Men Washing His Car

How to Clean Your Car for Coronavirus
Tips on How to Clean Your Car

At Lochmandy Auto Group, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. Many people in Elkhart, IN, and beyond are already taking precautions in order to reduce the risk of exposure to germs outside their homes, such as frequently using hand sanitizer, wearing gloves and sanitizing items they purchase while running essential errands. However, it can be easily forgotten that once these items are purchased and loaded into your vehicle, they are then touching the interior of your car. According to the World Health Organization, studies suggest that coronaviruses may live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. That means that you should be sanitizing the interior of your car to kill any germs it may have collected on your last visit to the grocery store or pharmacy.


Car cleaner wiping car door with rag

How Long Does Coronavirus Survive on Surfaces?

Your vehicle contains a variety of different surfaces, from plush leather seats to plastic dashboards and digital touchscreens. This presents one of the biggest challenges in disinfecting your car, and you may find that you'll need several different tools for sanitizing the interior. According to National Institutes of Health, the virus that causes COVID-19 is stable for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic or stainless steel. Another study suggests that similar viruses can live on "inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to nine days."

Cleaning the interior of the car with a microfiber cloth

What's the Best Way to Sanitize My Car's Interior?

First and foremost, wash your hands before you begin to sanitize your vehicle. Additionally, wear disposable gloves if you have them. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work well for sanitizing your vehicle. Just be sure to read the product's label to make sure it's safe for the surface you're planning to use it on. Disinfectant wipes and a small bottle of hand sanitizer are also great items to have in your car; this way, you can wipe it down frequently.

Worker washing of interior leather seats

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your car's interior surfaces, don't use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect. These can damage the vinyl and plastics in your cabin. You should also avoid any ammonia-based cleaning products used to clean glass, as they can break down the vinyl on the dashboard. Heat and light may then cause your dashboard to become sticky.

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your GMC truck or Buick SUV to keep clean are the dashboard and the steering wheel. Bacteria tends to collect in these spots, as air is cycled throughout the vehicle. To clean your dash, simply use soap and water. Dish soap also works; just be sure to dampen the surface and scrub for 20-30 seconds. You should also be using disinfectant product on your steering wheel, dash and any other frequently touched areas. High-touch places within your vehicle should be top priority while disinfecting. These surfaces can include:

  • Door Handles
  • Door Buttons
  • Key Fob
  • Steering Wheel
  • Inside Door Buttons
  • Seat Belts
  • Gear Shifters
  • Touchscreens
  • Buttons on the Dash
  • Buttons for Lights
  • Buttons for Windshield Wipers
  • Glove Compartment

Do I Need to Disinfect My Car's Exterior?

Due to the sun and other weather elements, germs are less likely to live on the exterior of your vehicle. It's still wise to disinfect high-touch areas like your gas cap and door handles, though!

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your car's interior surfaces, don't use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect. These can damage the vinyl and plastics in your cabin. You should also avoid any ammonia-based cleaning products used to clean glass, as they can break down the vinyl on the dashboard. Heat and light may then cause your dashboard to become sticky.

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

In order not to tarnish your leather interior, be sure to spot test any type of leather cleaner on a hidden area to ensure it works and does not leave any blemishes or discolorations. Use a microfiber cloth while cleaning to avoid scratching the leather, and if you can, apply a leather conditioner after cleaning. If you don't have any leather cleaner on hand, mixing two parts vinegar with one part water can create a solution for you to use.

Here at Lochmandy Auto Group, we want to do our part to help educate our customers and keep them safe and healthy during this difficult time. If you have any questions about car care or need assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out to our Buick and GMC dealership in Elkhart, IN.

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