Safeguard your precious car from your messy kids ― follow these rules to ensure that your vehicle remains pristine.

Purchasing a car in Singapore is a huge investment, since you’ll need to fork out cash, not just for the vehicle itself, but also for the Certificate of Entitlement.

You’ll probably have paid more than $100,000 for your family’s ride, so it can be quite “painful” to see your munchkins mess it up.

Yup, we’re talking about crumb-covered seats, soiled tissues, pen marks on the upholstery, and muddy shoe prints behind the driver’s seat.

Since clutter and chaos come hand in hand with parenthood, it’s highly likely that your car won’t be spared. So, we’ve rounded up some great tips you can follow to keep your car in mint condition.

1. Limit sticky messes

Prevention is always better than the cure, so limit eating in the car. Of course, this would be near impossible if you’ve got a “hangry” tot in the car on a long road trip, so your best bet is to allow only “safe” foods in the vehicle. Instead of yoghurt, ice cream and greasy foods like fries, go for dry foods that are easy to vacuum ― try trail mixes, Cheerios and crackers. Says mum of two, Nora Ashikin, “Our favourite snacks for car rides are bite-sized fruit, like blueberries or grapes. And they definitely aren’t allowed to have juice or sweet drinks ― only water is allowed, so even if they spill it, it’s fine.”

Instead of yoghurt, ice cream and greasy foods like fries, go for dry foods that are easy to vacuum ― try trail mixes, Cheerios and crackers.

2. Create a clean up kit

Messes will happen, and you’d do well to be prepared for them. Besides food and drink messes, your peewee will probably try to exercise his creativity by drawing on your seats and pasting stickers on the windows. He’ll also forget to dust off his shoes before getting in, leaving lots of grime and dirt on the carpet.

So, do your research and put together a bunch of cleaning supplies that’ll keep your car in good condition. You’ll want to have wet wipes, fabric stain removers, and a lint roller. Another tip: Place five teaspoons of baking soda into a ziplock bag, along with five drops of essential oil. Mix it up, then sprinkle it onto your vehicle’s carpet. Leave for 10 minutes, then vacuum it up – your car will smell amazing!

3. Use cupcake liners

You know those cup holders in your car that always seem to be filled with knick-knacks, crumbs and whatnot? Then you’ll know how difficult they are to clean as well! One way to make clean up easier, is to place a silicon cupcake liner into each cup holder. That way, even if crumbs get into it, or if you spill juice into it, you aren’t left with a stick mess. Simply remove the cupcake liner, wash with soapy water and fit it back into the cup holder.


4. Line the seats

If you’ve got a messy eater or if your tot is undergoing toilet training, you’ll definitely want to line the car seats to protect your upholstery! A bedsheet or towel might do the trick, but do make sure that the liner doesn’t impede the safe installation of your child’s car seat. “We place an old bedsheet across the backseat, so even if there are crumbs, they don’t fall in between the seats and crevices ― it’s so much easier to wash the bedsheet and just vacuum the carpet,” says Darren Chua, a dad of three.

Also, don’t forget to line the back of the driver and passenger seat, unless you want your tyke’s footprints over your light-coloured leather! Indeed, kids just love to put their feet up on the back of the front-row seats, which could mean stains and scuff marks. Try a car seat protector like this one. Alternatively, make junior take off his shoes when he gets into the car.

5. A diaper caddy holds carsick essentials

Having puke all over the car seats and carpet sounds like every parent’s worst nightmare ― but it happens. If your kiddos are prone to motion sickness, make sure that you’ve got a carsick kit on hand. A diaper caddy is the perfect solution for wet wipes, plastic bags, sour candy, and even carsick medication.

Kids just love to put their feet up on the back of the front row seats, which could mean stains and scuff marks.

6. Hang an over-the-door shoe organiser

Long car rides can be frustrating for little ones (and their parents!), so we’re not surprised if you’ve got loads of entertainment tucked away somewhere in your backseat. This can range from storybooks, to colouring pencils, to even little card games. Instead of letting those little toys take over the backseat of your car, pack them neatly into an over-the-door shoe organiser that you can hang on the back of the front-row seats. Your young ’uns will be delighted!

7. Have a trashcan in the car

It’s amazing how much junk your peewee can generate from just one outing. He might have saved the receipt from your last grocery run, stashed some leaves from the park in his pocket, used an incredible amount of tissue to clean his snot, or helped himself to some candy, only to find he now doesn’t know where to throw the sweet wrappers.

Keep a mini-trash can in your car for this purpose. It could come in the form of a ziplock bag, or recycle a used potato chip canister to store your junk till you get to your destination.

8. Empty the car regularly

We can’t stress this point enough. Clutter builds up really fast, especially when you’ve got kids, so make sure that you clear your car at the end of every day. Empty your trash can, place the colour pencils and books back where they belong, and if something doesn’t belong in the car, bring it home.

Photos: iStock

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