In my Clean out your Fridge post, I shared our secret family struggle.
Yes, I came clean, literally about my fridge issues and offered some solutions, but I think many of us have deeper secrets that lurk in the back of our vehicles.
Have you ever felt the panic that sets in when someone asks you for a last minute ride and you mentally think through just how bad the car looks and what gross things they might possibly sit on. I’m not just thinking of a toy. I’m talking living things.
Ictionary.com, a Clorox program, refers to that as Car-Posting: a moldy piece of food left in a car that literally starts to compost.
After decades of children, I admit, it happens and still happens (I couldn’t bring myself to add in the picture of the moldy half eaten peach from yesterday), but we actually implemented a system that works fairly well for us now. Obviously, it’s not perfect, based on what I found yesterday, but 90% fool proof.
Aside from the soccer games, gold tournaments and twenty other obligations that pop up on our weekend calendar, if we are home on Saturdays, it’s a family chore day.
If fact, car decluttering and cleaning is our 16 year old son’s designated Saturday job and let me tell you, he loves it. 🙂
Over time, if left unattended, our van deteriorates into something out of a Sci Fi movie, so we implement my number one tip: clear the garbage every time you stop at the gas station.
I keep some small grocery bags handy in the back trunk, so when I fill up at the pump, we do a five minute clean out. Everyone looks around and grabs their mess and hands it to me to deposit. All the newspapers, expired coupons, food wrappers, drink bottles and more are gathered in the bag, and we throw them away while I am pumping. This keeps the huge messes at bay, and truly proves that many hands make light work.
We keep Clorox Wipes in our glove compartment so that when we have sticky messes, it’s dealt with immediately.
Now most Saturdays, our son’s CAR CARE duty is more manageable.
Here is a simple list that any of your kids can follow.
- Grab two garbage bags – one for all garbage and one to collect the clutter that needs to be brought in the house and sorted.
- Vacuum thoroughly the carpet, mats and cup holders.
- Wipe down the dash, hand rails and doors. (For detailed cleaning of the dash board, a dry paintbrush gets into all the grooves. It’s amazing what builds up in there.)
- Spray and clean windows and windshield
- Freshen odors.
How do you keep your Car-Posting at bay?
Follow my Dealing with Messy Moments pinterest board where I embrace the mess side of my bedlam. 🙂
This post is brought to you by The Clorox Company. I have partnered with them to spread the word about Clorox’s Ick-tionary program. To share Ick-tionary terms and real life messes, visit [www.icktionary.com]. All opinions and stories are my own. Official Sweepstakes Rules
I remember the time in college when I got in my car after a weekend and it smelled like beer. I am not a drinker, and there had never been beer in my car before. I finally found the culprit: the lemons and berries left from a Sonic lemon-berry slush! It had only been a couple of days, but was hot enough for them to ferment!
Now, we have no issues with dirty cars. The rule is simple: if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. And if you bring it, you take it out when you get back home. The only things that stay in the car are jumper cables, an umbrella, a roll of paper towels, and my shopping bags. And folding chairs during baseball season. And a few items in the glovebox. Everything else gets pulled out as soon as we get home. Every time. Even baseball equipment comes in each night, even though we’ll need it the next day.
A vacuum every now and then helps keep the crumbs and dirt at a minimum. Easy-peasy, and no worries about things growing where they shouldn’t!
This looks like my car
So who knew what I was doing 8 yrs ago had a name! My van was pretty bad, but I’m always amazed when I see worse!
I found a rotting carton of school sized milk in my car just recently. Bleh! enough had dribbled out to leave a rotting spot in the car. I could smell something but thought it was a stinky sock. Most of the time they have baggies for their snacks, which helps decompose in its own bag, if it does get left in my car.
We also have a swagger wagon. The thing has 12 upholders and 4 spots for water bottles, plus a cupholder on both kids’ car seats. Still, my milkamaholic 4 year old manages to regularly “lose” a sippy cup that is either half-full or half-empty somewhere in that van about twice a month. The bottoms of some of his fav cups do not fit the cupholders. Nasty in the 100 degree Texas sun. We are also boycotting kid meals at Sonic after 3 drink disasters. The new kid cup is too short for the deep holders, and the lid comes off when they pick it up for a drink.
A dried up, gummy goop of Hi-C orange that had leaked into the cup holder from a soggy bottom of a McDonald’s cup!! Not to mention the chewed up gum & lollipop sticks that were mixed in!!
oh yes, feeling your pain of not quite knowing where that odd smell is coming from.
When I met my husband, he was career USAF and he sparkled. Every ribbon, patch and medal were place exactly right and every crease was razor sharp. I was a little surprised at the messiness of his car but didn’t give it too much thought until one week, when he went to school, he left his car at my house and I decided I would surprise him with a clean car when he returned. I grabbed a trash bag and started to work. Very quickly I was back in the house for rubber gloves and heavy-duty cleaning solutions because I found indescribable mounds of moldy matter along with slippery slimy pools stuck to many surfaces. Three hours later I felt I needed to detox with a long hot shower. We have been married over 20 years now and he does a much better job of keeping our car clean. Once-in-a-while, I’ll find a shriveled up orange or apple core that needs to go to the compost pile but very rarely do I find anything sticky because I keep wipes handy along with trash bags for frequent cleanups. My husband has so many wonderful qualities that I try to not worry about a little messiness occasionally. : )
I did use zyme away works great on all sorts of odors! 🙂
Oh man, I need to follow these tips. I’m trying to at least keep the wrappers and scraps of paper all contained in one of the car pockets. Rather than strewn throughout. And we also try to clean out at gas stations. But I’m totally stealing your tip to designate cleaning out the car as a chore for my boys. Thanks Jen.
I’m mean. Nobody is allowed to eat in my car unless its over their lunchbox and even then it’s questionable. And I vacuum out my car monthly- which includes taking out carseats and having all 5 kids climb through claiming all the things left behind. And I have a “car trash” bag that is tied up by the front seat. The kids all deposit things in there on their way out of the car.
Honestly, our car never gets terribly gross. We have a strict rule that all trash goes into a little 5 qt. ice cream bucket trash can which then gets emptied regularly either at the gas station or at home. Any big trash, food trash, toys etc. MUST be taken into the house when we get home. Oh and eating in the car is only done when needed. My husband detests filthy vehicles and I’m so thankful because it makes all of our lives easier! 🙂
I was really looking out for such tips as my car often gets dirty. Really thanks for sharing such kind of informative tips.
It’s important for every car owner to have knowledge about car maintenance and car care. I appreciate your tips to keep clean a car. thanks for sharing this.