As you've hopefully seen on just about every major news outlet, effectively killing germs as we go about our daily routine is paramount in stopping the coronavirus pandemic from spreading. To do this, we need to be thinking about frequently contacted areas that could be exposed to the virus, since germs can live on solid surfaces for up to four days. A big carrier of these sorts of surfaces that should come to mind? Your car.
"When you think about your car, you're leaving a potentially infected area," Manny Pozo, owner of Bioresponse Restoration, told WSVN, "so if you're leaving from work, you're leaving from a gym, if you're leaving from some sort of government facility where there's a lot of people, the first place you go to is your car."
With that in mind, all drivers should be working diligently to keep their car's major contact points as clean as possible. Here are a couple dos and don'ts for getting that done.
Disinfecting All Major Surfaces
When it comes to important surfaces to clean and disinfect, you'll want to pay special attention to the steering wheel, since it's the dirtiest thing inside the vehicle. In fact, it has four times the amount of germs found on an average toilet seat.
You'll also want to clean other frequently touched surfaces in your car: exterior and interior door handles, shifters, seat belts, wiper and turn signal stalks, passenger and driver door armrests, seat adjusters, and any other buttons or touchscreens.
Of course, all this sanitizing and disinfecting will be no good if you're not washing your hands, so keep that in mind.
"The number one thing is to clean your hands," Larry Kosilla, president of car detailing company AMMO NYC, told Consumer Reports. "You can clean your steering wheel, but if you have dirty hands, you put that dirt back on."
Cleaning Products to Use
Soap and water, so long as you're not scrubbing too hard, are safe to use on most car interiors. Though, if possible, you should try using alcohol-based products. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) are most effective against coronavirus. Hand sanitizer or Lysol wipes should do the trick.
To minimize the amount of damage to hard surfaces, it's best to wipe down surfaces with a microfiber towel.
Cleaning Products to Avoid
Bleach or hydrogen peroxide should be avoided at all costs. While effective disinfectants, they could seriously damage your car's upholstery.
Also, avoid ammonia-based cleaners on your car's touchscreens, since these can damage anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings.
This article was originally published March 24, 2020.