These Genius Items Will Keep Your Car Clean and Organized on Family Road Trips

A clean car? With kids? Yes, it's possible.

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March 09, 2021

Whether you're heading out on a family road trip or starting the back-to-school chauffeur service, you and your kids are in the car — a lot. Manage the chaos with our simple cleaning and organizing ideas, including essential product picks.


Incredibly versatile and useful, this collapsible tote has dividers to create four compartments for effortless and convenient storage. A portable cooler bag slides into one of the compartments and can then be removed when you stop for picnics or sit in the bleachers for practices. The tote can be folded down when not in use so it doesn't take up extra space.

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These all-weather mats give your floorboards total protection. You don't have to fear spilled milk, muddy boots, beach bags full of sand or any other potential mess. Be sure to select your car's make and model for the perfect fit.

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Kids create messes — it's simply a universal truth. Anyone who has removed a car seat knows the hidden terrors that can lurk underneath. Slip these seat protectors under your kids' car seats to ensure that your chairs remain spill-and-stain-free. Plus, it helps prevent those dreaded car seat indentions.

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Keep your car tidy even when traveling with your best friend. This dog seat-cover creates a hammock that attaches to headrests to protect the car seat. (You can also lay it across the back of an SUV.) The non-slip backing is waterproof, but the top layer is quilted to give your pup a cozy spot to sit while on the open road.

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Organize everything your kiddos need while traveling with this rear seat tote. Keep snacks, coloring books, toys and stuffed animals all confined in one place instead of scattered across the car. It's also perfect for back-to-school days since you can turn it into a snack and homework center.

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Don't let trash pile up in your car by having a portable garbage can within reach. The leak-proof bag attaches to the console to keep odors at bay and everything contained until you can toss the trash bag.

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$6.99 (Set of 2)

Whether heading to your favorite summer locale or running to and from after-school activities, eating in the car becomes a survival necessity. Prevent snack spills by using these ingenious cups with lids. Kids can still get to their crackers through the slotted opening, but if they drop the cup, the snacks stay put.

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$9.99 (Pack of 12)

Kids keep their drinks in cup holders, of course, but also crayons, collected acorns, leaves and any other trinket they find. Save yourself major cleaning grief by putting these silicone cupcake liners in all of your car's cup holders. When they start to look gross, switch them out with clean ones and run the dirty ones through the dishwasher.

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Keep a container of these wipes to ensure your car looks spic and span. The all-purpose wipes quickly remove dirt, dust and grime from the whole car (including fabric and leather!) — and create an I-just-left-the-detail-shop look.

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This may feel like the extreme end of car cleaning, but if you're on a road trip across the country or constantly on the go during the school year, a portable vacuum will come in handy more times than you can count. Not only does it pack away in a super small bag that's easy to stow in your trunk, but you just plug it into the car's power outlet and vacuum up all the crumbs and dirt — no matter where you are.

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