Cleaning Your Car's Glove Compartment

In cleaning your car's interior, don't overlook the glove compartment, a valuable storage area for helpful or important vehicle or personal items.

If you haven't given much thought to your car's glove compartment lately, maybe you should. When you have a few minutes, look inside and examine the contents to find out what you've been missing.

1. Take everything out of the glove compartment and spread it out on a seat, or preferably on a table in the house. Start by eliminating trash like gum wrappers or expired coupons, along with unused fast food salt and pepper packets. If they've been there a long time, you may not want to use them anymore. The same goes for candy bars or other disposable food items. If they're still sealed, you may be able to keep them. But if snack or beverage items have been there for more than three months, you may want to discard them.

2. Look through the inedible or disposable things to determine which you will keep or get rid of. For example, packaged straws or plastic cutlery, along with pens or scratch pads, can go back into the glove compartment when you are ready to restock it after sifting through all the contents. Anything that is broken, like a pencil, or stained from drips or torn from wear and tear can be eliminated and if needed, replaced by more serviceable things.

3. Now read through each document and sort by date or relevance. For example, you will probably want to keep the vehicle's operation manual and maintenance record on hand in case of an accident or service failure. Your owner's registration and title, along with proof of insurance, should be placed in a protective clear plastic cover so you can identify and access them quickly if needed. Parking passes or mileage sheets might also need to be kept in the glove compartment, unless you prefer to move them to another storage section in the console, for example.

4. Less-important or irrelevant documents can be moved into the house for safer storage and to free up space in the glove compartment. These might include your blood pressure card, if you sometimes stop and get it checked at the fire station or pharmacy. Things like a calorie counter, hairbrush, or nail file can go into your purse or cosmetic bag. Kids' report cards belong in a more secure storage box, although their basketball schedule might be kept in the car, especially if driving directions are attached.

5. Dip a clean scrub cloth in mildly soapy water and wipe out the inside and outside of the glove compartment. Be sure to remove sucker sticks or stuck gum from the plastic molding. Then rinse the cloth and wipe away excess soap with clear water. Let it stay open to air dry.

When it is ready, return your organized papers and limited supplies for continued storage. You may want to make a small list of the contents and tape it inside the glove compartment door so anyone can see at a glance what they can expect to find there. Keep clean napkins or paper towels in the compartment or nearby area as well for runny noses or sticky fingers. Don't let kids play in the glove compartment if you store important papers or chemical products there.

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