11 September 2020
TURBO TOTS: Car cleaning hacks for parents

From crayon marks, to that recurring wee-wee smell that just won’t go away. You may not have a crystal ball powerful enough to predict what your little one will get up to next. But you do have this list of car cleaning hacks that’ll help you parent like a pro. Meh, close enough.

“It wasn’t me.”
Image credits: Daily Record

When they told you about parenthood they probably mentioned the diaper duties, frantic school runs and deep questions about life from a pint-sized interrogator who kinda looks like you. But did anyone really prepare you for the true horror of trying to remove potato chip crumbs from your car seat seams? Are you still, unable to identify the origins of that mysterious stain on your carpet from months ago?

Yup, thought so.

Not to worry though, we’ve got you. Read on to discover some car cleaning hacks and tips that’ll help you ace this parenting gig and keep your beloved ride in tip-top condition!

“Mummy, what’s a per-ma-nent marker?”
Image credits: AMM Collision

Clean up window art.

Is that a bird? A plane? No, it’s just your little one’s impression of their favourite Peppa Pig character. Drawn on the passenger side window. With her tongue.

Whether its fingerprints, smudges or *inhales* saliva art, having a bottle of glass cleaner in your car really goes a long way. Just remember to use a microfiber cloth to prevent scratches, and to avoid paper towels which could leave unsightly streaks or lint trails. If you ever happen to be without these, baby wipes actually work wonders too! Their anti-static residue helps stop new dust from gathering on your windows.

If for some reason your little one’s gone to town with pasting stickers on your pristine windows, try picking them off before spraying on WD-40 on what’s left. Then, wipe it off after a few minutes with a damp cloth. Or you could just give in a little and hand them some washable window markers instead. Take that, Banksy Jr!

Say bye-bye to pee-pee.

You have never felt real fear until you’ve heard, “Daddy, I need to go wee-wee” while you’re cruising down the expressway with no sign of the next exit. If you, like many other parents have experienced wee on the car seats, you may have noticed that a stale smell still lingers too, regardless of how much you’ve tried to clean your fabric seats.

Instead of trying to drown it out with air freshener (or tears), try this: Stir about 2 cups of cold water with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, and add on another tablespoon of liquid dish soap. Then, lightly dip (not soak) a sponge into the mixture and blot the pee-stained area from the outside in. Finally, use a dry cloth to blot until dry. Easy pee-sy!

Mind the gap.

Rid your seat seams of crumbs.

Just like eager aunties at the supermarket, you too fell for his wily charms. All it took was a “Mummy, I’m hungry!” and you let him eat Mamee noodles in the back seat of your car. So it may not have been the best of ideas but what’s a girl gonna do when faced with that cherubic smile? If vacuuming alone doesn’t help get rid of crumbs on the seat seams, try using a small detail brush or toothbrush. You’ll be amazed at how easily it scoops up small bits of dirt you never noticed before!   

Dude, what’s that smell?

Puke, pee, poop, forgotten bottles of milk, leftover snack packs… the list of undiscovered treasure in your car can sometimes seem endless. Worst of all, the smell lingers on and on like a bad love song. But before you start ordering batches of expensive air freshener or fragrance sticks, try this. Simply leave an opened bag of charcoal briquettes/bricks in your car overnight. Abracadabra, stank be gone!

The only thing bad about fried chicken is nothing.

Grease fighting.

Maybe you didn’t clean your tyke’s hands as well as you thought and now grease from those chicken nuggets are all over the place. A Happy Meal really shouldn’t be making you so unhappy. Got any car cleaning hacks for grease, you ask?

Why yes! Simply apply a scoop of cornstarch to the greased-up area and gently rub it into the stain with a clean cloth. After letting it sit for a few hours, use a vacuum to remove the remaining cornstarch.  

How about Crayo-NO-la.

You can drive peacefully if your children are distracted, they said. Let them do some colouring, they said. Well they certainly didn’t mention how difficult it was to get crayon stains off the seats and carpets. It’s okay, try this nifty trick to free your car’s carpets or upholstery from your little Picasso’s doodles.

First, gently scrape off crayon bits with a spoon, then spray a small amount of WD-40 and dab with a sponge. Finally, apply some liquid dishwashing detergent to remove the remaining bits of crayon. Sweet! But, in future, perhaps consider these toys to distract them instead…? 

“But I don’t want to go to school!” *kick kick kick*

Backseat driving.

No one really knows why kids love kicking the seats in front of them. But what we do know is that those dirt and grass stains on the back of your driver’s seat aren’t good for your car’s interior.

To get rid of these, simply apply some interior cleaner then wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. For tougher stains, use a more concentrated cleaner with a horsehair brush instead.

If you have leather seats, apply on some leather conditioner after cleaning it to prevent dry-out. Also, because prevention is better than cure, you could invest in a back seat cover or simply throw on a large t-shirt over your seat to prevent footprints.  

Diaper duty.

If you ever run out of wet wipes or tissue (*gasp*) on the road, reach out for your nearest diaper. Yup, you heard that right. Whether it’s spills from sippy cups or your own coffee tumbler, rest assured that the diapers are ultra-absorbent and can quickly soak up spills. Also, yes they’re expensive but desperate times call for desperate measures!

Just a note that these car cleaning hacks may not work for all situations. If in doubt, always err on the side of caution and seek help from professionals instead. While you’re at it, be sure to check out our sanitisation service too!