Americans spend an average of 17,600 minutes per year driving. That’s a lot of time spent in the car! If you’re one of those whose commute or schedule makes your car feel like a second home, you know that keeping it clean can be a challenge. At the same time, a clean and organized environment reduces stress and helps you feel less harried, which can make your commute much more enjoyable. If you’re looking for some actionable tips to help you keep your car pristine without dedicating a lot of time to cleaning, read on.

1. Wax After Washing

Washing your car is a time-consuming task. Getting into all the nooks and crannies (like the wheel wells) can be difficult. Waxing the car after you wash it will extend the time you can go in between washes, since dirt easily rinses off of wax. As a bonus, wax protects the clearcoat, ensuring it won’t wear away and expose the paint to UV rays and harsh weather conditions.

2. Use a Car Cover If You Park Outside

Even if you have a garage, if you’re like most Americans, you may not have room in it for your car. Parking outside attracts all kinds of airborne particles to your car, including pollen and dirt. Bird droppings and leaves add to the mess. You can avoid outdoor debris by keeping a cover over your car. Covers are especially beneficial if you’re jetting across the country and leaving your car behind. They not only keep your car clean, they also reduce the chance of theft. Potential criminals can’t easily see inside and won’t want to take the time to remove the cover.

3. Keep Cleaning Supplies in the Glove Compartment

Keeping the interior of your car clean is much simpler if you keep supplies easily accessible. If you drop some food, you can quickly wipe up residue and soak up spills. Store cleaning supplies in the glove compartment for easy access, including:

  • Cleaning wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Stain remover

4. Keep a Trash Bag Handy

You can also stay prepared by keeping a trash bag in the car. Many vehicle messes happen due to cups, napkins, and food wrappers making their way under seats and into the many crevices in cars. A designated trash bag collects all the litter and makes it simple to remove when you arrive at your destination.

5. Clean Up Spills Immediately

The longer you leave a mess, the harder it is to clean. Stains set, and mold can grow if moisture is allowed to soak in. If you keep cleaning essentials in your glove compartment, you’ll be able to quickly and easily soak up any spills and spray stain-causing messes before they set.  

6. Install Berber or Rubber Car Floor Mats

Both rubber car floor mats and berber mats are easier to keep clean than carpeted ones. Especially if you eat in your car, you may want to replace your carpet mats to reduce the time you spend cleaning. Mats are available to fit specific cars’ makes, models, and years, and they come in a variety of colors to match your car’s interior.

7. Use a Mini Vacuum to Sweep Up Accumulated Crumbs

A mini vacuum is convenient and quick to use. Rechargeable battery-powered versions maneuver easily through the vehicle. In just a couple of minutes, your car is free from crumbs and debris. You could even keep the vac stored in your garage so it’s ready to go when you return from a trip.

8. Use Baby Wipes to Quickly Wipe Hard Surfaces

Baby wipes are great for cleaning. They store easily, and they’re quick to access when you need them. The wipes are gentle on all surfaces, so they won’t damage the finishes in your car. They’re excellent for eliminating dust and dirt, as well as cleaning up messes.

9. Place Covers Over Seats

If you have children or pets, it’s smart to cover the seats with removable, washable covers. They’re also helpful for preventing spills from damaging the seats’ upholstery. Seat covers come in a wide selection of fabrics, so look for ones that are breathable, moisture wicking, and stain resistant. Covers are available in a variety of colors and designs, so you can choose a style that matches your vehicle.

10. Use a Pet Hammock When Transporting Pets

If you have dogs, you’ll probably want to shield your car from pet hair, dander, and slobber. You can boost the protection with a pet hammock that covers the entire back seat and the backs of the front seats. These hammocks are comfortable for your dog and are easily washable.

11. Create a Quick Clean Schedule

When it comes to the interior of your car, you’ll save time and energy if you create a quick cleaning routine — rather than waiting until the mess becomes so bad that you have to use a lot of elbow grease to get it clean. You can build a checklist of tasks that you run through each week to maintain a spic-and-span vehicle, including the following:

  • Toss out trash
  • Remove clutter
  • Vacuum seats and floors
  • Wipe down hard surfaces, including dashboard, door pockets, cup holders, and center console
  • Spray glass cleaner on windows and wipe

12. Freshen the Car With Aromatherapy

You’ll enjoy your car trips more if your vehicle smells nice! An aromatic air freshener can do wonders for you while you’re commuting or shuttling kids to and from school events and practices. You can even make your own air fresheners with essential oils and other natural ingredients.

Keeping a clean car doesn’t have to take a lot of time out of your day. But fair warning: If you follow these tips, your friends and colleagues will always want to take your vehicle when carpooling!

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