You’ve got that clean car feeling: the benefits of a clean ride
August 26, 2021
Clutter is chaos. And in the car, chaos equals distraction. AtHiRoad, we’re all about driving distraction-free and one way to achieve that is to have a tidy set of wheels. We’re going to give you a rundown of the benefits of cleaning and how to achieve that clean car feeling.
The psychology behind cleaning
We all have our own ways of managing stress—a run on the treadmill, meditating, listening to music or even the occasional cleaning session. Yes, cleaning. As a leading mood booster, cleaning and organizing are great for your mental health (there’s even some science to back it up).
When your environment is cluttered, that chaos found in your car, home and work space restricts your ability to focus. Clutter contributes to distraction, and that distraction lowers your ability to process information.
Take driving, for instance. When you have a cluttered car, do you find yourself more distracted and unable to focus on the road? That pile of junk mail on the floor of your car is telling you something.
“Physical clutter competes for your attention, decreases performance, reduces focus and increases stress. We seldom acknowledge the cause of our problems to be clutter and blame other factors to be obstacles in our life. Hence effective organisation helps us save time, space, money and bring in calm, composure and comfort in our lives.”
Professional organizer, Gayatri Gandhi
The benefits of cleaning our spaces (car, home, office space, garage) go beyond a less cluttered, more organized space. It’s been shown that cleaning can help alleviate stress in more ways than one.
If done right, the act of cleaning your car (exercise) can help bump up the production of endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain. Those endorphins lead to less stress and a more mindful day.
Cleanliness is next to mindfulness
It’s not often we associate the mundane chore of cleaning our spaces with mindfulness. However, despite what teenagers might think, there is a strong link between mental health and cleaning. Youcan turn the mundane into meditation.
Your messy car, filled with food crumbs and junk mail, could be your path to mindful driving. When we do small chores within our spaces that require minimal, gentle concentration, we can steer the mind from worries and gain a sense of control.
“Rather than being caught up in the story line of ‘I don’t really want to do this, I’d rather be somewhere else or doing something else,’ instead we’re simply present with the physical sensation of whatever we’re doing in the moment.”
Andy Puddicombe, Headspace co-founder
Being present, in the moment, can be restorative as you clean. Results from a study conducted by Ipsos, showed that all participants agreed that cleaning provided them a peace of mind and a sense of control over their environment. They also reported that they felt more determined, inspired and proud and less nervous or hostile.
When we are mindful about cleaning we relax the body, calm the brain and foster a sense of accomplishment. Craig Sawchuk, psychologist at Mayo Clinic, says, “In the context of all this uncertainty, here’s something really good and tangible that can help build up our resiliency and help buffer against all these stressors around us.”
As you commit yourself to mindful cleaning, you allow yourself to have a healthy relationship with yourself and those around you.
The practical benefits of keeping your car clean
Now that we’ve covered the mental benefits of a clean car, it’s time to dive into more practical benefits of washing and cleaning your car—regularly.
The germ buster
You may avoid touching the seat of a porta potty or holding the rail on the subway, but how often are you thinking about your own car’s cleanliness? Sure there are the juice box stains from a year ago in the backseat and an inch of dust on the dash.
But it’s not hurting anybody, is it?
Bacteria love to ride shotgun in your car. As an invisible passenger—millions of germs, microbes and bacteria thrive in closed spaces, like the space between your seats where the ketchup packets disappear.
A 2014 study on bacteria found that there are five locations inside of a car which are considered to be prominent sources of germs and bacteria: the steering wheel, the gear shifter, door handles, window switches and the center console.
There are over 100 culturable colony-forming germs per 6.5 square centimeters inside of your car.
A clean, disinfected car can help keep you and its passengers safe from the unseen. And before you rush off to clean the inside of your car, Charles Gerba, professor at the University of Arizona, recommends the following car cleaning practice: disinfect it [your car] once a week. Start with any food stains and work your way down from the dashboard to the change holder and steering wheel, the places our hands come into contact with the most.
More bang for your buck
It may seem obvious, but having a clean and organized ride can help protect its value. And though there are other factors that go into the value of your vehicle, maintaining its condition (inside and out) is a big part of it.
Here’s a HiRoad tip: When you schedule regular maintenance to your car, like an oil change, also schedule a local auto detailing service for your vehicle or set a date to DIY detail it yourself. Both appointments will be worth it to you and your ride in the long run, should you decide to sell your car in the future.
Less stress during an emergency
Emergencies on the road happen, as much as we’d like to think they won’t. One of the benefits of having a clean car is knowing exactly where things are when you need them the most. For example, getting a fender bender on the freeway and knowing exactly where your phone is to access your insurance information.
Or, knowing exactly where you store the backup diapers and wipes for those diaper blowouts that always seem to happen when you least expect them to—like in the middle of a road trip. Having an organized car during those unexpected moments can help an overwhelming situation feel a little less stressful because you know exactly where things are.
Less clutter equals less distraction
You would agree that your car is a big part of your life, yes? And as a big part of your life, you want that aspect of your life to be as distraction-free as possible, right? Because let’s be honest—the road can be distracting enough as it is.
And although we try to keep the inside of our cars as distraction-free as possible, we’re human and often our cars become a place to eat, make calls, fix our hair and makeup, study for exams, and listen to music in.
(For the record, we don’t recommend doing these activities while on the road.)
This all creates clutter inside of your car, leaving you distracted. By taking the time to eliminate the distractions inside of your vehicle, you’re able to focus on the road and enjoy the journey.
Your guide to car cleaning tips
Cleaning and organizing our spaces isn’t always at the top of priority list. Because let’s face it—cleaning isn’t always a thrilling experience. And though it may not be like binge watching your favorite sitcom, it’s a necessary chore to keep your car free from distractions. We can find the easiest ways of simplifying our lives through these car cleaning tips.
Start with a mindful playlist to make cleaning less boring
Take everything out of your car - yes, everything
Deep clean from top to bottom
Keep what sparks joy and what’s necessary (like proof of car insurance)
Organize and give each item a designated space in your car
Create a routine of cleaning your car regularly
When everything in your car has a purpose, you’re able to get rid of the distractions—like those receipts tucked away inside the nooks and crannies of your car.
Taking the high road from the inside, out
As we consider the changes we make in our daily lives, we know that a lot of that change happens on the inside. Well, the same concept applies to how we handle the clutter, cleanliness and organization of our cars—it happens on the inside and can affect what happens on the outside.
Cleaning your car can benefit your mental health and allow you to incorporate mindfulness into the mundane. Then, by keeping your car clean and organized, you’re less likely to be distracted while driving.
At HiRoad, we believe in mindful action. When you are more focused on the road, and not on the chaos found in your car—you’re taking the high road.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with HiRoad®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. HiRoad is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. HiRoad makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.
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