Car cleaning may not seem like such a big deal until you have kids. Moms know just how quickly children can transform your perfectly detailed interior into something resembling a war zone in a third world country. Yes, you’re going to have to just accept a certain amount of spills and clutter no matter how vigilant you are. Luckily there are some excellent car cleaning strategies for new moms (and experienced moms) to get a handle on auto organization.

First and foremost it pays to be prepared. Keep a cleaning kit in your trunk stocked with a few key staples. Citra Solv all-purpose cleaner is a non-toxic spray that cuts through grease—perfect for carpets and upholstery. Nature’s Miracle is another fantastic non-toxic product that cleans stains and removes odors. It’s actually a pet product, but if it can neutralize the aroma of cat pee, imagine what it can do for less pungent odors. Keep rags and paper towels on hand too.

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Baby wipes are the ultimate multi-taskers! You can actually use them to clean your car windows. Keep an extra pack in the glove box.

Lysol offers this genius tip for keeping meals on the go from winding up on and under the seats. Use an inexpensive shower caddie to serve meals in the car. It will cut down on spills and keep your kids’ dinner safely contained.

You know trash is bound to accumulate no matter how short the trip. Etsy has a great selection of inexpensive, handmade reusable trash bags just for the car.

Over-the-seat organizers are a car cleaning must. They will keep toys contained but still in reach. CargoGear has tons of organizers for every inch of your vehicle. They’ll change your life!


A great way to get your kids in the habit of keeping the car clean is to give them a car travel bag to bring whatever toys or games they want. Anything they bring in the bag must come back in when you get home. Lunch bags or small drawstring bags are perfect. Instead of baggies, put car snacks in containers with lids. Boon Snack Balls are super adorable and they’re BpA, Phthalate and PVC-free.

Keep your car smelling like a rose with a DIY Air Freshener. Crafting a Green World has easy instructions for making one out of felt and essential oils. Make your own eco-friendly carpet cleaner from vinegar and baking soda. This definitely belongs in your car cleaning kit.

Finally, clean as you go. Make it a habit to throw out all your trash when you get gas. Make a schedule for cleaning one thing each day—wipe off the dash and steering wheel on Monday, vacuum the carpets on Tuesday, etc. You may not have the pristine interior of you pre-kid days for another 18 years, but you’ll come close!