While every car today comes with advanced safety and driver assist technologies, it won’t protect you from unseen virus-spreading germs. While adhering to any lock-down, curfew, or working from home recommendations, take some time to clean, sanitize, and disinfect your vehicle’s cabin.
While Cleaning physically removes germs with soap and water, it does not kill them. Sanitising lowers the number of germs and kills bacteria, and thus the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting uses chemicals to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi, further complementing the cleaning and sanitising.
Be sure to choose a disinfecting spray. Household cleaning products contain ingredients like bleach, acetone, chlorine, and ammonia, which will damage the interior materials and paint of your vehicle. To take disinfecting the cabin to the next level, purchase a disinfectant germ fogger.
When cleaning using detailing products, do not spray directly onto surfaces like the dashboard. Spray products into a microfibre towel and then apply to the surface. While you’re at it, take the dirt from fabric seats and headliner with a quick vacuum. If you have access to a wet vacuum with shampoo, it will garner better results. And don’t forget a quick wash of regularly-touched exterior surfaces, specifically door handles.
When it comes to leather, try the product of your choice – again, free of harmful ingredients like bleach, acetone, chlorine, and ammonia – at the unseen rear portion of the steering wheel and wait for its effects to materialise. If there is no stain, or any discoloration on the leather you can continue using the product. Much like using the detailing products, DO NOT spray onto the surface, but spray into a clean microfibre towel and gently apply the product.
For disinfecting your vehicle, hard surfaces like piano key shifter buttons, knobs and dials can be wiped down with a bleach-free disinfectant wipe or spritz your disinfecting spray onto a microfibre cloth. Given how often you probably interact with your infotainment screen, opt for an electronic-specific non-toxic device-cleaning wipe.
This list might seem extensive, but it’s by no means comprehensive. Anything you find yourself touching throughout your day should be wiped down, and a solid place to start is to think of the first thing you touch as you approach your car, to the last thing when you touch when before getting out.
Exterior Door Handle
Interior Door Handle
Lock and Unlock Buttons and Interior Door Release
Seatbelt and Seatbelt Buckle. Also include the release button!
Push-to-Start Button, or Ignition Area
Rearview Mirror, and Automatic Side Mirror Buttons
HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) Buttons
Radio Buttons and Knobs or SYNC Touchscreen
Parking Brake Lever
Steering Wheel and Wheel Mounted Buttons
Signal and Wiper Stalk
Centre Console and Cup Holders
Glove Compartment Handle
Tailgate/Hatch Release and Power Close Button
Power Folding Third Row Buttons
After you have finished cleaning and disinfecting your car, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly. If disinfecting your vehicle sounds all too intimidating to you, however, you can always visit a detailing shop near you.