How clean is your car? – Not very, according to recent research by OSV!

  • Embarrassed Brits don’t give lifts
  • Kids get the blame for untidy upholstery
  • 15% of Brits have never cleaned the inside of their car!


Being completely honest, when did you last clean the inside of your car? We don’t mean just picking up abandoned kid’s socks, or empty crisp packets, but actually, properly cleaned, preferably using a vacuum cleaner and some kind of antibacterial spray.

If you’re currently mumbling excuses or looking sheepish, then it might make you feel better to know that you’re not alone. A new survey by independent vehicle supply professionals, OSV, has revealed that 40 per cent of Brits say they are too embarrassed to give someone a lift because of the state of their car. And why are they so embarrassed? 27 per cent said that they only cleaned the inside of their car once a year, while a very red-faced 15 per cent confessed to never having cleaned their car’s interior at all!

Having read those startling headlines, OSV decided delve deeper and really dish the dirt!

So why is it that we can’t seem to keep our cars clean and how are we making them messy? It will come as no surprise to most that very few motorists will admit their share of the blame, but rather than falling back on the old adage ‘a big boy did it and ran away’, almost nine in every ten respondents (88%) pointed their finger squarely at their children as being the biggest in-car mess-makers. Of those remaining, 34 per cent cited other passengers as the main cause of car mess, while 22 per cent said that they were reluctant to clean their car because they felt children, younger siblings and pets would just mess it up again.

Although almost a quarter of motorists are unwilling to clean their own cars due to the inevitable return of mess, it seems that 79 per cent of people would be willing to pay a professional, rather than attempt to sort out the mess themselves. With that being the case, what sort of muck do the valeters have to face?  

  • Food packaging was at the top of the car mess charts, with 85% of respondents admitting to having some in their car
  • Dirty clothes (33%) took the second place spot
  • Pet hair was a problem for 20% of those surveyed
  • For 19% newspapers and magazines made up some of their mess
  • Last, but by no means least, a revolting 8% divulged that there was a high likelihood that their car contained animal faeces.

While both sexes admitted to taking less care of their cars than perhaps they should, it seems that women are the worst culprits when it comes to car cleanliness, with 48 per cent fessing up to keeping a messy car, versus only 35 per cent of men.

‘The funniest thing about this survey,’ says OSV Co-Director Andrew Kirkley, ‘is just how honest people have been! Would you admit to having animal faeces in your car?!It’s also funny how many people are willing to blame their kids!

‘I think that there can be few people who have always kept their car immaculate, but it is quite important to try and keep them tidy. Loose drinks bottles on the car floor, for example, can cause quite devastating accidents if they roll beneath the brake pedal. Other litter can cause similar hazards. While we’re never going to judge anyone for not keeping their car clean, basic housekeeping does make sense. And if your kids are mucky pups, try keeping a container on the back seat, so that litter is controlled.

‘Oh, and if your pet has an accident – clean it up! No one wants to drive around with that in their car!’

Rachel Richardson
  • 11th July 2016

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