As a huge fan of Bryce Courtenay's novel Power of One, it slightly pleases me that there has been an atypical amount of rain in our sometimes drought-prone region since BabyGeek's birth. The symbolism is pleasant until I have to put a wet, muddy, or otherwise gross stroller into my car.
After a few months of stroller use, I found that mud and black wheel tracks had become regular additions to my station wagon's tan interior. On snowy and rainy days, the carpet got damp, so loading in groceries or other clean and dry items became an exercise in peril.
There are rubber cargo area mats for many vehicles, but I couldn't find one shaped for my specific late-90s vehicle. An ill-fitting universal mat seemed like it could be more inconvenient than helpful.
At a rummage sale, I found a Thanksgiving themed flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth. It was large, oval, and in like-new condition. And it was kind of hideous. It was essentially free because they were having a bag sale, and I had room in my bag. These factors made it the perfect test subject.
I laid the tablecloth in the back of my car and traced the outline of my cargo area on it with a Sharpie (I keep two in the glove compartment- a fine and a regular). The desired portion only took half of the tablecloth, so I folded it in half and cut out two floor coverings using household scissors.
Originally, I had planned to sew the edges on a serger, but they seemed to have plenty of integrity without the extra work, so I decided to take my chances. Plus, the Thanksgiving design wasn't exactly something I wanted to keep forever. I bought two lovely solid colored replacements for the Thanksgiving cargo area liner. They both sit untouched in a closet.
The Thanksgiving liner has been in my car for over 9 months and shows no sign of wear. Dry matter (dirt, sand, Cheerios, etc.) is easily brushed or shaken off. Wet, mucky stuff cleans off easily with a sponge, paper towel, or baby wipe.
Out of laziness rather than insight, I stacked both Thanksgiving liners in the cargo area. This turned out to be quite helpful. When one get wet, it's easy to pull it out or fold it around around the icky item (leaving the other liner to cover the carpet).
Vinyl tablecloths are easy to find at big box retailers, discount stores, dollar stores, and thrift shops. They come in a huge range of styles, prints, and solid colors. They are reasonably indestructible (if the Thanksgiving liner is any indicator). Even at full-price, they cost only a small fraction of the price of a commercially produced cargo area or trunk liner.
Please add your own clean car hacks to this post. My car is a perpetual mess since BabyGeek's arrival, and I can use all help I can get.
BabyGeek (at 16 months) actively despises going through the car wash (not alone, of couse; I'm in the car too). Is that normal? Can I hope it's a phase?