How to Prevent Spills in Your Trunk

The purpose of a car trunk or hatch is simple. Its purpose is to carry or store items securely, including groceries, large items, and spare fluids. There is virtually no limit to what you can carry in your car’s trunk as long as the lid closes. Even if your trunk lid doesn’t completely close, you can tie it down with a strap, carrying items even bigger than your trunk.

If liquid items leak in your trunk, they can leave stains that are difficult or impossible to remove. Organic fluids like milk can spoil, causing a foul odor that is extremely hard to get rid of. Your best course of action, then, is to prevent spills from occurring and prepare for spills before they happen.

Method 1 of 2: Prevent spills from happening in your trunk

You can prevent spills from occurring in your trunk in the first place, which will save you time and money cleaning your trunk of the odors and residue left over from the spill.

Step 1: Use a trunk organizer. Find a flat-bottomed organizer that is waterproof to keep your car items in.

This is good for a spare container of oil, your washer fluid, spare brake or power steering fluid, and transmission fluid. You can also keep your cleaning sprays in the trunk organizer. If spills happen while fluids are in the organizer, they won’t leak out onto your trunk carpeting.

  • Note: Some fluids such as brake fluid are corrosive and can eat away at materials they come in contact with. Clean spills in your trunk organizer thoroughly as soon as you notice them.

hackback full of white plastic bags of groceries

Step 2: Use plastic grocery bags for your liquid groceries. Either the disposable plastic grocery bags or reusable plastic grocery bags will do.

If the groceries or cleaners you buy at the store begin to leak, they will be contained and will not cause a stain or spill in your trunk.

cargo net holding groceries upright

Step 3: Keep your trunk items upright. Whether you are carrying groceries or other fluids, keep them upright in your trunk.

Use a cargo net to keep items upright and to prevent them from toppling over or sliding around in your trunk and use a bungee cord to keep liquids or messy items in place at the side of your trunk.

Step 4: Don’t underestimate dry messes. Place messy dry items in bags as well and prevent them from sliding around in your trunk.

Method 2 of 2: Prevent stains from setting in your trunk

Materials Needed

  • Baking soda
  • Brush
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Clean cloth
  • Stain protector
  • Wet/dry vacuum

It seems that sometimes, no matter what you do to prevent it, spills can happen in your trunk. When they occur, be prepared to deal with it quickly and easily.

person spraying the hatch area of car

Step 1: Treat your trunk carpet with a stain protector. You can get spray pump or aerosol cans of stain protector to easily treat your trunk’s carpet before stains occur.

Apply the stain protector when the trunk carpet is clean and dry, preferably when the car is new. Reapply stain protector to your trunk at least annually for continued protection against stains.

If you need to clean a stain from your trunk carpet, reapply the spray after the stain has been removed and the carpet has dried for optimal protection. Stain protector sprays inhibit liquids from absorbing into the carpeting in your trunk so they can be cleaned up easily without intensive work. In many cases, fluids will bead on the surface of the carpet, making cleanup a breeze.

Step 2: Clean up spills as soon as they happen. Use a wet/dry vacuum to suck up any spills that happen in your trunk as soon as you notice them.

The longer a liquid sits on the carpeting, the more likely it is to cause a stain or a deep-set odor that can be difficult or impossible to remove. If you don’t have a wet/dry vacuum, use absorbent paper towels or microfiber cloths to absorb the spill.

Dab at the spill to absorb the liquid, and don’t rub it or it can get embedded deeper in the fibers of the carpet.

Step 3: Treat spills with common household items. Sprinkle baking soda on spills in your trunk to absorb fats and oils to prevent odors from forming.

Rub it in with a brush, let it sit for 4 hours or more, ideally overnight, then vacuum it out.

Step 4: Use a carpet cleaner spray to remove stains or embedded dirt. A carpet cleaner spray like Mothers Carpet and Upholstery Spray can be applied liberally to the area.

Agitate the area with a brush, then blot it with a clean cloth to remove embedded dirt and stains. You can re-treat the area several time to remove tough stains. After the area has dried, vacuum it once again to remove any dirt that has become loosened by the spray.

If stains become set in your trunk carpet before you have a chance to clean them up, you may need to use a carpet cleaner to remove the spill or stain from the trunk. In the worst situation, you can replace the carpet liner in your trunk for a reasonable cost.

Protecting your trunk from stains and odors is a great way to keep your car in top shape and smelling nice. This can be a source of pride to yourself and will pay off in the long-run, as a fully functional trunk serves many purposes. If your trunk will not open properly, however, have one of YourMechanic’s certified technicians perform an inspection.


Next Step

Schedule Trunk does not lock or open Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Trunk does not lock or open Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Trunk does not lock or open Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(113)

Rating Summary
104
5
1
1
2
104
5
1
1
2

Jermaine

24 years of experience
244 reviews
Jermaine
24 years of experience
Toyota Corolla L4-1.8L - Trunk does not lock or open - Washington, District of Columbia
Polite, quick, was delicate with my old car when other mechanics tried “smashing” the problem, and fixed the issue in 10 minutes—thank you, Jermaine!
BMW 530i - Trunk does not lock or open - Washington, District of Columbia
Best mechanic by far. Went above and beyond to find the problem and fix my car. Highly recommend him to anyone who has car problems. A ++++++

Juan

9 years of experience
301 reviews
Juan
9 years of experience
Toyota Sequoia V8-4.7L - Trunk does not lock or open - Orlando, Florida
Juan showed up on time and went straight to work identifying the problem and came up with a plan for fixing the issue.

Carlos

28 years of experience
501 reviews
Carlos
28 years of experience
BMW 740i L6-3.0L Turbo - Trunk does not lock or open - Corona, California
Issue to get smog test pass because some leaking. He did fix it and got pass the smog test certicate. It is on BMW z3 2001 car. Seems little expensive but much cheaper than taking to dealer. Highly recommended

Kenneth

20 years of experience
775 reviews
Kenneth
20 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala L4-2.5L - Trunk does not lock or open - Downey, California
My appt today with Kenneth was great such a professional answered all my questions will use u guys again

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How to Use a Gas Station Car Wash
It It is inevitable that your vehicle will need to be washed, and it’s convenient to do so when you go to a gas station to fuel up. Many gas stations have a car wash on site, whether it is...
How to Remove the Odor of Sour Milk from Your Car
If you accidentally spill milk in your car, first, you have to deal with cleaning it up and then, a few...
How to Port and Polish Your Car Cylinder Heads
Engine performance increases when you port and polish the cylinder heads in your car. Save money by doing the job yourself instead of a shop.

Related questions

How do you maintain and clean the seat belts?
While your seat belts don’t require much in the way of maintenance, they do need to be kept clean and free of debris. It really just boils down to washing them periodically. Here’s how to do that correctly: Use mild...
How do I use the front windshield washer?
The windshield washer helps keep your windshield clean. The washer sprays soapy water onto your windshield, and then wipes it away, to rid the windshield of any dirt or debris that had accumulated. Using the front windshield washer is easy:...
How do I clean the infotainment system?
The infotainment display can be damaged with certain cleaning products, so you should always be very careful. You should never use an abrasive cleaner, or spray a cleaning product directly on the display. Instead, spray a mild cleaner onto a...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com