Think about how much time you spend in your car. For some, the commute, the trips, the errands, and the day to day add up to a dozen hours a week. Now think about how much time you spend in your favorite chair, a couch, or your bed.
Now think about how often you clean each of these things. If you wouldn’t want to spend a night in a bed that hasn’t been cleaned after 100 hours of use, why would you want to spend that in a car? A clean car is an important part of a healthy life.
Indeed, a car is very much like a tiny house. It is it’s own world filled with competing forces and living things. This isn’t a metaphor but indicated in a study of microbiota in cars as their own biome.
If only the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids franchise had a film with micro people trapped in a car, this would be well-understood information.
A Clean Car is a Happy Car
Generally speaking, people like to be around new things and clean things over dilapidated ruination. Even in a fiercely competitive destroyed world like the Mad Max series, Max’s car has a certain order that offers a bulwark against the chaos.
The world is a dirty, disorganized place. Taking refuge from that gives you the ability to recharge and prepare to get through your day.
In the case of a clean car, it offers two distinct types of health benefits. The first broad category is physical health. This is mostly about avoiding things that would make you ill or chip away at health.
The second category is mental health. This is about keeping the familiar close and avoiding getting lost in clutter.
Within each category, you may be more worried about one element than another. You also might argue that you’ve never heard of anyone having a specific problem with the clutter and crumbs in their car.
In that last case, you might be surprised to learn just how much car grime contributes to health issues when given context.
Staying healthy, like most complicated and annoying things in life, takes a constant slew of upkeep and inputs to achieve. Health is a war fought with the resources on hand against an ever-replicating army of dangerous, evolving foes.
This is why the introduction of sanitation played such a huge part in upgrading the quality, and length, of life for so many. In the days before we learned what germs were, and learned that washing periodically reduced viral loads, people died in their childhood a lot more often.
Sanitation and basic hygiene work in tandem with your body’s own health assets. By keeping the amount of crud you are exposed to down, you give your body more time to heal.
This is one of the reasons that being ill makes you feel so tired. Your body actually is using the majority of its energy to fight invaders and has fewer resources left for walking around, going to work, and feeling up for anything annoying or taxing.
Not unlike areas of your home, areas in your car are breeding grounds for all sorts of different germs. Even your skin is a place where germs take root and multiply – it’s one of the reasons that periodic bathing is important.
Not all germs are created equal, though. You may have heard of the various reports that talk about the number of germs that can be found in areas of the home. These take the time to isolate the many thousands (and even millions) of bacteria you encounter in your bathroom, the kitchen sink, and carpet in the hallway.
The number of germs in your sponge rival those found on a toilet seat, which is superseded by the number found on the steering wheel.
Children, in particular, like to put their hands in places and then touch other places. Take a look at a car seat after only a few weeks of use and it will transform from a hunk of plastic to a hunk of sticky who-knows-what.
It doesn’t matter how often you scrub the children when the places they sit continue to go untouched and unsanitized.
Of course, if you go beyond the surface level, the number of germs isn’t really an issue. It’s the type of germs that matter. After all, you are filled with different types of bacteria.
Depending on what you read, it’s estimated that you have more foreign cells in your body in the forms of adaptogenic bacteria, gut flora, and para-symbiotic microbes than you do you-cells.
The germs found in your carpet are relatively benign; the germs on the toilet seat are also on the safe side. Inside the toilet, that’s a different story with different types of escherichia coli hanging out.
The kitchen sponge also houses more bacillus than anything else with only a few E. coli and the occasional salmonella, depending on your raw chicken use.
The car? It houses a whole roster of E. coli, bacillus, and staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). That’s the stuff that gets into cuts and causes nasty infections.
Not only that, the scar houses a few Klebsiella pneumoniae that are also antibiotic-resistant. The car, in general, tends to be a place where only the best of the worst survive, which means that picking up something from the car has a higher probability to give you a medication-resistant strain.
You’ll never remove all of the germs from a surface, but periodic cleaning reduces their number. This increases the time it takes for the germs to become widespread enough to lead to exposure.
You notice the tell-tale sign of mold by the odor it leaves behind. Most of the time when you smell something that’s a bit funky, you are smelling mold. You may also want to forget that smelling something means you are inhaling particles of it.
Molds get into cars from spills and messes of the moist kind. Mold spores are in the air all over, just looking for a warm place with enough moisture to take root and grow.
If you frequently jump into your car after a trip to the gym, you’ll end up with some mold in the seat in no time. It doesn’t matter if you shower before you leave or when you hit home. Mold doesn’t care about the quality of moisture, only the wetness.
Much like with germs, the issues with mold aren’t that they exist, its what kinds and how much. Benign mold has to build up to a pretty significant degree before you notice much of a problem.
By the time you smell that bit of funk, you need to do some cleaning, but you aren’t risking anything healthwise. Even small children won’t be affected by a lot of mold. Keeping mold numbers down means frequent cleaning, and a monthly cleaning pass is a handy way to feel fresh and clean.
When the mod is sporing and spreading, that can wreak havoc with allergies. If you frequently notice some redness in the eyes and some extra sniffling after a car trip, it’s not the AC or heater cycling air, its mold.
Black mold, which is rare, but not unknown in cars, causes the most problems. This mold causes severe allergic reactions and can be deadly to people with asthma or impaired breathing.
Your elderly folks and your babies are the most likely to be stricken by a black mold problem. Fortunately, unless you live in a humid swampy area (like Florida), black mold isn’t likely to take hold.
On the topic of asthma and allergies, you also want to keep an eye on the number of dust mites in the car.
Dust mites grow in fabrics and accumulate form the atmosphere, clothing, and pet dander. Dust mites have a subtle odor and tend to be most noticeable when an area is stuck and they are released into the air.
Routine vacuuming keeps dust mites from accumulating and leaves the air in your car crisp and fresh.
A hidden health problem associated with cars is the eating habits of the on-the-go crowd.
Spending a lot of time in your car means spending a certain amount of time grabbing snacks and meals that can be eaten while you travel. The convenience leads to some startlingly poor food choices.
If you notice that your car is cluttered with fast food wrappers and snack bags, it’s probably a good idea to reevaluate how often you stop for a bite on the way.
Pack up food from home; you’ll drop fewer crumbs and it tends to be a healthier way to go.
While we’re on the subject of making better choices, mental health is also boosted by keeping your car clean.
People like to have a clean, organized space to do their thinking in. They also love finding deals on services they use.
The mental health benefits of a clean car relate directly to stress and the ability to focus. The fewer things you have going on, the more dedication and care you can spend on each.
Fewer things to worry about take less energy, leaving you sharp and focused to deliver better solutions to the problems that remain.
Clutter and Productivity
If you work from home, at an office, or have ever sat in a waiting room, you’ve likely encountered an article on clutter and mental health.
These articles make the rounds every now and then because they detail an interesting underlying truth: your brain gets tired juggling too many things.
It’s a lot easier to deal with a few small tasks or even a single large task than hundreds of minute tasks.
Decluttering the car is almost zen in how good it makes you feel. Knowing that everything in the car needs to be there is great. Knowing where everything in the car is located provides peace of mind for a hectic day of errands and pickups.
When it comes to a car full of particular passengers all looking to stay occupied, it helps to know where to point them to find their favorite car distractions.
A lack of clutter in the car keeps it the safe zone bulwark against chaos you need to focus and prepare for a day of work or a laundry list of to-dos.
Focus And Distractions
Cleaning the car is one more task to add to a day filled to the breaking point with responsibilities. That’s why we’ve made washing itself an event that provides a brief respite for you and the family.
Start or end your day with a cleaning routine.
The final way that a clean car provides mental health benefits is in your ability to focus and avoid distractions. This means less chance of an accident on the road and more patience to deal with the many noises and demands of kiddos on the go.
Studies show that the brain has a limit on how many things it can deal with in a visual fashion. Once you’ve reached your limit, it starts shutting down and rejecting lesser stimuli. This means you notice the big stuff and start mentally ignoring the small bits.
Small bits on the road can still be dangerous bits. Keeping fewer things in the car helps your brain to focus on the things outside of the car, which improves reaction times and observation skills.
You need those observational skills intact if you want to beat a kid at the alphabet game, an eye-spy, or rousing round of punch-buggy.
Wash with Power!
Taking care of the world that is your car doesn’t have to be a huge chore. It’s important to keep a clean car for the health of your family and your well being.
Fortunately, unlike your house, a car is mobile. You can easily take it out to get dealt with and not feel like it gets dirty the moment you clean it.
Don’t fret about the details. Let us take care of that for you. Come see how fast and fully we can clean your home away from the house.