Why You Actually Should Cry Over Spilled Milk

It happened on my drive home from the grocery store. When I opened my trunk to grab the bags, I found that a tiny hole in my milk carton had leaked about 1/10th of the milk into the carpet of my trunk. I had always heard the adage that taught that spilled milk should be cleaned up quickly, but, having never had the experience of spilling milk and suffering the consequences, I ignored the age-old wisdom. I figured it wasn’t much milk, it was only in my trunk, I was parked outside where it could air out, time would take care of it, etc..

Well I was wrong.

So wrong.

The next day the whole car smelled absolutely putrid. And the day after that it only got worse. And on the third day, it was indescribable. I was quite impressed by the power of a few tablespoons of spilled milk. Eventually I went online and googled, “how to get sour milk smell out of car” and went to work with baking soda, vinegar, cleaning chemicals, vacuuming, and various drying techniques. It took several days of work, but thankfully the smell has now been conquered.

But what a lesson. I’d always heard that spilled milk = death, but until it actually happened to me I didn’t internalize it or believe it. Maybe:

It takes a few flat tires to get you to learn how to fix a flat tire.

It takes a good old-fashioned food poisoning to learn to be wary of what to eat.

It takes a horrible relationship to learn how to appreciate and take care of a good one.

It takes a few drops of milk in a hot car to clean it up immediately the next time.


We all inadvertently choose to “learn the hard way” most every time. We are hard-wired to believe that we are right.

On the flip side, now that the car doesn’t make me want to shove an air-freshener up my nose, I’m grateful that it happened. A car full of spoiled-milk-smell is quite an experience. So is getting a flat tire, or getting food poisoning, or getting dumped. It broadens you. And I’ll tell you what, if I meet someone else who has spilled milk in their trunk, then we will immediately have an unbreakable connection and understanding. I’d say that much is worth it.

But don’t say I didn’t warn you. Clean up the spilled milk ASAP.






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