12 Things You’ll Regret Leaving in Your Car this Summer

We don't have to remind you not to leave anything alive in a hot car, right? But these other items may surprise you.

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Medications save lives, and keeping track of them is necessary. Tip? Keep them out of the car during the summer, because extreme heat can alter the molecular structure of substances, resulting in a loss of effectiveness in your medication.

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pop can

Can of Soda

Canned soda doesn’t like high temperatures. If unopened, the carbonated contents will cause a sticky expl0sion all over your car’s interior. Sealed bottled drinks can explode, as well.

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Don’t let your sweet pair of sunnies get ruined by leaving them in a hot car for too long. Sunglasses made mostly of plastic can melt into an uncomfortable shape. And if at first they don’t look distorted, putting them on once you get in the car can give you a nasty burn, especially if the frames have metal components.

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Lipstick and Lip Balm

Both of these items, as well as other waxy items, don’t do well in a hot car. Leave them out on your upholstery and you can expect a stain on the car seat.

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Disposable Lighter

Small but mighty, that disposable lighter can fall through the cracks in your car very easily. That may be frustrating when you need the lighter, but it will be dangerous when temperatures rise. It is possible for lighters to explode when heated, causing damage to your car’s carpet, upholstery, and glass.

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Aerosol Can

That aerosol spray paint can rolling around in your backseat isn’t going to do well if you leave it there during the summer. In high temperatures, the contents of the can expands and this can cause an explosion. What a mess!

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Tom Wang/Shutterstock

Wet Swimwear

You might be zonked when you get home from a day at the beach or pool, but don’t forget your swimwear in the car! For the rest of the day, and into the next, your wet suit can be the perfect pl;ace for bacteria to grow. Also, does your car have light upholstery? Those bright boardshorts or bikini can bleed fabric dyes onto your seats.

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car drink

Dairy Products

Don’t cry over spilled milk, unless it’s in your car! Leaving behind a once refreshing milkshake, or forgetting to clean up the mess from that tipped over bottle of milk that spilled on your car carpet is definitely regrettable, especially in the summer. Sour milk’s foul odor can make your car smell indefinitely.

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water bottle
Chakrit Yenti/Shutterstock

Water Bottle

Many plastics melt in high temperatures, including plastic water bottles. Furthermore, such bottles are made with some pretty harmful chemicals, including petroleum byproducts (known as endocrine disruptors). When the water bottle in your car is heated up from the hot sun, the chemicals leach into the water, so don’t let it cool down and consume later! Throw it out.

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girl car
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Gum and Candy

Whether it’s your kid’s lollipop that dropped while they were sleeping, the gum you spit out and placed on a napkin or a misplaced piece of chocolate, it’s important not to leave behind gum and candy, or you can expect a sticky, gooey, melted mess all over your car. 

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Beyond the expense of the devices themselves, gadgets like laptops, cell phones, and thumb drives contain information that could be easy to steal. If you’re in a position where you have to store your laptop or phone unattended, make sure the information is encrypted, says Eva Velasquez, CEO and president of Identity Theft Resource Center. This makes thieves unable to view information without a code, separate from the password used to log in to the device. “It’s a strong layer of protection and would need someone putting a fair amount of effort into it to view,” Velasquez says. “It’s much stronger than password protection.”

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Ironically, the active ingredients in sunscreen break down in high heat. Leaving it in the car on a hot day could reduce its effectiveness. Plus, the heat could cause it to explode, leaving you with a hot mess.

Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: ale[email protected] and check out her website: livingbylex.com