For many motorists, keeping excessive amounts of rubbish from piling up in the interior of the car and ensuring the exterior doesn’t look like its just finished a trek through the Amazon is about as far as it goes when it comes to cleaning.
That said, a quick hoover or and a blast with the power hose isn’t quite going to cut it anymore, and the masses are clearly cottoning on. Yes, we’re talking about deep cleaning to keep ourselves safe in the midst of Covid-19.
As many of us return to work and get back to some form of normality, we will, inevitably, be using our cars more. Despite the fact our cars exist as their own social bubble of sorts, they are still prone to harbouring germs. Think of when you travel to the shops — the various things you touch inside the store will all transfer into your car.
With this in mind, the routine that we’ve got ourselves into when it comes to cleaning our hands should also be applied to our vehicles.
Keeping yourself safe when cleaning
Although your car is unlike public transport, in that it is only yourself and your family travelling in it, it is still a place where viruses can build up — moreover, the coronavirus can remain on surfaces for up to 72 hours.
It is advised that when cleaning your car, you should don Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), limiting your chances of being exposed to any germs.
Ideally you should use disposable gloves, but if you don’t have them then a pair of ordinary Marigold-style gloves will be sufficient. Similarly, if an apron is available make sure to utilise it — otherwise wash your clothes separately after cleaning the car.
Just like you would do when travelling on public transport, sport a face mask that is properly covering your face when you’re cleaning the car. Any rubbish and disposable PPE should be placed into a plastic rubbish bag and binned immediately after the car has been cleaned.
Protect yourself without damaging surfaces
One thing to remember when you’re cleaning the surfaces in your car is that you aren’t cleaning your kitchen worktops or your bathroom floor — a delicate approach is by no means a bad thing!
Luckily, most household cleaning products can be used in your car without damaging the interior.
Jeff Stout, Executive Director of Global Innovation at Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, noted that most alcohol solutions that contain at least 70 per cent alcohol are ideal in combating Covid-19. The world’s largest supplier of automotive interior parts, Yanfeng use isopropyl alcohol to clean most of their parts.
You should not use any bleach or hydrogen peroxide on your vehicle, as this will damage and discolour the interior. Similarly, avoid using ammonia cleaners when wiping touch screens, as this can damage the surfaces.
A simple water and soap solution will suffice when cleaning most surfaces and will help avoid potential discolouring. However, avoid heavy scrubbing as this can cause materials like leather to crack.
Cleaning with a microfibre cloth is advised by most manufacturers, but if you have any concerns over what you should be using to clean with, consult your manufacturer’s guidelines beforehand.
Although it might seem like a given, clean your car before disinfecting any surfaces.
Focus points for cleaning and disinfecting
There are a number of areas within your car that you touch on a regular basis, and these should be the points you should focus your attention on when disinfecting.
Obviously, the surface area of a Range Rover Velar will be slightly larger than that of a Fiat Punto when it comes to cleaning but remember your safety is paramount.
Start off by wiping any handles. Your interior and exterior door handles, grab handles, and the handle or button on the boot.
Once in the car, think about all of the different things you come in to contact with. Begin with your steering wheel, wiping around it, before doing the same with the steering wheel stalks, such as the indicators, light switches, and window wiper controls.
Move then onto the central console, where you will find the infotainment buttons, the gear stick, the handbrake, the cup holder, and the storage compartment.
Remember to wipe down any arm rests, air conditioning controls, vents, and entertainment devices such as behind the head television screens that your car may have.
Finally, one area that is often forgotten is the seat belts — one place that you are guaranteed to have touched when you’ve gotten in and out of the vehicle!
Follow these simple tips when it comes to cleaning your car and you’ll ensure that you are keeping yourself safe and protected when it comes to driving. Perhaps it would be wise to keep a selection of cleaning products, from cloths to hand sanitiser, to make sure you’re keeping In line with safety regulations, even whilst at the wheel!