As Coronavirus is spreading rapidly around the world, we must carry out necessary protective measures and minimise our exposure to this virus. Washing your hands is one of the essential things you can do, but the virus can still linger on the surfaces you touch every day, like your belongings, household appliances, etc. So it is recommended that you should sanitise your home, workspaces and especially your car regularly. We all spend hours in our car, but few of us pay attention to the fact that there are so many touchpoints in a car accumulated with germs and viruses. How can you properly disinfect your car against viruses without damaging the interior?
The first step is to choose the materials and cleaning agents that are suitable for the interior of your car. Make sure to follow the guidance on manufacturer labels. Isopropyl alcohol (70% or higher) can use in most car interior surfaces, including steering wheel, seat adjusters, doors, handles, armrests, dash, console, gear shift, cup holders. The wiping with a microfiber cloth that sweeps away dirt thoroughly as well as prevents scratches.
However, you should not use Isopropyl alcohol for leather because it can remove the dye from the leather and damage the coating. A mix of soap and water is safe and effective for leather steering wheels, trim, or seating. The cleanser doesn’t need to be antibacterial — regular hand soap or dishwashing soap is effective against the Coronavirus.
Remember not to scrub hard when cleaning the leather interior to avoid discolouration. If your car’s upholstery is made of fabric, make sure to use a small amount of water and laundry detergent to lightly agitate the fabric instead of cleaning it with too much water or too much soap.
Two other things you must not use on the inside of your car are bleach and hydrogen peroxide since they can damage vinyl and plastic as well as discolour your vehicle. Chlorine bleach is also harmful to the car’s interior and could weaken the fabric if getting on the seat belts. Additionally, ammonia-based cleaners, if used on car touch screens, will likely spoil their anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings.
If you find it hard to buy cleaning materials, look online for instructions on how to make home-made alternatives. Be cautious of which chemicals to use; otherwise, your car will be damaged or discoloured. Popular options would include window cleaner for windows, windshields, or baking soda and warm water.
While cleaning your car, you should consider where droplets would fall when you or your passengers sneeze and cough. Also, you must prioritise the frequently touched areas, including door handles, seat belts, handbrake, dashboard controls, seats, gear stick, and so on. Put more effort into cleaning the exterior door handles and the area around the window or centre console. You touch them more often than you think and they could carry Coronavirus.
The most important part is the steering wheel, which carries about four times the amount of germs found on a toilet seat due to the cracks and crevices on the rim and spokes, according to research. Use disinfecting wipes to sanitise the wheel and all the relevant parts, such as voice control, cruise control, navigation.
You should not forget to vacuum the carpet of your car each week or even twice a week to minimise the infections. In case you do not have a car vacuum, take a microfiber cloth, then spray some disinfectant spray on the fabric and wipe over your carpet.
Take advantage of disposable gloves while cleaning to protect your hands against the chemicals and also the spread of viruses. Once you have finished the cleaning process, dispose of the gloves, and wash your hands immediately. Under no circumstances should you reuse the gloves as they can spread the virus to other surfaces.
Once you have finished cleaning wash your hands under running water with soap carefully for 20 seconds so that the dirt can not be put back on the frequently touched surfaces in your car. Washing your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer also reduces the risk of catching the virus, so you should keep this habit.
These tips will help keep your car germ-free to minimise the risk of infection. Even after disinfection, limit the time using your vehicle for the next few weeks in a bid to curb the pandemic.