Keeping Your Car Clean For COVID-19

You May Clean Your House Regularly, But What About Your Car?

Chances are, like many of us, since the outbreak of COVID-19 you have stepped up your cleaning routine and have been diligently cleaning and disinfecting your household’s surfaces, switches, knobs and handles. But what about those high touch surfaces in your car?

Many of us still rely on our vehicles to get us to work (if work’s not now at home), to get to the – petri dish – grocery store, or to see a doctor in the event of a real emergency. In the process of any one of these car trips, there are countless opportunities to collect germs. On the queen of clean, Martha Stewart’s website, an article cites studies that “32% of Americans clean the inside of their cars just once per year—and 12% reported that they’ve never done so at all.”

So what have we learned? Cars are dirty and prime places for the virus to stick to touchy surfaces. Of course not all surfaces can be treated the same in your car as within your home. And while you might have hired a local service like A la Maid to properly clean and disinfect your home, you’re probably the one cleaning the inside of your vehicle. The following is a list of dos and don’ts for cleaning and disinfecting your car for COVID-19:

Car Cleaning Dos and Don’ts

DO: You can use a disinfectant spray or wipes on most automobile surfaces according to the American Cleaning Institute. Alcohol solutions that contain at least 70 percent alcohol are effective against coronavirus, according to the CDC and are also safe for most surfaces of a vehicle.

DON’T:  You don’t want to just wipe or spray and drive away. Be sure to allow the product or wipe to air dry according to its label in order to maximize its disinfecting power.

DO: Hit all of your car’s high touch surfaces, including the steering wheel, door handles, shift stick, any buttons or touch screens, wiper and turn signal handles, passenger and driver door, armrests, grab handles, and seat adjusters, according to Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center.  

DON’T: Bleach and hydrogen peroxide should not be used on the inside of your car. While they can both kill coronaviruses on surfaces, they can also wreak havoc on your vehicle’s surfaces and upholstery. Also avoid using any ammonia-based cleaners on car touch screens.

DO: Good old soap and water are safe for most car interiors, particularly for fabrics and leather.

DON’T: You don’t want to overlook the less obvious areas of your vehicle such as the top of the dashboard, a prime landing space for catching unexpected coughs or sneezes that could send microorganisms airborne inside the vehicle’s cabin, sticking to the windshield and dash only to be re-circulated through the air.

The bottom line and best overall advice around though, washing your hands thoroughly is one of the most effective ways to prevent transmission of the virus, in and out of your vehicle. Remembering to practice good hand hygiene after every drive can prevent germs and viruses from taking a ride into your home and to others.