It’s smart to stash a few essentials in your car so you’re always prepared for an emergency. Aside from the obvious jumper cables and spare tire, there are other practical, personal things to keep in your car, so you’re just as prepared for a non-emergency while on the road.
Keep scrolling for essential creature comforts and health and beauty products for your car’s travel self-care kit.
What Not to Keep in Your Car
The inside of a car isn’t always the friendliest environment. It doesn’t take long for a car to heat up, even on a cooler 60-degree day, because of the greenhouse effect. Things like makeup and medication are perishable and should be left out of your car.
A toasty interior temp can cause makeup to melt or explode, affect a product’s color or texture, and make active ingredients (like the zinc oxide in your SPF) ineffective. While it might not make your medication harmful to take, exposure to extreme temps could make your medication less effective. It’s best to keep these and other perishables out of your car.
Luckily, all of the items on this list are safe to keep in your car over time.
Essential Health, Beauty & Personal Products to Keep in Your Car
Why stop the emergency preparedness at your car safety kit? Don’t neglect the “nice-to-haves,” like the items on the list below!
1. Antibacterial wipes
Disinfecting wipes are great for quick cleanups and wiping down your car’s surfaces, but you may be worried about harsh ingredients damaging your car. Luckily, many wipes and other antibacterial products designed to disinfect household surfaces are also safe to use to clean a car without damaging its interior.
Wipes that contain at least 70% isopropyl alcohol are effective against coronavirus and safe to use on almost every interior surface: the steering wheel, door handles, gear shift, wiper and turn signal levers, grab handles, upholstery, touchscreens, etc.
Use your judgment with anything that contains harsh chemicals like bleach or hydrogen peroxide, which can damage upholstery, or ammonia-based cleaners, which can damage touchscreens.
2. Hand sanitizer
Keeping hands clean is another way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. When soap and water aren’t available, opt for an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to kill germs. Store this out of direct sunlight in your center console or glove compartment.
3. Hand cream
Cold, dry weather and all that hand sanitizer can seriously dry out your skin. Keep a small tube of hand cream in your center console and out of the sun for when you need a dose of moisture.
4. Face mask
The CDC recommends wearing a face mask to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Don’t be stuck without one! Keep a spare mask or two in your car in case you forget yours.
A blanket is perfect for impromptu picnics, keeping warm, transporting fragile or messy items, or rescuing an animal. Old towels are great too!
6. Warm clothing
Staying warm not only keeps you comfortable in the cold, but research shows it might also stave off cold symptoms. An extra set of warm clothing, including a hat, socks, and shoes, is always good to keep in your car in case of emergency or if the cold catches you by surprise.
7. Oil blotting papers
Freshen up your face and soak up excess oil with mess-free blotting papers. These barely take up space and are so convenient.
8. First aid kit
There are a few essential first aid items everyone should keep in their car, but stick to things that store well over time, like bandages, gauze, tweezers, and alcohol wipes. Skip medication. The extreme hot or cold temperatures inside your car may not make medication unsafe, but they can affect your meds’ effectiveness.
Stash a slim space-friendly box in your glove compartment!
10. Lint roller
A must-have, especially for pet owners! Easily remove pet hair and fuzz from your clothing or car seats.
11. Folding hairbrush
It takes up less space than a regular hairbrush and is perfect for on-the-go grooming.
12. Dental floss
Don’t get caught with something stuck in your teeth! Dental floss or toothpicks are smart to keep in your car.
13. Stain remover pen
Get rid of stains quickly with a no-mess stain remover pen.
14. Lens wipes
Keep a few packs of lens wipes handy to wipe smudges off of your eye or sunglasses.
A driving must-have! It’s always helpful to have a spare pair of shades handy, but remember that heat can warp lenses and frames. Keep a less expensive pair in your car and out of sunlight.
16. Nail file
A nail file (or better yet, a nail kit with some essential tools) is a lifesaver if you break a nail or want to give your nails a quick touch up.
17. Aromatherapy diffuser
Aromatherapy is a useful tool for decompressing during a stressful commute or boosting feelings of joy with essential oils. There are car aromatherapy diffusers that plug into your car charger, attach to vents, and hang from the rearview mirror. Find what works for you!
18. Reusable shopping bags
So you always have them handy for shopping trips. Bonus: get insulated bags to keep groceries cold.
Here at Direct Auto, we’re all about helping drivers be more prepared for the road ahead. Make sure you’re prepared with an auto insurance policy that makes sense for you. To learn more about our affordable coverage options or get a free quote on car insurance, call 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732), click, or come into a Direct location near you.