Those snack wrappers and crushed Cheerios and Goldfish crackers are hiding under the car seat.
By Nina Elder
Nina Elder is a food writer, editor, and recipe developer with more than two decades of experience. She has worked on staff on numerous publications, including Better Homes & Gardens, Bon Appétit, Rachael Ray Every Day, the Kitchn, and Simply Recipes.
And that’s why she has 8 Tips for Keeping Your Car Crumb-Free!
The start of fall means cooler weather, pumpkin everything and, if you’re a parent, plenty of time in the car with your kiddos. There’s school pick up and drop off, shuttling them to and from all of their activities, and all of those runs to the apple orchard, haunted house, corn maze, or whatever fall fun you have planned. All of that car time also translates to lots of snack time, which means you might have a fair amount of food wrappers, spills, and crumbs in your vehicle.
To help manage your mobile mess, I spoke to Grayson Leverenz, a mom who also happens to be Chief Marketing Officer at Spiffy, an on-demand car care company that works on 3,000 to 4,000 cars a day across the country. Over the years, she’s gathered tons of helpful tips from the Spiffy technicians and has learned a thing or two about crumb maintenance from being Wyatt’s mom. Here are her eight top tips.
1. Stay On Top of It
You know how you’re always reminding your kids that if they just put things away after they use them it wouldn’t be such a chore to clean their room (or maybe that’s just me and my kid)? The same advice applies to your car.
“My number-one tip is to take that 20 to 30 seconds as soon as you get home to gather up all the dishes, all the trash, and take it inside immediately,” says Leverenz. “Once it starts to accumulate, it really is an avalanche, and the next thing you know, your car’s just trashed.”
2. Take a Tip From Pet Parents
To be successful in tip #1, you need something for trash-gathering inside the car. There are plenty of trash bag options, but Laverenz has found that nothing beats a roll of dog poop bags. They’re compact, easy to stash in the center console and they’re very affordable. “You can just unroll them and pass them back to the kid and they can put their stuff in there for you,” she says.
3. Air It Out
Once you have the big stuff out of your vehicle, it’s time for crumb combat. “At Spiffy we use a high-pressure blowout,” says Leverenz, “but a good hack would be to use a bottle of canned air that you would use on your computer keyboard.” The blast of air shakes crumbs and dust loose from vents and other hard-to-clean spots, like all those crevices in the car seat or booster seat. It’s quick and fun and satisfying—and it’s a task your kids might like to help with. Win win!
4. Make Time for Slime
Many parents will shudder at the mention of slime, but car-cleaning is a time when the sticky stuff might actually be an asset. TikTokers (and civilians too) are very into car-cleaning slime, which is a great tool for grabbing crumbs and dirt and dust in cup holders and around buttons and knobs. You can buy the slime or you can make your own. Some folks like to mix up a batch right in the cupholder, which is another kid-friendly activity.
5. Raid the Baking Cabinet
Once your cup holders are clean, keep them that way by adding a layer of protection. “Some people take silicone cupcake liners and put them in the car cup holders, so then you can just pull them out and dump them,” says Leverenz. They come in fun colors, so your kiddos can choose their favorite hue.
6. Time To Brush
Spiffy technicians swear by their fancy detailing brush kits, but Leverenz has a hack for that too—an old toothbrush. Just stash it in the glove box so you have it handy for doing a little light detailing. It can be used dry to dislodge crumbs or wet to spot-clean upholstery.
7. Suck It Up
If you truly want to conquer crumbs, you’re going to need a vacuum. Leverenz uses an old-school handheld cordless vacuum, but a jog through car-cleaning TikTok will reveal that some folks are fond of even smaller vacuum cleaners that have nozzles and other attachments specifically designed for car-cleaning. The mini vacs are easy to store right in your car so you have it when you need it.
8. Make It Shine
After you’re done cleaning, give all the hard surfaces a wipe-down. Leverenz keeps a pack of Armor All wipes in her glove box, but there are many options on the market. This final sweep will give your car that shiny fresh-from-the-detailer look even if you’ve just rolled into the driveway from soccer practice.
Of course, if you need a more powerful interior vehicle detailing, de-crumbing, Germ-Buster steam cleaning by our Pro Detailers, give your nearest Sunset North Car Wash a call! And don’t forget our tips for cleaning your rubber mats.
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