wipe school uniform when you arrive and realise the children managed to get toothpaste everywhere except their mouth.

Dettol or simlar wipes for sticky finger marks and window wipes for keeping things clear – anyone else have windows full of handprints?


Shake the car mats once a day, before you lock up for the night. Give them a good bash against the wall, it makes it look less in need of a hoover for a few days at least!


Hoover once a fortnight if you can to keep on top of the mess and bits. It’s surprising how much debris can build up over a couple of weeks.

Good luck and let us know your own car cleaning tips in a comment below!


  1. Some good tip here but there all sort of different cars some of these might not work in some cars.

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