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Eating in Your Car? Avoid a Mess With These 7 Tips

Eating in Your Car creates a precarious situation. You can safely eat a meal as a passenger with steady hands, but one bump in the road can lead to disaster, leaving crumbs and stains everywhere. Eating while parked also has risks if you don’t practice due diligence. To avoid a mess, you have to bring the proper equipment and make the right food choices. Here are seven helpful tips for eating in your car.

Designate a Food Bag

Leaving multiple food items lying around in different places increases the likelihood of spills. Instead, you should store your food in one designated bag or container to limit its exposure to your car. The food bag should sit in a spot where all passengers can reach it, such as the floor space in the back seating area. People can grab what they need straight from the bag without moving it and shuffling around the contents.

A designated food bag also helps simplify packing for road trips. Instead of bringing their snacks separately, everyone can stuff them into one bag and open up a little more space.

Use Wide Eating Surfaces

Eating in the car can be cramped and unstable, but a wide eating surface alleviates those problems. Here are some items you can bring onboard:

  • Lunch tray
  • Large plastic bowl
  • Tupperware
  • Cardboard box

The wider the surface is, the better. Make sure you choose a durable material, though. Glass creates another safety hazard. Stick to plastic and disposable materials. The cardboard box is your best bet, and most fast-food restaurants conveniently provide them for drive-thru meals.

Stash Some Wet Hand Wipes

Napkins and paper towels work just fine with regular meals, but when you eat on a car’s fabric or leather interior, you need a more reliable cleaning device. Wet antibacterial hand wipes can clean your hands, face and any surface you happen to touch or spill food on. They can also kick the food smells out and give your car a fresh fragrance.

Keep a canister of wet hand wipes in your cupholder, so you’re prepared to keep things clean any time you eat in the car.

Keep a Trash Bag Handy

The best thing you can do to avoid a mess in your car is to keep a trash bag handy. Leave no opportunity for waste build-up in your car. Throw every piece of garbage into the bag as soon as you finish using it, including any excess food. Empty the trash appropriately and replace the bag as quickly as possible.

You might find it helpful to keep a store of smaller disposable grocery bags instead of full-size trash bags, but either option works. Just make sure your car has a designated place to dispose of trash at all times.

Only Drink Clear Liquids

You also need to make the right food and beverage choices when eating in the car. For beverages, stick with clear liquids that won’t stain the interior and cause nasty smells. You might have to sacrifice your favorite soda or sports drink, but you’ll be happy you did. Cleaning up a water spill takes a lot less effort than getting sticky and sugary liquids out of the fabric.

If you must have a flavored drink, go for clear alternatives like Propel and sparkling water. Sprite and Ginger Ale still have sugars that can ferment in your car’s interior and cause stains.

Stick With Dry Foods

Eating strictly dry foods can also help you avoid a mess. Wet foods are more likely to stick to your hands, and thus can spread throughout your car in no time. Dry foods lead to crumbs, but crumbs don’t cause stains and are much more manageable than sticky messes. You can tolerate some crumbs in your lap, but getting your clothes and seat wet is a miserable experience.

Thankfully, most foods that people prefer to eat in the car (sandwiches, chips, pretzels, etc.) are all dry foods anyway. If you end up getting crumbs, simply vacuum them out when you get the chance.

Leave No Trace

Sometimes messes happen, but you can always control the contents of your vehicle. You should exit with all trash and leftover food whenever you eat in the car. Don’t save any snacks for later. Every time you bring food in the car, it should be fresh or unopened. Replace your eating surface and utensils each time as well.

Your car shouldn’t have any food or eating utensils if you’re not inside it. Keep your driving space clean. If you have to eat in the car, leave no trace!

Stay Clean While Eating in the Car

Sometimes we have to eat a meal or snacks on the go, but a car isn’t the most ideal place. Storing and eating food without causing a mess can be a challenge. The above seven tips will help you choose the right foods, keep them organized, have the proper cleaning tools and practice sanitary habits. Our vehicles take a beating. Do your part to keep the interiors clean by exercising these tips while eating in the car.

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