Many people have become very conscious the past days on how to clean their hands properly to protect themselves from the coronavirus. Unfortunately, some forget that their car can also transmit the virus as it can stay on surfaces for several days. A recent study from the US American health institute NIH and the CSC found that the coronavirus can be found on surfaces like plastic and rust-free steel for up to 72 hours. As especially cars have many surfaces like that, the car can actually help the virus to spread out.
Therefore, it is very important to clean the spots that your hands are in contact with while you are driving or sitting in your car, especially if a person has been in your car that is infected with the coronavirus or that you suspect to be infected. It is also advisable to clean your car properly if you have been in contact with a lot of people such as after visiting a supermarket, a school, taking public transportation or similar. There is an even higher risk to get infected through your car if you use car sharing vehicles or have a rental car.
Which parts of the car do I need to clean?
What products should I use to clean my car?
Luckily you do not need any special cleaning products to get rid of the coronavirus. You can use normal cleaning products such as detergent or special car cleaning products if you have them at home. Please be careful before using it and check if the products can be used on the materials of your car.
It is not advisable to use sanitizer as it is bad for your car's material, such as the leather and can leave stains on the materials. The only spots where you can use a sanitizer to clean your car are the doorhandles. Please be aware though that you have to use a hand sanitizer that contains a minimum of 70% alcohol as it otherwise does not get rid of viruses, only bacteria. Furthermore, sanitizer cannot be used instead of cleaning as it does not remove dirt.
How should I clean my car?
The most effective way to clean your car coronavirus-free is to spray the cleaning product or the detergent on to the different surfaces, let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse it off with clean water.
You can use this procedure to clean the doorhandles (both inside and outside), the steering wheel, the gearstick, the regulators and knobs (such as the radio, etc.), the handbrake, the driving mirror and the petrol cap. It is not advisable to let the cleaning product sit on the material for too long as this could be damaging for the different materials. To clean the touchscreen it is best to use a cleaning wipe or a dry wipe with detergent to not damage the screen.
As mentioned above the car offers many surfaces for the virus and the more surfaces there are, the more the virus can spread out. You should, therefore, remove any items from your car that are unnecessary, such as decorations or accessories, a blanket, pillows, clothes or trash.
Keep your AC running on fresh air
When driving your car make sure that it is running on fresh air. The virus can spread if there is no air circulation, so you should make sure that your air condition is not running on a setting where the air from the inside gets re-circulated. If you are not sure about what settings your AC is running then you can also just open a window to get fresh air into your car without using the air condition at all.
It is recommended in general to have the air pollution filter of your car changed once a year to prevent it from spreading germs and bacteria. If you notice a musty smell coming from your air condition it might be time for an AC service.