Modern Mum Katrina Van Wyk.
Modern Mum Katrina Van Wyk. Contributed

Modern Mum: Mystery smell drives me crazy

"YUCK! What's that smell?"

The first words muttered by my children as we jumped in the car the other day.

I smelled it too, so decided a proper clean up was in order later that day.

My children are old enough to get themselves in and out of the car now, so I'm rarely confronted with what I am about to describe.

Let's just say the new car smell disappeared after one week and the back seat has become a quagmire of pathogenic filth.

A smorgasbord of food remains trapped between the seats and rubbish lies on the floor.

Hidden under the rubbish is a pile of my children's missing socks, shoes and other clothing items.

Meanwhile, the "car organiser" I had purchased with all the best of intentions hangs lifeless and empty from the back of the passenger seat.

I must admit I've tackled worse things when it comes to cleaning out the car.

I remember having to wash car seat covers when my children were toddlers.

The food that was trapped between the cover and the plastic underneath had formed some kind of hard, crusty grime, housing a family of micro-organisms who cheered every time another crumb dropped through the belt buckles!

Then there was the time my daughter left crayons in my old car in the middle of summer.

Definitely not an easy thing to clean up and needless to say the new owner is probably still enjoying her accidental masterpiece.

We pulled everything out of the car and gave the inside a good clean, then headed to the car wash.

I figured it would be much easier than doing it by hand. Last time we washed the car my well-intentioned little "helpers" weren't much help at all.

There were arguments over who got the biggest sponge and then a competition over whose wheels were the cleanest.

The end result was a slightly cleaner car covered in streaks and a watery mud puddle in the front yard. Temptation got the better of them and before I had a chance to put it away, there was muddy water splashed all up the side.

Yes, the car wash definitely seemed a better option.

I figured it would also be a bit of fun too.

I hadn't been to one since I was a child and I'd never taken my children through one before either.

Turns out the car wash isn't as fun as I remember it.

Initially thinking the mystery smell had returned, we soon realised that the smell was not coming from inside the vehicle.

So we sat inside the smelly torture chamber that is the "recycled water" car wash!

Trapped inside the car for six of the longest minutes I have ever experienced, with two children gagging in the back seat!

I'll admit, the smelly car wash actually did a pretty good job.

The car shone beautifully once it was finished.

I never did discover the mystery smell that confronted us that morning.

Chances are good that it won't be long until a new, similarly offensive aroma parks itself in the back of my car once again.


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