For many of us, our cars become a home away from home. Between work commutes, kid pickups, and daily errands, we wind up clocking some serious hours inside our vehicles. And just like any place where we spend a lot of time, keeping things tidy can be tough.
Luckily, with a little effort, there are ways for even the laziest of drivers to stay nice and neat. So to help, we've rounded up a few of our favorite (and foolproof) approaches for maintaining an orderly automobile. And since most of these ideas require minimal effort on your part, there's really no excuse to not keep your car clutter-free. So read ahead for ten principles that promise a perennially clean vehicle.
1. Thou shalt not eat in the car, ever
Sure eating breakfast inside your car is easier than making time to eat at home, but eating inside your car is often recipe for disaster. Avoid dining in your car as much as possible to bypass the stains, spills, crumbs and grease spots that inevitably follow.
2. Thou shalt shake off dirty shoes before entering
If you make a point of knocking the dirt off your shoes—passengers included—before getting in your vehicle, you'll save yourself a lot of time (and vacuuming) down the line.
3. Thou shalt keep a trash bag handy in the car
It seems like a no-brainer but having a trash receptacle ready in your car—think: plastic bags, cup holder bins, and even wastebaskets—will spare your ride from unnecessary clutter and make it easier to throw everything out all at once.
4. Honor thy glove compartment
Turns out that in addition to storing all your vehicle's necessities, a glove compartment can double as a mini-cleaning hub, too. Use it to stash cleaning wipes, fresheners, and extra tissues and never sweat an unexpected spill again.
5. Thou shalt vacuum regularly
Sometimes simply shaking off your floor mats doesn't cut it. For this reason, a monthly vacuum session is usually necessary to ensure your auto's interior stays crumb and dirt-free. Just don't forget to go deep between the seats!
6. Remember thine car wash
Whether it's self-serve, drive through, or a full-service station, your local car wash exists for a reason. Do yourself a favor and take a trip to your choice of washers at least once a month to keep the body of your car polished and clean.
7. Thou shalt clean up messes quickly
It goes without saying but if you want to prevent permanent stains and dirt buildup in your car's interior, clean up spills as swiftly as possible after making them. For added safety, keep a couple of paper towel sheets or napkins at arms length (say, in your glove compartment) for spur-of-the-moment wipe downs.
8. Thou shalt throw out trash daily
Whether you're stopped for a second to fill up the gas tank or parking your car for the evening, make a habit of throwing away any trash you've accumulated—ideally in the aforementioned trash bag—at least once a day.
9. Thou shalt wax thy exterior; sporadically
Forget that it costs a couple extra bucks at the car wash, waxing your ride—at least twice a year—will only make your life easier. Along with shielding your car from exterior scratches and blemishes, it'll keep the body shiny and dirt-resistant.
10. Thou shalt park in a garage, whenever possible
If you're lucky enough to have a garage, we hope you you're smart enough to take advantage of it. The same goes for covered parking garages and other enclosed public spaces—just remember that trees offer shade but also come with lots of bird droppings.