Clean Car Tips

How Often Should I Clean…  

If you're anything like me, you have a list of chores that you do daily or weekly (or, let's be honest, chores that you intend to do daily or weekly). But then there are those floating chores that even the most organized of us tend to let slip. You'll be going along, feeling pretty good about your house's upkeep, before you think, so when WAS the last time cleaned the dishwasher? Or washed the curtains? Or pulled out the fridge?

There's a good friend of mine who would be reading this, aghast, right now, because those things ARE on her weekly cleaning list. She pulls out her refrigerator and washer to clean behind them every single week. The last time I did that was because of a catastrophic milk spill. But is she crazy or am I lax? How often should you do certain things? In fact, this goes for all aspects of cleaning, especially your car! What's right?

How often should you wash your car? Like everything, it depends on how and where you drive, but I was surprised to find that my grandfather was right - cars should still be washed about once a week. It prevents contaminants like dust, dirt, pollen, sap, bugs, salt and air-borne pollutants from adhering to and possibly damaging your car. Many car washes offer unlimited monthly passes that make this reasonably affordable, but if you need to stretch this out, and you're able to avoid some of the worse mess (salt, tree sap, bug guts and bird droppings), you can do it every other and be ok.

How often should you vacuum and clean the interior?
If you have kids and those kids eat in your car, you can never vacuum enough. But if you vacuum every other time you wash your car, you should be ok. It's recommended that you vacuum twice. The first time, you're getting the surface dirt out. After this, beat the seats and carpets to bring any embedded dirt to the surface, and then vacuum again. Make sure the dash is free of dust.

How often should you clean out your "car bag"?
My "car bag", the bag I keep in the trunk for emergencies and to generally feel well prepared, is seasonal, and that's the type of bag I recommend for others. I clean it out a) when the season changes and I need to revisit what's in there - swapping hot weather for cold weather emergency supplies, changing the spare clothes from summer to winter, changing beach towels to blankets or b) when I've used something. Rather than a scheduled maintenance, I clean it as I use it. When we use a spare set of clothes, or the sunscreen, or the antifreeze, I bring the bag in to make sure I've replaced anything, and I give the rest of the bag a once over to remove any clutter. When I do the big change over I empty the bag completely and vacuum it out. I check for expired or worn out supplies, and make sure we're ready for the next season.

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