Keeping a family car clean: the secrets you need to know

3:43 PM

When you are starting out with your first newborn baby you need to make some major adjustments to your lifestyle. There are the obvious ones like learning how to change a diaper and how to survive on hardly any sleep. However, your home looks pretty similar to those ‘pre-children’ days.
Then your child starts to get a load of possessions that you need to store. There are multiple sets of clothes, bedding, chairs, cots and a huge amount of toys. It used to take you 10 seconds to get out of the house and into the car but now it takes you about an hour. That’s on a good day!

Getting the right car for your family

As your family grows your needs change and you have to bear these in mind when you are choosing a vehicle. Neat sports cars with two seats are now out of the question. You need a wide enough rear seat to fit two, maybe three, kid’s car seats. Bigger cars cost more to buy and fill with gas so you may need to check out for a car loan that suits your financial needs.

When you choose a vehicle, make sure that the back doors open wide enough for you to put your child in his or her seat. Remember that kids don’t always co-operate with this so you need a bit of elbow room to manage the situation.  Sliding rear doors are perfect for this problem and are just what parents need in cramped car park spaces.
Shop around for the child-friendly features that suit you and your family. Some features such as integrated sun blinds or UV-filtering tinted rear windows are so useful on long journeys. You may even be able to get seat-back DVD screens which can be invaluable in keeping bored kids amused.

Size matters

Don’t forget that having kids involves a lot of kit! There is no such thing as traveling light when you have little ones. Take your pushchair with you when you go to choose a car. That way you can check out if it fits easily in the boot. It is the opening of the boot that often lets it down. It looks like a big space but when you try to squeeze in a big pushchair it just won’t go.
If you are planning on having a big family it makes sense to invest in a big car to save you incurring the added expense of doing it later. We came up with a unique solution to sort out our family’s transport issues but that doesn’t stop us from spending hours cleaning out the mess that the kids have left behind in the vehicle. Do cars used by kids have to be so dirty and sticky all the time?
Tips for keeping your family car clean and tidy

Set some rules early on about what can and cannot be consumed in the car. Limit drinks to pure water if you can, at least that won’t stain the carpet. Get some non-spill cups like these  and decant all juices and sodas into them.
Food can cause as much mess as drinks if it is sticky or wet. Enforce a ban on foods that contain tomato ketchup but if you slip up you can follow this advice on how to remove it Stick to foods that can be vacuumed up easily.
Prepare your car for the mess by covering every surface that you can. Try out these ideas:
  • Plastic guards on the back of seats to prevent marks by muddy little feet
  • Cheap rubber mats on the carpet that can be lifted out and hosed down
  • Line drinks holders with cake cases that can be taken out and thrown away
  • Place an old sheet under the seats to collect crumbs
These simple ideas will make it so much easier to clean your car and kid-proof it for your next long journey.

Get the kids involved with the cleaning

Once your kids are old enough to walk about unaided they can get involved in keeping the car clean. Keep some empty plastic bags in the car at all times and encourage the kids to put sweet wrappers and so on in them rather than throw it on the floor! Give them the job of disposing of the bag once you stop for gas or when you return home.
You’ll soon find that when the kids are involved in tidying up the car they are not so keen on messing it up in the first place!

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