Disinfecting a Car to Protect Against Germs, Coronavirus – Healthline

Disinfecting your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer has been crucial in preventing the spread of the new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

Since the virus has been shown to survive from hours to days on surfaces, a huge deal has also been made about disinfecting your home and business.

But many people enter and exit vehicles throughout the day and dont adequately disinfect commonly touched surfaces where germs can be hiding out. If youre a driver for a rideshare or taxi company, its even more important to keep your vehicle clean to stop the virus from spreading.

Disinfecting a vehicle can be more difficult than cleaning a home because of the many types of surfaces and all of the crevices and openings. Vehicle surfaces are also not made to withstand a constant onslaught of harsh cleaning products and can wear down if cleaned too often.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most effective products to kill the coronavirus are soap and water, and alcohol solutions that contain at least 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. These products are also safe for the interior of vehicles.

Products containing bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and ammonia are effective at killing coronaviruses, but can damage upholstery and leather, and may discolor fabrics. They may also cause skin and eye irritation, and burns. Cleaning with bleach could create indoor air pollutants, according to new research.

Natural products like vinegar, tea tree oil, and vodka havent been shown to be effective against the novel coronavirus, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Take care not to use aggressive cleaners on infotainment screens and other touch screens. You should use screen wipes or a soft cloth dampened with soap and water, and wipe dry. You can also place a wipeable cover on electronics to make cleaning and disinfecting easier and safer.

Isopropyl alcohol should contain at least 70 percent alcohol. Alcohol disrupts viral membranes and can kill coronaviruses on contact.

Soap and water alone are sufficient to disrupt this outer layer that the virus needs to cause infection. This requires friction, however, so youll need to really scrub the surface youre trying to disinfect.

When preparing to disinfect a vehicle interior, youll need to gather a few supplies in addition to the cleaning solution. These include:

While cleaning, keep the doors and windows open as some cleaning products can irritate the eyes or throat. Follow these steps to thoroughly sanitize your car:

Leather is a natural material and is vulnerable to dryness. If leather loses its natural oils, it may become less flexible and start to crack.

You should avoid bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and any other abrasive cleaner for leather seats.

When youre cleaning, use a microfiber cloth to keep from scratching the leather, and dont scrub too hard. Soap and water are best to clean and disinfect leather since alcohol can damage the leather over time by stripping its moisture. Try to avoid excess foam and water.

Its a good idea to apply a leather conditioner afterward to help preserve the leathers moisture, strength, durability, and appearance.

There are quite a few high-touch surfaces in the interior of a car. Here is a checklist to ensure that you dont miss anything while cleaning:

If someone in your household has COVID-19 or another infection, like the flu, then the need to disinfect and clean high-contact surfaces in your home and vehicles is especially important.

If this is the case, it may be a better idea to just have the car professionally cleaned and detailed.

Many professional detailing centers have updated their processes to disinfect the inside of your vehicle using a product registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to kill the coronavirus and other viruses and bacteria without damaging your car.

Just like washing your hands and cleaning the surfaces in your home or workplace, cleaning your car is an important way to stay safe and prevent the spread of viruses like the new coronavirus.

Soap and water and alcohol solutions like disinfectant wipes or sprays that contain at least 70-percent isopropyl alcohol are effective in killing the coronavirus, according to the CDC. Avoid bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and ammonia-based products in your car.

At a minimum, disinfect all high-touch surfaces like door handles, steering wheels, commonly used buttons and levers, seat belts, and armrests.

Soap is the safest way to clean fabrics and leather. Take extra care to avoid harsh cleaning products on any touch screens in the vehicle. If possible, use voice commands to help avoid touching these screens altogether.

Its also a great idea for you and your passengers to wash their hands before entering a vehicle. Having clean hands can keep your car clean for a longer amount of time.

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Disinfecting a Car to Protect Against Germs, Coronavirus - Healthline

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