Family Life

5 tips for keeping your van (or car) clean and running {until the wheels fall off!}

 This tips for keeping your van (or car) clean and running post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DropShopAndOil #CollectiveBias

Walmart Tire and Lube #dropshopandoil #ad

In the beginning of 2014, we had our third child. A bouncing baby boy, as cute as can be! When I was pregnant with him, I started to panic, because how in the world was I going to fit my entire family of 5 in the SUV that I was currently driving with car seats and diaper bags, back packs and children? Can we say– clown car? But, by some miracle from Heaven, we all fit. It was amazing! And, it worked amazingly well for a while until these beasts, aka children,  continued doing something called growing. This growing phenom turned my infant son into a beast baby, the toddler turned into a kicking, fussy boundaries-violated child who enjoyed laying all her limbs over everyone else in the back, and the oldest began to grow limbs longer than a tree’s, thus becoming a professional contortionist. I am not even exaggerating, either. Long, lanky tree-like limbs that overtook the entire back seat.

About 8 or so months in with three children in our ever-shrinking red SUV, I had just about enough. The crying, the whining, the kicking and hitting and nashing of teeth, the baby being reached over to and awakened from a peaceful car ride sleep for no reason was the breaking point for me. I was at my wits end! I prayed to God and pleaded with my husband to please help us find a way to upgrade to something bigger. A van would have been ideal and just what we needed, but at that point I would have settled for a school bus. Please Lord, give these kids some space, so we can have peace!

A few months later the Lord answered our prayers, and in a way that blessed me more than I ever thought having a van could. After much playing of the waiting game, my husband’s childhood (and current) best friend called to let us know the had a van for sale and wanted us to be the first ones to have dibs. This van was his mother’s and she had passed away several months earlier after a tough battle with cancer. To say I was honored that they thought of us to sell this van to is an understatement. This woman who this car originally belonged to has always had a special place in my heart!

When I started dating my husband, we would visit her and her son and she always had the most inviting and open spirit and would make us tea, bake us cookies, and invite us over to eat her delicious food. She was a food caterer by trade and that is why she owned the van. She catered our wedding as a gift and always opened her home to us while we would come visit my in-laws. The timing of the availability of this van was just perfect. So we purchased it and I have been driving it for about two months now!

Now I know all vehicles should be taken care of so you get a lot of use out of it, but since this one has such a special meaning for me, I wanted to make sure I take extra good care of it! So, I want to share some tips that are helping me take care of my van until the wheels fall off. We are committed, y’all!

our new van1. Park your van in covered parking or in a garage. 

Here in Oklahoma, we get hail storms and other freak weather events throughout the year that can cause some major damage. Having a place to park your vehicle that is covered is always recommended. We love our little car port that extends out from our house. It keeps the snow off the car in the winter, it keeps hail from denting it and we can stay dry and keep our feet clean when we are getting in during a rainy day.

car cleaning tips

2. Keep a trash can in between the seats to help keep a messy van at bay. 

Between school drop-offs and pick-ups; errands, trips and vacations; we live in the van about as much, if not more, than we live in our house. There is a space that is perfect for a nice bathroom-sized trash can right between the front seats! The kids can grab up whatever trash they have accumulated in the back and toss it in on their way out of the van. Before I implemented the use of this trash can, they were just tossing their candy wrappers, food bags and random papers and things on the seats and floor. Now they have a nice trash receptacle within plain view where they can toss it. It really has helped cut down on the mess– so it’s here to stay!

car cleaning supplies3. Create a DIY Car Cleaning Supply kit that you can keep in your van at all times. 

This handy little kit has what you need to keep your interior van surfaces looking great at all times. Make it a habit to clean your van out once a week and make it shine using the items in your Cleaning supply kit.

car cleaning tip dusting

So far, I have a duster, automotive cleaning wipes and glass cleaning wipes in my kit. The container I put my cleaning items in has a lid attached, so when I am done, I pop the lid back on and stick in in the stow-and-go compartment in the middle of the van. Each Thursday between drop-offs for kid #1 and kid #2, I have made it a habit to go to my local car wash, empty the trash, vacuum the carpet and seats, and use my car cleaning supplies. If you keep a routine, it won’t be hard for you to keep your lovely van looking fabulous!

van interior4. Wash the outside AND the inside of your van

For the longest time, I would just take my vehicles through the car wash, vacuum it out and end it there. I always neglected wiping down the interior and giving it a good wash, which makes it kind of embarrassing to allow people to ride with you. With 3 kids and a lot of time in the van, drinks get spilled, food goes flying, and surfaces are soon covered in gunk. Lately, I have been trying to keep a routine about wiping down all interior surfaces with some pretty awesome automotive cleaning wipes.  They are formulated for the surfaces in your car and super convenient to have on hand. No need for a soapy bucket of water and a rag. I mean, look at those spots on my dash. How in the world did those get there? gross!

car interior clean Here it is all wiped down and pretty. It’s amazing how much easier it is to maintain the cleanliness of my vehicle when I make a habit to dust, wipe things off, vacuum and have the kids keep their areas in the back free of trash! Having a plan, even for keeping your car clean, can help make life so much easier!

pennzoil walmart tire and lube #dropshopandoil #ad5. Be sure to perform regular van maintenence.

And last, but certainly NOT least, is to make sure you keep your van’s oil changed and everything regularly maintenance to give it the best life possible! The exterior and interior of your van is not really going to matter if the engine stops working. If you don’t keep up with the regular maintenance on your vehicle, those wheels may fall off way before they are supposed to! I recently had my oil changed at the Walmart Tire & Lube. If you’ve read above, you know I love convenience, so I can just drop off my van and go shopping while they work on my van. I also love that Walmart uses Pennzoil, because it cleans out the sludge that lesser oils can leave behind. They also have an oil for engines that have more than 75,000 miles, which is great for me. The high mileage oil is formulated to help motors stay cleaner and last longer. Plus, we all know Walmart has those low, low prices, and that does not exclude their Tire and Lube department. If I can save in all facets of life without sacrificing quality, then why not– right? 🙂

Now that I’ve shared my van-cleaning and van-maintenance tips with you, do you have any to add to the list? What do you do to keep your van running until the wheels fall off? I am always open to more tips that help make my life easier, so let’s hear it in the comments below!

Hey! Meet Vanessa

A foodie, crafty, homeschooling mom of 3, who loves her Happy Planner and all things Mid Century Modern!


A foodie, crafty, homeschooling mom of 3, who loves her Happy Planner and all things Mid Century Modern!

You may also like...


  1. Honestly, I need a small trash can on my car. Thanks for the tips.

  2. I need to get a garbage can back in our car – then teach the kids how to use it, lol. I love the idea of cleaning kit for in the car though, that’s kind of brilliant.

  3. Taking regular care of your car is pretty much the most important thing ever when it comes to car care. I always like to make sure the air pressure in my tires is good, too…that makes a big difference for gas mileage! I love the idea of stopping by Walmart to get my oil changed while I do my weekly errands. Thanks for sharing! #client

  4. Great tips! I’m always looking for quick ways to keep the car clean. Up here in Nebraska it seems like the car gets dirtier in the winter both inside and out because it’s just too dang cold to stay out there, lol. We’d rather get back in the house in front of the fireplace! I really like some of your ideas though and I’m going to start implementing a couple. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *