5 Tips For Keeping a Clean Car While on Vacation

July 25, 2013

5 Tips for Keeping a Clean Car While On Vacation


  1. Keep a garbage can in the car. I use a food bin with a flip-top lid and a small garbage bag. The whole family can use this for garbage while on a road trip, but it’s a handy thing just to keep in the car to keep garbage from getting lost under seats and off the floor. Keep a few small garbage bags in the bottom of the container for easy garbage removal and bag replacement.
  2. Baby wipes are great for little (and big) messes. I always have wipes in the car. We use them to wipe up little messes and dirty hands, but they also come in handy to wipe down car surfaces too. If you want a great recipe to make your own hand wipes I have one on my blog here.
  3. Keep a roll of paper towels in your car. Chances are you won’t need it, but just in case there’s a spill or mess to soak up, you’ll be glad that you have the paper towels packed.
  4. Take any garbage out with you when you get out of the car. This is a great habit to get into even when you aren’t on vacation, but it’s especially helpful on a trip. Taking the garbage out every time you stop for gas or food or at least daily will keep the car cleaner.
  5. Give each kid their own bag or backpack for their supplies and gear. Packing separate bags ensures that each child is responsible for their own toys, books, and other car ride necessities.

What would you add to the list? How do you keep the car clean while you’re on vacation?



For More cleaning and organizing tips, visit Clean Mama here.

Becky (Clean Mama) writes a cleaning and organizing lifestyle blog all about simplifying everyday life and making daily cleaning tasks more fun. You'll find her with a printable checklist and a cup of coffee while running around with her three little ones. Clean Mama is also the housekeeping expert on Answers.com, and has been featured in HGTV magazine, BHG.com, Oprah.com, iVillage and has written cleaning and organizing content for companies like 3M, Peapod, and Reckitt. Look for Becky's first book to be published in the Spring of 2014! Learn more about Becky at www.cleanmama.net.

12 comments on “5 Tips For Keeping a Clean Car While on Vacation

  1. Kelly says:

    Great tips! The only thing I would add would be an ice cream pail, with a lid. This can be used if someone gets sick, or if you find things while you are out and about and need something to put it in. Keeping small garbage bags at the bottom of this, would also be a good idea.

  2. nicki v says:

    Hi CleanMama,

    Thanks for that interesting post. Dirty cars really rile me up! The mini-bin and extra bag idea is brilliant.

  3. Michele says:

    Ziplock bags! Anything gross, smelly or wet can be zipped up and tossed in the garbage. I always have a box in every car.

  4. Raewyn says:

    OH! I need to do all of this on a daily basis. Thank you thank you for the mini-bin idea, I’ve never quite figured out the best way…that’s perfect.

  5. MissCarole says:

    Great tips! Our rule is simple: there is no eating in the car! Even though we used to travel long distance (ie: 800km/15 hours) with 2 young children, we’ve never broken the rule. And my husband would always tidy the car completely on arrival (it’s his thing 😉 )

  6. Chadwick says:

    Great list! Number two is always a must!

  7. Alex says:

    Great advice, I know our van was a horrible mess after vacation. I think something that would help would be putting a garbage can in the back of the van where the kids can reach it.

  8. Carolyn says:

    #4 is a great tip, otherwise the garbage just ends up overflowing and making more of a mess. thanks for the great tips!

  9. 4: Take any garbage out with you when you get out of the car.
    I do! I just wish everyone else did!!!

  10. Cleaning car more often might take some time and effort, but in the end, being able to drive in a more sanitary vehicle may be worth it.

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