In the course of our day, we each make use of a car, whether it’s our personal car, public transport or e-hailing services. We’re in a car transmitting all our usual bacteria, and normally this isn’t a thought that bothers us, though in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak it’s something we need to reconsider and disinfect. The outside is not the battleground, the interior however is. And while you may be the sole occupant of your car, the wrappers, and flyers that often build up house a multitude of microbes from their environment. Think about when last you truly cleaned and disinfected, the inside of your car?
How do you disinfect a car?
Start the regular way, get a vacuum cleaner, soap and water, and a lappie. This is one clean I’d recommend you do yourself, keep only your germs in the car. Vacuum your interior completely, pull the floor mats out, get into the crease of the seats, suction up the debris from nooks, crannies and coffee cup holders. Using soap and water wipe down the dash, the steering wheel and not just where you place your hands, the WHOLE wheel! Wipe the gear lever, the handbrake and the door handles. Don’t forget the grab handles on the roof, often overlooked when cleaning a car. If your door has hard materials, wipe that down too, include the window switches/winders and the unlock buttons. If it can be wiped, clean it!
Careful with chemicals
Our first instinct when wanting to disinfect is to grab anything with the words bleach, alcohol or ammonium (or is that just me?), this is not the best tactic with cars. You’ve spent a lot of money on your car, and the interior finishes can range from plastic and fabric to wood and leather. Taking harsh chemicals to your interior could completely ruin it, leaving permanent watermarks to bleach marks, so stick to a wrung-out cloth that’s been through soap and water.
Kill the germs
If you’re concerned about germs you can buy a disinfectant aerosol. I test upwards of 40 cars a year. That’s 40 cars that have been through journalists with their own unique bacteria profile. Yes, these cars are cleaned thoroughly every week though my house contains an asthmatic, so upper and lower respiratory tract infections are something I try to avoid. Every car I test gets the same treatment on the day it arrives; the interior gets a spray of F10 Disinfectant Aerosol. This product is used primarily in the vet, you’ll recognise the smell if you’ve been to one. A 5-second spray into the central open space, followed by keeping the car closed for 5-minutes should kill any nasties lurking silently.
If you share a car use Dettol wipes or any disinfectant wipe that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals and wipe down the steering wheel, gear lever, and handbrake.
Practice good hygiene
Even though it’s your car the best idea during this time is to practice good hygiene, remember to sneeze into the crook of your elbow and stop them cooties in their tracks.