As the entire globe fights the spread of COVID-19, maintaining a high level of hygiene remains a reliable way to flatten the curve. You are probably on high-gear mode sanitizing your home, office, and practicing social distancing as the World Health Organization (WHO) and other experts recommend.
Major companies such as Google, Amazon, and Twitter now encourage their employees to work from home or remotely. But many people still need to physically get to work, shop for food, and run essential errands.
And that means using a mode of transportation, such as a car.
But how well are you protecting yourself, loved ones, colleagues, and customers inside your car?
- The average number of cars per household in the U.S. has steadily risen, and 92.7% of U.S. households owned at least one car in 2018
- The average American spends eight hours and 22 minutes each week driving a car, according to a 2019 Cooper Tire study of 2,000 Americans
- The average American driver is at least 15 years old, so they are likely coming into contact with other people—who may be infected with COVID-19
Now picture this. The U.S. states with the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 also happen to have the highest number of registered cars in the country.
Source: The Guardian on April 21, 2020
And in many of the states, residents can still venture outside to run essential services and errands.
So, sanitizing both the inside and outside of your car can play a huge role in preventing the spread of the coronavirus among your loved ones.
But how do you disinfect your vehicle effectively?
Here are four tips for cleaning your car to prevent COVID-19 infection.
1. Disinfect Beyond the Steering Wheel
The prominent places to start sanitizing your car include the steering wheel, seats, start button, shift knob, and the outside surfaces of door handles.
But there are more places you’ll not want to overlook such as:
- Cup and phone holders
- Climate control vents
- Radio buttons
- The inside surfaces of all doors’ handles
- Seat adjusters
- Sun visor
- Any touchscreen
- Window controls
- Behind seats—this is where potentially dangerous droplets from coughs and sneezes are likely to land
- Door latches
- Seat buckles and belts
This is the first line of defense against COVID-19. But you don’t have to be running a car rental business or a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lift to take extra precautions.
Next, you’ll want to go further and hurdle up your defense, especially if your car is a beehive of activity.
What to use for cleaning your car during the outbreak?
Soap and water could do, especially if you are under lockdown and can’t access more powerful coronavirus cleaners.
But if you can, and also want to be extra-vigilant to protect the ones you care most about, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using an alcohol-based cleaner with an alcohol concentration of 70%.
Do you already use an isopropyl alcohol-based cleaner in and around your home? You can use the same to disinfect both the inside and outside of your car as well.
2. Avoid Using Disinfectant Wipes on Touchscreens and Leather Upholstery
You can use the wipes to sanitize door handles, the steering wheel, shifter, as well as other knobs and controllers.
Instead, use a microfiber cloth to clean your touchscreens. Do not use an ammonia-based cleaner on them, according to Consumer Reports. You may damage and strip off the anti-fingerprint and anti-glare properties on the surface of the screen.
You can also use specialized leather wipes if you want.
But feel free to use a soft cloth with one of the EPA-recommended cleaning products such as Lysol and Clorox for killing viruses. Avoid rubbing down too hard on the leather surface, or you may remove the dye on the leather.
If you must use a non-leather-specialty cleaner, be sure to condition the leather, so it doesn’t crack afterward.
You can use the recommended products, an isopropyl alcohol-based cleaner, or soap and water for your seat covers, too.
But what if you want to clean fabric seats?
3. How to Disinfect Fabric Car Seats Against the Coronavirus
With fabric and cushion materials, you will not only want to consider thoroughly wiping out any germs. Also, consider leaving the fabric in tip-top condition.
That means not using too much water to start with. You do not want to create a high-moisture environment that can encourage mold growth or choke out a musty odor and create other respiratory problems.
Try not to use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect your fabric interior or cushions, either. You do not want to rub down and prematurely wear out as well as “burn” the material with the strong bleach.
Instead, use one of the best coronavirus fighting cleaners for soft surfaces as recommended by both the Center for Biocide Chemistries and the American Chemistry Council.
You can also use Lysol with moderation. Just give it ample time to dry up.
4. Get the Best Floor Liners You Can Afford
Remember, coughing or sneezing is likely to spit potentially infected droplets of saliva onto the back of the seats or floor mats and floor liners.
Soft vehicle carpets can hide viruses and make it tough to disinfect the car effectively.
Perhaps you are hauling Amazon or Walmart packages to different destinations in your trunk, too.
And even if you are just packing up your groceries in the trunk, you’ll not want to take any chances.
Buying floor liners fit for your car can help you keep the virus out of your vehicle–not to mention help you to easily and quickly disinfect your car without damaging your car floors and upholstery.
So choose to buy high-quality floor mats and liners that can safeguard you and yours from viruses that hide in sneaky little places on your car’s floor.
An excellent example of top-quality, durable, and easy to disinfect floor upholstery are MudSmart 3D and 5D floor mats and liners.
You can use cleaning products such as the bleach you already use at home to clean MudSmart 3D and 5D car floor mats and liners as well.
If you are out of cleaning supplies and need to stay inside, you can still use a half cup of white vinegar in one a gallon of water to disinfect your MudSmart car floor mats.
What if you use hydrogen peroxide on your MudSmart car floor liners or other floor mats?
Ensure the hydrogen peroxide concentration is at least 3%. The CDC shows that concentration inactivates rhinovirus in eight minutes.
For that, ensure you wear protective clothing such as rubber gloves, and your car windows and doors are open to promote free air circulation inside the car.
Make sure to soak the hydrogen peroxide solution in for 10 to 15 minutes before rubbing down the mat and rinsing it with water until clean and odorless.
Over to You
With these tips, you can confidently sanitize your car and protect the ones you love from catching COVID-19. You can safely get the groceries, run errands, or go to work without worrying about the coronavirus multiplying in your car, too.