The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyday life. There are many things that are now a major part of our lives that weren’t something we really thought about in the past.
We all now are experts in disinfecting high-touch surfaces because it is one recommended way to curb the spread of COVID-19 and to avoid getting the virus yourself. However, you may be missing some important surfaces.
Your car is a high-touch area. It needs cleaning just like other surfaces. Even if you wash your hands a lot or use hand sanitizer, your car still has many surfaces that can collect the COVID-19 virus.
It is especially important to clean after you’ve had someone outside of your household in your vehicle or if you drive other people around a lot. The goal is to kill the virus without damaging your auto’s surfaces, and there are a few ways to do that.
Basic Cleaning Options
When cleaning, you need to use a product that research has shown to be effective in killing the virus. The top cleaning agent is anything with at least a 70% alcohol content. You should be able to clean many areas of your interior with an alcohol-based cleaner. Many manufacturers use alcohol to clean interior parts in the factory.
The Intelligent Driver explains that antibacterial wipes are also a good basic choice for cleaning. Not only do they contain an effective cleaning substance but also you can scrub with them, and the friction helps to breakdown the coronavirus cells.
You can also use antibacterial or alcohol-based disinfectant sprays. You can use these quickly, allowing them to dry on the surface. They can kill the virus on contact. Just be sure to check the label and ensure they have a 70% alcohol content or higher or that the label says they can kill the COVID-19 virus.
When financing your car, you probably wanted to get enough money to afford high-end finishes. Now that you’re dealing with fighting COVID-19, you may worry those finishes, such as leather seats, are at risk from the harsh cleaning materials.
You shouldn’t worry, though. There is good news. You can use plenty of effective yet safe products that will kill the virus without running the finishes you spent a lot of money to get.
Alcohol-based cleaners may not work for every situation. They can deteriorate the protective coating on leather materials, so using them extensively will harm your seats.
A great alternative is a simple soap and water cleaning mix. Like with antibacterial wipes, you will scrub with soap and water, which effectively kills the virus. Plus, soap and water should be safe for many interior parts.
You should note that to protect your interior you should never use bleach, ammonia, or hydrogen peroxide. While these substances do kill the virus well, they will damage auto surfaces.
What and How To Clean
After applying for a car loan and securing your new vehicle, you may want to take some time to give your car a good once over with cleaning supplies just to ensure there are no possibilities of any lingering germs. It will allow you to settle into your new car without any worries.
Consumer Report explains that you want to clean every high-touch surface inside your vehicle:
- Touch screens
- Door handles
- Wiper and turning signal controls
- Seat adjusters
- Steering wheel
Don’t forget to wipe the door handles on the outside of your vehicle as well. Also, wipe the truck handle since you probably touch that often.
You want to focus on the areas that you or passengers touch a lot. If you have children that ride in your vehicle, you can probably assume that includes pretty much every surface. Do not forget to clean your seats, too. If you have leather seats, make sure to clean them when wiping everything else down. For fabric seats, you may not be able to deep clean as often since they will take time to dry, but do sweep them and give them a spray with an antibacterial agent, such as Lysol.
USA Today also suggests that you let the cleaning substances sit for a few minutes before you wipe them off. This enables the cleaning agent to penetrate the virus cells. The cells have a protective covering that allows it to stay alive and replicate. If you can break that covering, you can kill the virus, but it takes some time for a cleaner to do that.
How often you will need to clean depends on many factors:
- How often you drive
- How many passengers you have
- Who else uses your vehicle
You want to clean regularly. If you have someone in your vehicle who was sick, clean immediately after the situation. You may also want to clean daily if you are a rideshare driver who has strangers in your vehicle multiple times a day.
To make it easier to stay on top of cleaning your vehicle, it might help to designate a day of the week to do it. For example, you may clean every Friday when you get home for work. Choose a time that works best for your schedule based upon your usage of the vehicle.
You might also want to make a cleaning kit specifically for your vehicle. Doing this will help to ensure you always have the supplies you need on hand in a place where they are easily accessible.
Protect Yourself and Others
Cleaning your vehicle not only will help protect you but also anyone who rides in your vehicle. With the spread of the virus ebbing and flowing, you cannot be too careful.