5 Hacks To Keep Your Cup Holders Clean On Long Road Trips

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Setting off on a road trip is an exciting experience, with a chance to create memories while enjoying the sights along the way. However, this adventure often takes a toll on your car's interior. The traditional drinks and snacks that are a mandatory part of the fun can also leave behind spills and sticky residue as you make your way from one destination to the next. Your car's cup holders are usually where spills occur and loose belongings start to accumulate. Luckily, you can prevent spills by positioning absorbent coasters underneath your drinks or using a cup holder organizer to keep all your accessories in one place. With a few solutions like these in mind, your attention will be focused on the highlights of your trip rather than the mess inside your car.

As you plan your itinerary and pack your suitcase, give some thought on how to prepare your car, as well. Aside from filling it up with gas and checking the tires, the interior will benefit from some thoughtful planning. After all, when cup holders are disorganized, cluttered, and sticky, it can be distracting to the driver and may diminish the fun of the trip. Plus, by being organized and prepared to tackle any spills, your car might look even cleaner at the end of your trip than it did before you left.

Keep your car clean and colorful with silicone muffin liners

One of the simplest ways to keep your car cup holders clean is by placing a silicone muffin liner inside each one. With these liners in place, spills and crumbs are prevented from reaching the bottom of your cup holders. The liners are easy to clean by simply removing them and rinsing them off at the next rest stop. A good tip is to keep several on hand to replace them easily while the last batch is drying. The liners are durable as well, so they won't disintegrate after miles of wear and tear. When you've returned from your trip, throw them in the dishwasher, and they'll be ready for your next adventure.

Silicone muffin liners are usually available in standard or large sizes, so it's easy to find a good fit for your vehicle. They're also featured in a variety of colors, so you can choose which one suits your preference. You may decide on a set of black silicone liners for a sleek and coordinated look, such as this collection from Amazon. For 12 black silicone liners in a standard size, the price is only $9.98 — and the jumbo size is $13.75. You can also select a colorful liner that will decorate your car and add to the fun of the road trip. This set of 12 silicone liners in a standard size from Amazon is offered in a choice of different colors, and it is currently available for $7.99.

Catch spills with cup holder coasters

Road trips often happen during the summer, whether it's a family vacation during the school break or maybe a girls-only getaway to spend a week at a beach house. Nonetheless, hot weather during a summer road trip means you'll need plenty of cold drinks to stay cool. These cold drinks drip condensation into your cup holders, which can attract other debris at the bottom as well. To catch and soak up any droplets before they become a wet mess, place an absorbent coaster at the bottom of each cup holder.

These Mandala Ceramic Car Cup Holder Coasters from Amazon are a colorful example of a solution to the problem of too much condensation in your cup holders. These coasters are made of absorbent stone and are fitted with cork underneath, so they grip the bottom of the cup holder firmly. They'll soak up the drips from your iced tea and catch the occasional spill. With a diameter of 2.56 inches, they're designed to be used in most cars or trucks, but it's best to measure your cup holders first to ensure a good fit. They include a notch on the perimeter to make them easy to remove for cleaning, which can be done by rinsing them with soapy water and letting them air dry. These coasters come in a pack of four colorful designs, and they are currently available for $6.99.

Use a sock to clean up spills

Sometimes spills happen, especially on long road trips. It may have happened when you grabbed an early morning coffee on your way to see the sunrise at a national park, or maybe it was the soda from the theme park that leaked the day before. That spill will leave a residue that will become more sticky over time, collecting more debris the longer it remains. A great way to polish the inside of your cup holder is by using an old sock that's wrapped around the bottom of a cup or glass.

Choose a glass that is the right size for the cup holder, then pull the sock up tightly so that it fits snugly around the bottom. Spray the sock with a disinfectant or glass cleaner, then insert the glass into the cup holder and twist it around until it removes the residue inside. This method works well if you have an old sock handy that has lost its mate during your trip because you will be left with a sticky sock that will likely be thrown away when you're done. An alternative method is to wrap a paper towel around the glass and clean the cup holder the same way; then dispose of the paper towel. You can repeat this cleaning method as often as necessary, or you may choose to take the opportunity to keep your shiny cup holder clean by inserting a silicon cupcake liner inside.

Keep things tidy with slime

Another way to clean your cup holders is to use a hack that can help you clean the rest of your car as well. When dust, spills, and debris start to accumulate on different surfaces of your car's interior during your road trip, mix up a quick batch of slime to help you tidy up. The mixture requires only three ingredients, which are white glue, baking soda, and contact lens solution. These items can be brought from home or purchased from a convenience store once you're on the road. The most amazing part of this hack is that the slime can be mixed right in the cup holder itself. However, you can also create it in a separate cup, which would provide you with a way to store some for later. 

Combine one cup of white glue with 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of contact lens solution. Stir well to mix the ingredients, and then let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes to allow it to congeal. After it has rested for a few minutes, it will resemble a large ball of slime. Break off a portion to press into the cup holder to remove any crumbs or dirt. Then press it against any other areas that seem dusty, such as the air conditioning vents or the surface of the console. The slime will pick up the dust without leaving any stain or residue behind.

Stay stylish on the road with a cup holder organizer

Cup holders do more than hold drinks and snacks. They also provide a way to stay organized on your adventure. They serve as a place to store your glasses, charge your phone, and keep track of your key fob. They can also keep small accessories on hand that make your trip enjoyable, such as lip balm, a travel-sized hand sanitizer, and a small bottle of lotion for those long days holding the steering wheel. It's possible to keep all these necessities close at hand and do so in a stylish way, which will keep your cup holders clean and uncluttered.

A car cup holder organizer like this one from Natural Life will keep your accessories in one place, and it will also add a decorative touch to your front seat. This organizer is the right size to fit the cup holders of most cars or trucks, and the top opens wide to hold all your necessities. It contains several compartments to separate smaller or larger items, and there's even a slit where your phone charger cord reaches inside. The bohemian floral print makes it decorative as well as useful. This particular organizer is available in three different colorful prints, and it's currently offered for $22.00. Using a clever solution such as this one is a way to stay neat, organized, and stylish as you hit the road and enjoy your next adventure.