Car Cleaning Basics for Every Mom

It will happen eventually. It doesn’t matter if you don’t let the kid eat in the car or give them goldfish by throwing them over your shoulder. Your car is going to get messy. How do we minimize the damage?

I let my four year old eat in the car, but limit what he eats. There isn’t soup or shredded cheese being consumed. But every day when I pick him up from daycare, I bring a snack – goldfish, red bell peppers, gummies (on Fridays).

Last week, my four year old threw up in the car. Not just a little but the kind that I had to spend almost an hour getting it out of the nooks and crannies. Here are the bare necessities.

A good vacuum

Ideally, you have an outlet in your garage or close to your car outside. If this isn’t the case, you need a GOOD handheld vacuum.

Thankfully, I have both! Vacuums you plug in typically get better suction and therefore it takes less effort to get goldfish and other crumbs or dirt out of your car.

For a corded vacuum, I have the Shark DuoClean Lift-Away. This vacuum is incredible. I thought all corded vacuums were created equal until this. It glides well and is able to get up anything in it’s path. I pull this out every few times I clean the car for a good deep clean.

For a cordless vacuum, the Dyson V8 is perfect! It comes with attachments to make it a great size for the car and still works well on your floors. I have mine mounted on the wall in my laundry room so that I can grab it quickly when I need to clean up a mess in the kitchen as well. It’s light weight and high performing!

Seat protectors

I have never been as happy to have a good seat protector as this past weekends vomit episode. It caught some of the mess and was easy to clean. It has caught handfuls of goldfish crumbs and M&Ms that melted in the summer heat.

The one linked above has a small pouch with a mess netting at the bottom. I use it to collect trash and then take it inside whenever I remember and my hands aren’t already full.


This depends on the car you have. If your seats are leather, you can grab something basic like this. A pack of microfiber cloths will allow you to clean the leather gently.

If you have fabric seats, there is a similar option (linked here)!


If you figure this one out, let me know! I am still looking for a good deal on it.

Published by Hackingtheworkingmom

Helping moms find joy in chaos. Instagram: @hackingtheworkingmom

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