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Car snack hacks

The thought of the kids making a mess in the back of the car is enough to put any car-loving parent off taking a family road trip this summer. But there are some handy household products you can take on the ride to ensure that if spillages happen, you can clean them up in no time.

Snack test dummies top tips


1ST CENTRAL  has worked with car cleaning expert Tom Puttick from All That Gleams to put together some family friendly hacks to help remove stains from some of the nastiest snacks.

What to take on a car journey

  1. Keep a pack of baby wipes in your car. They can be used to wipe sticky finger marks and smeared food off of seats and dashboards easily.
  2. Keep a clean, dry tea towel in the car to clean up any spillages. This will come in handy to clear any liquid mess. It’s a good idea to blot the area with the towel, rather than rubbing, to avoid the stain spreading further or engrain it deeper into the fibres.
  3. Use bicarbonate of soda to clean up dairy spillages. If not cleared up properly, all dairy products such as ice creams, milks and yogurts can sour and leave a foul smell in the car. Sprinkling bicarbonate of soda over the area and allowing to air will leave your car smelling fresh. 
  4. Use plastic cereal containers to create an in-car rubbish bin. The plastic cereal boxes which can be bought at most supermarkets can be used to create a portable rubbish bin, to help contain the mess kids make in the car. Simply place a plastic bag inside the container and keep in the car to create an instant car bin. 
  5. Line your car cup holders with silicone baking cups. This collects all debris in one, removable place, which can be emptied periodically and all rubbish disposed of. It also helps to keep cup holders from becoming sticky and makes it much easier to wipe down surfaces. 
Top tips for removing mess
To get rid of that sour milk smell in cars you’ll need to target the source. Air fresheners will simply mask the smell and the odour will soon be back. First of all, remove excess milk with a tea towel or small bath towel using a blotting technique. Next sprinkle a thick layer of bicarbonate of soda over the damp areas in your car and leave over night to air. In the morning simply vacuum up the powder and your car will smell as good as new.
Depending on how much time you have, there are two tips you could follow to clean up chocolate stains.
  1. For parents with limited time, use a household brush to remove any loose chocolate from the seat or floor, and then use baby wipes to blot the area and absorb the remaining chocolate.
  2. For parents with a little more time, place ice on the affected area to freeze it. This will make it easier to lift the mess off upholstery and remove. You can then lift the chocolate off the seat with a blunt knife to avoid spreading the stain even further. Next, use baby wipes and blot the stained area. Blot, don’t scrub, or you may spread the stain further or rub it deeper into the fibres. Finally, use a dry tea towel to blot the damp area and leave to dry. 
Whilst yogurt’s can be a healthier treat to give to kids in the car, they can also spill on to the seats and floor. To remove any mess made by yogurt, first of all remove any excess yogurt using a baby wipe. Remaining streaks and smears can then be cleared up using an antibacterial spray and microfiber cloth – a tea towel would work just as well. For extra cautious parents, bicarbonate of soda can then be sprinkled across the stain again and left over night to remove any dairy odours. 
For all those snacks that leave crumbs and can get trodden into the floor – biscuits, popcorn, crisps and muffins – dig out your dustpan and brush and start sweeping. This is the best way to clear your car of crumbs and small pieces of food, and the debris is then collected in one go and can be disposed of easily. Any stubborn remnants can then be easily picked up by running a hoover over the area with a thin nozzled end.
Ice cream
Baby wipes can be used to clean up melted ice cream very effectively. First of all remove any larger chunks of ice cream by hand and then use multiple baby wipes to blot the area and avoid a permanent stain. 

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