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Barbara 'Babs' Costello: My Grandkids Are Mini-Tornadoes—Here Are My Top Cleaning Hacks, Including Car Cleaning Slime

By Wendee Wendt,


Plus, more car cleaning hacks that can be done in five minutes or less!

Grandmother. Mother. Former preschool teacher. Those three titles alone mean you are capable of handling just about anything. No problem is too big, no argument can’t be resolved, and surely no mess alive that can’t be MacGyver ’d out of. So, it only makes sense that the fabulous Babs Costello (AKA Brunch with Babs, AKA “Everyone’s Favorite Grandma”) was asked to partner with Kelley Blue Book , helping car owners maintain a clean car.

Because we all know (especially parents) what an absolute hot mess of a trainwreck our cars can get, these two entities are working together to make sure when it comes time to sell your vehicle—you can get the most out of it, especially with the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer online tool and utilizing cleaning hacks ( how to make car cleaning slime , for example) that will help keep your car in tip-top shape, even with mini-tornadoes running around!

Recently Parade sat down with Babs to talk about easy cleaning tips, plus her advice if you're considering selling your car.

Related: Put Those New Vehicle Plans Into Overdrive and Think Ahead—Here's the Best Time To Buy a Car

Wendee Wendt

How to make car cleaning slime

Now, you may be wondering how an Instagram sensation with 2.1M followers, and a leader in calculating cars’ values could be a match made in vehicle heaven, but after Parade ’s recent interview with Babs it was apparently clear—she knows A LOT about A LOT—including how to clean and maintain your car using some very basic steps, as well as some very interesting ones!

Babs spoke with Parade about her years of making slime as a preschool teacher, and how that had morphed into an idea that would get out dust or crumbs from those hard-to-reach places in your car. “It’s not exactly like slime, but it’s like car gummy cleaner,” she explains. This magic “slime” only takes three ingredients: Elmer’s glue, baking soda and contact lens cleaner.

“What you do is you put a cup of Elmer's glue in, let's say your cup holder. You know, pour it right in, and [then] it's two teaspoons of baking soda and one or two tablespoons of contact lens solution. And you stir it [with] a popsicle stick or something and let it sit for five or 10 minutes. It'll kind of coagulate, [and] you gather [it] like a putty.”

This slime-like glob has a rubbery texture. Once it's out of the cup holder, you just press it into a place with crumbs, dirt or dust, pull it off and marvel at all of the gunk that it grabs. (Kind of like those blackhead pore strips, but not as painful!) According to Ms. Costello, “It really does a great job!”

What you need for making Babs' car cleaning slime

Wendee Wendt


  • Elmer's glue (the glue I used was clear, so using white glue will change the appearance from the pictures below.)
  • Baking soda
  • Contact lens cleaner
  • ½ cup measuring cup
  • Teaspoon measuring spoon
  • Tablespoon measuring spoon
  • Stirring stick
I found this hard to measure in the car—couldn't be the ginormous jug of glue, could it?

Wendee Wendt

Step #1

Pour ½ cup of Elmer’s glue into your cup holder.

Wendee Wendt

Step #2

Add 2 teaspoons of baking soda to the glue.

Wendee Wendt

Step #3

Add 1 - 2 tablespoons of contact lens cleaner to the glue mixture.
You will notice the mixture thickening up quickly.

Wendee Wendt

Step #4

Stir to completely incorporate ingredients. It starts to thicken up almost immediately.
Solid, but not solid. Sticky, but not sticky...This stuff really is magic!

Wendee Wendt

Step #5

Wait 5-10 minutes to let the mixture set up to a rubbery texture.

Once it is solid enough to lift out of the cupholder, it is ready to be used.

Related: Jeep Owners Are 'Ducking' Other Jeeps—Here's What It Means and Why It's a Trend We Can Get Behind

Tips and Observations

  • I had to wait the full 10 minutes, and it was a bit sticky and stretchy (and a little tricky) to get out.
  • To fix this I used a trick from my actual slime-making days and added a little contact solution to my hands. Then I had to work it a bit like dough, but it came together (fairly) quickly.
  • Then you can use it to pick up the remaining bits you may have in the cup holder and on yourself, by padding the glob onto the little bits.
  • My cup holder is not an individual unit. It took more than I thought to get the slime ball to come together. Next time, I would mix in a cup or block off one side of the cup holder, if I can. I think having the ingredients separate a bit is where it took longer for it to process.
It molds to any area and is easy to work with.

Wendee Wendt

Step 6

Press “slime” gently into vents, cupholders, door handles, and any other hard-to-reach/hard-to-clean places in your car, and then just peel back off of the area.

Wendee Wendt

Plenty of dirt was removed in my car—including what's pictured here from my shifter column!

Related: Easily Record Fender Benders and Attempted Car Break-ins With Ring’s New Dash Cam!

Other car cleaning hacks

Here are a few more cleaning tips everyone, especially those with kids, should keep up on—cleaning a little every time, is way better than waiting until the garbage and the smells start piling up.

  • Use a handheld vac at the end of every day or trip. As Babs says, it's so you can "keep ahead of the disaster.”
  • Always have a garbage bag on hand. “Otherwise, the garbage just gets like, you know, it's on the floor, it's everywhere!" Babs exclaims.
  • For lingering smells, take a cup of vinegar and leave it in the vehicle overnight. It will "absorb those nasty odors."
  • Keep your emergency items like a blanket, fire extinguisher and umbrella in a box. According to Babs, this will keep all of the extra items not regularly used in a neat and tidy “just-in-case box.”

The secret to a clean car? Words of wisdom from a mother of four, and grandmother of eight: “Tidy up a little bit, every day."

View the original article to see embedded media.

The number one thing to do before selling your car

Keeping your car clean is not just great for your sanity, but important when you're considering selling your car. But that's not all. Thinking about selling? Hold onto all of your paperwork.

Babs advises, "Keep all the service proof of how you maintain the car and keep it clean. Even if it's an oil change, or you do breaks, whatever, keep all that paperwork in the glove compartment, and so when you go to sell your car, you have proof that you've been a responsible car owner, that you have maintained the car."

Simple advice to follow, for big payoffs later—especially when you consult Kelley Blue Book to see the value of your car!

So, if you are looking for a new favorite influencer, one to help you learn all the best hacks—follow Babs over on TikTok and Instagram for more of her amazing tips.

Next, If Your Vehicle Doesn't Have a Name, It Needs One! Here Are 250 of the Best Car Name Ideas of All-Time

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