Tips for Cleaning Your Car in the Summer Heat After Your Child Makes a Mess ~ Dallas Mom Blog and Fort Worth Mom Blogger: Trendy Mom Reviews
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tips for Cleaning Your Car in the Summer Heat After Your Child Makes a Mess

We've all been there - our child spills a bottle, sippy cup, ice cream cone, or something else in the car. They may even vomit in the car. I used to think that the worst was when something like this happened in the Texas heat. However, the worst is when it happens in the Texas heat and your child doesn't tell you! In today's post, I'll share some tips for cleaning your car after your child makes a mess.

Tips for Cleaning Your Car in the Summer Heat After Your Child Makes a Mess

1. Identify the source of the smell.

There is a helpful article on - What's Causing That Smell in My Car?  Personally, this article helped me to learn that a musty smell in my vehicle was actually coming from my vents. The simple solution was to run the fan at high speed (with the air conditioning off) to dry the evaporator. This worked perfectly! I couldn't believe it. 

I owe a big "thanks" for the free advice that worked. I appreciated that they were so descriptive in the article so that I was able to easily understand the issue. For instance, here is the snippet that helped me:
"Musty: If turning on the air conditioner generates a musty smell, mold and/or mildew have probably formed in the air-conditioning system. Moisture naturally collects on the cold air-conditioning evaporator (a small radiator that carries refrigerant into the car's dashboard) and it may be harboring mold. Running only the fan at high speed (with the air conditioning off) can dry the evaporator.
However, that doesn't guarantee the problem won't reoccur — especially if it's being caused by a clog in the drain tube that allows water to drip out under the car. A musty smell also can be caused by carpets that get wet when water leaks into the interior."
I highly recommend that you check out the article here to learn about the causes of other types of bad smells in your vehicle.  Moving on though, we'll focus on tips for cases where your child causes a bad smell in your car.

2. Thoroughly search your car and remove food items.

I learned on that if it smells like rotten fruit, it probably is.  Be sure to thoroughly search your car to remove food sources.  You need to be vigilant about this during the Texas summers since food rots quickly in the heat!

3. If your child vomits, take a multi-step approach.
You will want to remove all of the vomit possible and then thoroughly clean the impacted area.  We then use baking soda as a deodorizer.  We park our car in the garage and leave the windows down to let it air out with fans.  We also remove the car seats and booster seats to clean, deodorize, and air them out.

4. Remove dirty sports equipment promptly.
After a smelly uniform incident, we created a rule that all sports equipment and clothing must be removed from the car and placed in the laundry room immediately when we come home.  In our incident, we cleaned the car similarly to how we cleaned it in step #3 for a vomit smell.

5. Vacuum your car regularly.
As a mom with young children, it has been very helpful to clean and vacuum my car regularly. I bought a cordless vacuum and am a pro at vacuuming our vehicles quickly because I have a lot of practice from cleaning them weekly.

6. Hire a professional if needed.
There are times when a professional is needed. A friend left a gallon of milk in their car after grocery shopping.  They forgot about it until they returned to their car and opened the door.  This was a case where a professional service was necessary.

7. Ban eating in your vehicle.
My husband has a "no eating" rule for his vehicle. His motto is that preventing messes is key. 

8. Keep vomit bags in your car.
Our oldest son gets car sick easily.  He keeps a stash of vomit bags in both of our vehicles.

My children seem to have a special gift for making a mess in my car.  The worst is when they cause a mess in summer because the Texas heat makes the smells worse.  Addressing problems promptly is important!  Of course, there are times when your children actually didn't make a mess such as mold in the air-conditioning evaporator like I learned on

Finally, let me tell you that I am often a "learn as I go" type of mom.  I've learned all of the tips above from personal experience.  When it comes to cars, my go-to resource for issues on car buying, maintenance, repairs, and even car smells is the Expert Tips section on Their little corner on the web is a place that I really like to visit because the articles are informative and easy to understand even though I am a novice when it comes to car topics.

I hope that the tips above are helpful. I wish you the best of luck with your smelly car issues!

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