Kids are messy.
You might have the most angelic kids to ever exist, but no matter what, you’ll probably find at some point that your car seats are dirty, the cup holders have some kind of leftover beverage pooling at the bottom of them, and your nice clean car is no longer clean.
Whether you’re driving them to and from school, going for a weekend day out, or hitting the road for a family road trip, keeping your car clean and protected can be a mission and a half – not to mention stressful if you have a new car.
And really, at the end of the day, life can get pretty busy – your car’s cleanliness is not the highest priority, and can be prone to becoming a bit of a dumping ground for bits and pieces. It happens to the best of us and, sometimes, we simply don’t have the time.
If you want to know how to keep a car clean with toddlers, young kids, or even older kids, we’ve got some simple tips for keeping a clean family car.
Protect your seats:
If you’ve got toddlers, you probably have seat covers in the family car. If you don’t have any form of seat protector… are you insane?
All jokes aside, seat covers are the best way to protect your car’s upholstery from any dirt or small debris. They’re also a lot easier to remove and wash than cleaning your seats directly.
Kids spill stuff. It’s inevitable. Make sure that when they spill something, it’s just water. There is nothing worse than having to clean milk or juice out of your car’s upholstery.
It can be hard to get rid of that stickiness, let alone the smell.
Water bottles are your best friend in this case – the kind that are reeeeally hard to spill from. Think bottles with the top that you suck on, not the removable lid ones.
Organise your boot
Like we said, your car can easily become a bit of a dumping ground when the kids are in tow. Spare pair of shoes? Chuck ’em in the back. A blanket your kid insisted on dragging with them but now despises the sight of? Throw it in the boot. After a while, the back of your car can very easily look like a battleground between you and the contents of your house… and the contents of your house is winning.
If you’ve got a nice big car, like the Skoda Kodiaq, it can be even easier to just chuck everything in the back – with all that boot space, you have plenty of room for, well, anything.
Skoda has a bunch of different organisational accessories, including a netting system to easily compartmentalise your junk and a boot dish with an aluminium divider. You’ll never have to look in the back and see your belongings scattered everywhere like a cyclone hit the back seat again!
Outline some basic car rules
Lay down the law. Tell your kids that whatever comes with them must leave with them when getting into the car. If you keep a designated bag or container full of car toys and entertainment, teach your child to put things back after using them.
Have places to put all that junk
It’s a good idea to keep a little trash bag in the car so that all rubbish is in one place. Luckily, Skoda models allow you to have a little clip-in rubbish bin in the passenger door. We’d also recommend keeping a plastic bag or three in your (newly organised) boot so that if a mess does occur, you’ll be able to clean it up ASAP.
Also keep some spare grocery bags in the back. Not only are they handy for spontaneous trips to the supermarket, but they can also be used to hold random things that end up in your car throughout the week, like spare clothes, toys, and other bits and pieces.
Keep the cleaning supplies at hand
We have two words for you: baby wipes. Baby wipes are your best friend when it comes to having kids in the car. Use them to wipe up messes quickly, wipe down seatbelts, wipe down your child… They’ll be a lifesaver and, if you’re a parent, you probably already know that.
You can also keep a few other basics on deck, including a magic eraser, some basic spray and wipe, DIY stain remover, and some paper towels for any big spills – keeping some basics in your glove box could save your car’s upholstery.
Air freshener is always welcome – get one to hang from your rearview mirror. It’s also a good idea to keep a box or container of baking soda underneath your car seats – baking soda is great at absorbing odour, and it’s easy to vacuum up if it does spill. A win-win!
Take care of the exterior as well as the interior
A few fingerprints are okay, but sometimes your kids just can’t help but slap their entire hands on the windows. After a while, your car can start to look a little rough. Keep a microfibre cloth nearby and give your windows a wipe every now and then to get those sticky fingerprints off.
The ideal family car
If you’re after space, you really can’t go wrong with the Skoda Kodiaq. A spacious SUV that is equal parts innovative and comfortable, come down to Perth City Skoda and give it a test drive today.