By Shell on Mar. 15, 2022
Even if you love every creature on this green-blue planet, you'd have to admit that cockroaches, ants, spiders and other creepy crawlies aren't the best thing to have living in your car.
Let them bunker down long enough and you can end up with infestation and potential damage to your car. Encounter a scarier pest at an inopportune moment behind the wheel – say, a spider dropping from the sun visor in traffic – and there’s a serious risk of an accident.
So you really want to keep these pests where they belong – in their own natural environment, outside your car. Here's how to do it.
1. Don't let your car sit
A car that sits for days at a time is an open invitation for pests to stop in, check things out and hang a while. Simply using your car at least every few days will stop a good portion of the pest problem at the first hurdle.
2. Watch where you park
Trees, shrubbery and dirt harbour all kinds of pests and their nesting sites. To avoid them making the jump from their home to your car, avoid parking in spots that make it easy for them – away from trees and greenery and on a concrete surface if you can. If you're parking in a garage or carport, that space should be clean and pest-free. If it's infested with spiders, they're inevitably going to end up using your car as a thoroughfare.
3. Close off the entry points
It sounds obvious but don't leave your car parked with the windows down or even open a crack. While potentially desirable in the Australian summer, it's literally laying out the red carpet for creepy crawlies to come in and party. Check your door and window seals regularly. If they're in poor condition, they could well be another pathway for bugs into your car. If you really want to jam the door shut, you can switch the climate control to recirculation mode before turning off your car and close off your air vents' connection to the outside world.
4. Check what you carry in your car
Sometimes we're the ones who bring the pests into our cars. It could be coming home with a batch of new plants from the nursery, letting a dog jump into the car after some outdoors exploring, or just packing your car after a picnic or camping trip. There are all sorts of ways to unintentionally bring some insects along for the ride, so always check items before you load them into your car.
5. Keep your cabin spotless
Mess might be inevitable (especially if you have small childen), but aim to clean your car’s cabin regularly. Food, crumbs and sugary spills are heaven to your average ant or cockroach, not to mention rodents, which can seriously damage a car in days if they get inside. You don't want general rubbish, dirt and other clutter accumulating either, because these environments are prime egg-laying spots for insects – as are fabrics, carpets and upholsteries in out-of-the-way places that can accumulate dirt and fluff. If the eggs transform into larvae, some cabin trims can even become a food source and get damaged in the process. A regular, full, floormats-out vacuum and clean/wipedown, with close attention paid to door jambs, door/window seals and other 'border' zones, is the best remedy and prevention.
6. Try natural deterrents
There are a whole host of natural scents and oils that insects find objectionable and will try to stay away from. If you want to add an extra level of insect deterrence, mix up a cleaning solution of lemon and vinegar, vanilla or eucalyptus and use it to wipe down your cabin's hard surfaces.
If you do encounter a creepy crawly while driving, the most important thing is not to panic. Remember that you’re far more likely to be injured from distracted driving than by the pest itself. Pull over when it’s safe to do so, and flick or coax the pest out of a door or window.