car cleaning with kids

Prevention is a large part of the cure when it comes to car cleaning. 

And preventing as much of the family dirt and debris from accumulating is really half the battle. 

Here are a few prevention tips to consider to help make car cleaning with kids quicker and easier:

  • Leather seats. If you're lucky enough to be car shopping, choose leather seats over upholstery. They wipe up more easily. Clean leather upholstery with a special cleaner/conditioner to keep it looking good and to help it last longer. Always wipe up the excess.
  • If your seats are upholstered, cover them with waterproof seat covers, especially the seat that's home to your toddler or the dog. 
  • If you don't have floor mats, get them.
  • To keep the car tidy, empty it of shoes, backpacks, papers - everything - after each outing. This includes emptying the trash. During the summer months, a single missed dumping can lead to some pretty rancid smells.

Car Chores for Kids by Age

Here's a list of car cleaning chores kids can generally do by age:

Ages 2 and under:

  • Take the toys they brought into the car out of the car

Ages 3 to 5:

  • Previous chores, plus:
  • Take their backpacks from the car into the house

Ages 6 to 9:

  • Previous chores, plus:
  • Pick up trash in car and empty the bag
  • Wipe up spills
  • Vacuum out the car, with help depending on the machine's height and weight
  • Help wash the car

Ages 10 to 13:

  • Previous chores, plus:
  • Wipe off the car's dashboard and upholstery

Ages 14 to 17:

  • Previous chores, plus:

  • Wash the car
  • Wash the car's undercarriage each spring.

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