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How To Keep Your Car Clean During Road Trips

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When you go on a road trip, you never know where the adventure will take you. But the one thing you can count on is mess and dirt in your car – until now. To make your drive more pleasant, we’ve put together a list of the best car gear and tips to keep your car clean while you’re on the road. Whether you travel alone, with buddies, or with the whole family, these are the hacks that’ll make your car feel fresh and neat. From now on, you won’t dread cleaning your car when you get back from your road trips. So, bring on the weekend getaways and the extended vacations.

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Stay Organized When Packing and Unloading


Sometimes, your car isn’t as dirty as it is messy. Especially on road trips, it’s easy to clutter your car. But when space is limited and you spend long hours in the vehicle, staying organized is a basic road trip rule.

Before the trip, prepare yourself with the containers and trunk organizers that’ll make life easier while you travel. Whether it’s plastic boxes for snacks, jars for loose change or organizers for receipts, these useful containers are real game-changers. Here is what you’ll need.

Manage Your Trash

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No matter how hard you try to avoid it, the reality is that trash happens. It’s just more visible when you’re inside the car for extended periods of time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. To keep the trash from accumulating, it’s also a good idea to dump your trash as often as possible. Rest areas, gas stations, and restaurants are great places to stretch your legs and throw out your trash bags.

An easy solution is to manage trash during road trips is pack a bunch of bags before leaving home. Whether you invest in a car trash bag or just recycle bags from the store, be sure to keep them handy. By storing them in the glove compartment, you always have a place to place your garbage.

Pro Tip: Tissue boxes also make great containers for your used tissues. After your first box runs out, don’t throw it away just yet. Instead, attach it to your new box and place your used tissues in the empty box. This keeps your car floor from turning into a field of dirty tissues.

Keep Car Floor Mats Clean

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A clean car starts the moment you step into your vehicle. Getting dirty might be part of the road trip adventure, but this doesn’t mean you have to bring dust or sand into your car. A simple habit like stomping your feet before you get back in the car gets much of the debris off your shoes and keeps it away from your mats.

Every so often, you’ll also want to remove the mats and give them a good shake. While it’s not a deep clean, this makes it easy to maintain a hygienic car. Plus, it also reduces the amount of dust you breathe while you drive.

Help the Kids Pick Up After Themselves

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Traveling with kids is a fun experience that brings families together. But any experienced parent knows that car seat cleaning after a road trip is no fun. From cereal to toys, you can find just about anything in those nooks and crannies.

Thankfully, there are solutions to keep your kids happy on the road and make the trip more pleasant for the whole family. A backseat organizer is a must-have for parents of young children. It gives your little ones a place to put their toys, books, snacks, and more. Plus, it creates a child-friendly space that your kids will love.

When you spend a long time driving, you can expect your children to get hungry and thirsty. To avoid spills, you want to make sure that all your kids’ containers have lids on them. You won’t believe your eyes when you glance at the back seat and there’s no food to clean up!

Avoid a Cluttered Trunk

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Junk in the trunk might sound sexy, but not when you’re actually talking about your car. During road trips, it’s easy to stash things in the trunk and forget all about them. But sooner or later, you have to deal with them.

Avoid the frustration of a messy trunk by designating a place for miscellaneous objects. With a convenient caddy, road trip essentials like brake fluid, motor oil won’t spill or roll around with every sharp turn. A caddy is also the easy storage solution for your car cleaning kit. From wipes to a handheld vacuums, these handy bins encourage you to do frequent clean ups.

Breathe in the Freshness

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Odor control is an important part of keeping a clean car – or at least the perception of one. With a durable and reliable car air freshener, your car will always smell great. Even if it’s not squeaky clean, air fresheners are a great hack that trick your brain into feeling more comfortable while you’re on the road.

Of course, air fresheners can’t do it all on their own. Avoid strong smells that will linger in your car such as smoke or food. Avoid drive-thru restaurants is also key to prevent foul odors from building up in your car. As convenient as it is, drive-thru food leaves a lingering smell that’s difficult to remove and feels overwhelming after a while.

With regular tidying up and simple systems, your car can stay clean while you visit nearby destinations. Even on longer road trips, it’s easy to keep germs out and enjoy a fresh car that takes you and your loved ones on amazing vacations. With these tips and tricks, your car will stay so clean you’ll start counting the days until your next road trip as soon as you get back home.

Jenifer Calle
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jenifer was a Commerce Editor, updating readers on the best deal and products to shop on the internet. Formerly a writer for…
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