How should we clean and disinfect our car?

We should clean our vehicle just as we do our homes, but we don’t. To avoid major problems, not only should we clean, we should also disinfect the car, and not just any old way. To avoid major problems, we must not only clean, we must also disinfect the car and not just any old way. We tell you which are the most recommended products for your car and how you should use them so that it shines like gold.

In our daily lives we live in an environment where there is a multitude of bacteria, fungi and viruses that surround us, and that are found in a multitude of objects. Normally, we are not aware of them, and less so when we travel by car, but COVID-19 has forcibly reminded us that our environment is full of microorganisms, and some of them are very dangerous for our body.

From RACE we not only care about our members by offering them exclusive products such as roadside assistance, mechanical warranty or personal assistance in the world; we also inform them about practical aspects related to the car. In this case, we talk about cleaning the vehicle and how we can disinfect it.

How many days can the Coronavirus remain in the car?

As explained in a scientific-technical report (page 12) of the Ministry of Health, as a reference, Covid-19 can last, at a temperature of 22 ºC and 60% humidity, up to 3 hours on a paper surface (printing or tissue paper), between one and two days on wood, clothes or glass, and up to four days on stainless steel, plastic, surgical masks or banknotes.

Which products can be used to clean the interior of the car and which cannot?

To clean the interior of the passenger compartment of the Coronavirus the most advisable thing is, first, to vacuum the most visible dirt, and then to use hot water and soap. However, this will only serve to clean some stains, not to make the Coronavirus particles disappear.

The Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) recommends not to use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect the car. Neither ammonia-based cleaners, since they can damage the anti-reflective or anti-fingerprint material of the vehicle’s screens.

Now that we have ruled out bleach and ammonia, what product can we use then?
The Guardia Civil, the Spanish Confederation of Freight Transport and the OCU recommend the use of a solution containing at least 70% alcohol. The Consejería de Sanidad de la Comunidad de Madrid explains how to prepare this material:

  • Start with the alcohol for disinfecting wounds that we have at home, which is 96 proof alcohol.
  • Take 73 ml of 96 proof alcohol.
  • Fill with tap or distilled water (27 ml) to a total of 100 ml.
  • Mix the contents.

Beyond this homemade preparation we can use an isopropyl alcohol sprayer which is ideal so that it does not damage any surface of the vehicle. In fact, it is what some car manufacturers use to disinfect their models.

The most delicate part to clean is the upholstery of the car (seats, roof, headrests and armrests). It is here where, above all, we should not overdo it with the alcohol solution so that it does not spoil or lose color.

In addition to these methods, there is also ozone gas, an element normally offered by specialized vehicle disinfection services, which has a microbicidal, deodorizing and oxygenating action. There are also other businesses that disinfect cars through ultrasound. In any of the cases, they are different solutions to eliminate Covid-19.

Where should we pay special attention when disinfecting our car?

To apply these cleaning products inside the car, we should use gloves, a mask and even an eye protection. It will be the best way to protect ourselves. Microfiber cloths are the most recommended for cleaning and disinfecting inside the car.

Once we are properly dressed, we should pay special attention to the steering wheel, the main source of bacteria in the car, according to a study by Car Rentals.

We should also emphasize the gearshift, seat belts, handbrake, buttons on the central console (radio, air conditioning…), dashboard, door handles, armrests, rearview mirror, seats, windows, floor mats, cup holders, levers that regulate the seat height and lumbar, turn signals, vehicle key, trunk handle and windshield wiper lever. These are the fundamental ones, although if we want to disinfect well we will have to pass the microfiber cloth for any space, even the one that is not to simple sight.

Once you have finished cleaning, keep the windows and the trunk open so that the air is renewed (the air filter does not need to be changed except when indicated by the manufacturer). Then, throw away all the elements that you have used to make the car impeccable: gloves, mask, goggles, microfiber cloth… and clean your hands and forearms thoroughly without touching anything before. Finally, do not dry your hands with an industrial dryer as it can also be a bacteriological focus; better with a paper towel. If you follow the above steps, you will prevent the Coronavirus from circulating freely in your car.

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