The COVID-19 pandemic has made “social-distancing” a household word and has forced the majority of the world to stay at home. It’s also created a whole new focus on cleaning and sanitizing. While most people are thoroughly cleaning their homes and taking extra precautions when going out for essentials, it’s important not to forget about your vehicle.
To keep yourself and your family safe and prevent the spread of this virus, it’s important that you take some extra steps to keep your car as clean as possible. Start with these simple tips.
Choose Your Cleaning Products Carefully
Before you start cleaning your car, it’s important to make sure you’re using the right products and tools. Isopropyl alcohol is effective at removing stains and will also kill most viruses and bacteria. However, it can damage leather surfaces, so only use it on your hard surfaces and imitation leather seats, if you have them. If you have sanitizing wipes, these will work as well. Never use bleach in your car, though, as this will damage surfaces and cause discoloration.
Since it’s sometimes difficult to find certain cleaners, you may need to explore your options. This list from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides information about many different sanitizing cleaners and the surfaces they can safely clean.
It’s always a good idea to test any cleaner on an inconspicuous spot to make sure it doesn’t cause any damage before you apply it to a noticeable area in your vehicle.
You’ll also want to do all of your wipe-downs with a microfiber cloth. They’re great at trapping dirt and are gentle enough so you won’t have to worry about causing scratches.
Leather seats, steering wheels, and trim should be cleaned with soap and warm water. Gentle rubbing should be enough to kill germs. Be careful not to scrub too hard as doing so could damage the surface.
Start With High-Touch Surfaces
It’s very important that you pay close attention to all of the high-touch surfaces in your car. This includes:
- Ventilation grills
- Rearview mirror
- Window buttons
- Radio controls
- Seat adjusters
- Cup holders
- Seat belts
Spend some extra time on the steering wheel, as this is likely the dirtiest surface in your car. When you’re cleaning it, make sure you get into all of the stitching and crevices.
Also wipe down the dashboard and the inside of the doors, and clean the windows with a glass cleaner. When you’re done, wipe down your keys and key fob as well.
Clean Your Leather Seats
When washing your leather seats and trim, avoid getting them too wet or using too much soap. Just as washing your hands for 20 seconds is the recommended way to kill germs, the same applies to your leather surfaces. After you clean and dry them, you may wish to add some leather cleaner. This will help keep the surfaces hydrated and supple.
Wash the Outside of Your Vehicle
Since you touch your door handle to enter your car, this can be a safe haven for germs as well. Avoid using alcohol or sanitizer on the outside of your car, as this can damage the paint. Instead, wash the outside of your car with a mild soap made specifically for vehicles and warm water. Rinse it off thoroughly and consider drying with a chamois to avoid water spots.
Carry Gloves and Sanitizer
Once your car is clean and sanitized, you’ll want to take some precautions to make sure you don’t contaminate it again. First, avoid driving unless it’s absolutely necessary until stay-at-home recommendations are lifted.
If you need to go out, consider wearing gloves and carrying a bottle of sanitizer with you. If possible, always wash your hands before getting into your car.
From our family to yours, we wish you health and safety during this trying time. If you find that your vehicle needs repair, you’ll be glad to know that we are still open. Contact us for more information.