Keeping Your Car Germ-Free During the Coronavirus Pandemic


car-germs
Photo Credit: CGN089/Shutterstock

Our first post about keeping your car-germ free during the COVID-19 crisis was published in March, when the pandemic was beginning. Now, as we head into mid-July, the need to sanitize and clean our vehicles is even greater as COVID cases spike across the nation.

Some of us have resumed more normal activity in recent months, going back to work and using our vehicles more, while others still choose to remain home except for essential trips to grocery stores and for medical needs. Still others are using their vehicles as home offices during this time when working remotely has become a new reality for a lot of people.

Regardless of how often you use your vehicle, cleaning and sanitizing it after use is very important. Wipe down often-touched surfaces including the gear shift, radio knobs and steering wheel. Don't forget door handles, power window controls, armrests, rearview mirror, cupholders and seatbelts. Both the belt and the latch. Also, don't forget to wipe down your key fob with a sanitizing wipe or spray. Pay attention to your A/C vents, floor mats and the trunk as well.

Taking these steps becomes even more important if you're carrying passengers in your vehicle. These situations also warrant other actions like asking all passenger to wear masks in your vehicle. It's also important to keep your vehicle ventilated. Crack open the windows if you're riding with other people. Make sure your vehicle is not recirculating air, but bringing it in from the outdoors. Another way to keep germs at bay is use your voice recognition more than using a touchscreen.

Cleaning and disinfecting our vehicles is not something many people do on a regular basis. A recent Expedia group study cited by CNN Travel found that one-third (32%) of people surveyed only clean their car once a year. The Expedia-owned CarRentals.com study also found that steering wheels have four times as many germs than a public toilet seat. One reason steering wheels along with other often-touched car switchgear should be wiped down with a disinfectant wipe or spray daily.

Beware though there are some things you should NOT use to clean your vehicle: they include bleach, hydrogen peroxide, benzane, thinners, or other harsh and abrasive cleaners. You also don't want to use harsh abrasive chemicals on your touchscreen because they can damage the anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings. Look for specific wipes available made for cleaning your carís leather. It's also a good idea to apply some leather conditioner once the risk has subsided. Cleaners can cause the leather to dry out and crack if not treated.

Nissan's come up with a handy checklist below:

Nissan car cleaning tips

What To Keep In The Car:

  • Sanitary wipes: These are great for wiping down not only the kids, but car surfaces like the dash and door panels. As we mentioned above, think twice before using bleach wipes in your car because the harsh chemicals could damage the interior.

Cleaning Child-Safety Seats:

A major place germs hide out in the car is in car seats. They can get really dirty and hold a lot of germs. Cleaning a car seat requires a couple of steps:

  • First, read the car seatís manual before doing anything. Any missteps when cleaning it could make the car seat unsafe.
  • To clean the car seatís plastic shell, most manufacturers recommend using a damp cloth and mild soap. The seatbelt straps should be wiped down with a damp cloth, too. Some manufacturers allow the use of a mild soap to clean it, but check before cleaning.
  • Donít wash the seatbelt straps in the washing machine because it can affect its fiber strength and wash away fire retardants.

Again, read the ownerís manual before washing or consider having it done by a detailing professional. Some manufacturers allow the covers to be machine-washed (and likely air-dried), while others prefer hand shampooing and air-drying.

All of these tips should become habit and standard practice in the current world we live in today. While nothing can completely mitigate the risk of germs in your vehicle completely, these precautions can help keep them at bay.
Related Articles
Tips
Tips To Keep Cool On The Road
The American Automobile Association predicts that Americans will take 700 million road trips this summer. While that number is down nearly 15% from last July through September, thatís still a lot of r... More ›
Navigating
Navigating The Road Ahead During the COVID-19 Crisis: Your Car Questions Answered
If youíre like us, youíll never again take for granted the freedom to get in your car and head to your local grocery store to pick up a few things. The ability to do so is just one way transportation ... More ›
Capless
Capless Gas Tanks Pros and Cons
[Editorís Note: This article has been updated since its original posting date.]

More and more, as I review new vehicles, and they need fuel, I open the gas tank flap all set to unscrew the gas ... More ›
Dealing
Dealing With Summer Car Service Woes at the Dealership
A Texas Car Pro Show listener got in touch with me, totally frustrated with her dealership. She loves the dealership overall, loves her salesperson, and loves her vehicle. However, she gets irritate... More ›
Vince
One important thing missing from the Keep your Car Germ Free is the Seatbelt Buckles.
Vic
The Expedia Owned CarRental. com link that was included in the article does show the seatbelt as well as many others in the display that mentions the Average amount of germs on vehicle surfaces.
Jim
I called Northridge Toyota, as my wife's car needed Service. I asked what cleaning will be done before I don my mask to pick it up. I was told that don't clean. I was shocked as virtually every car company ad talks about deep cleaning. They then told me that they would clean the car for $30.00. Needless to say I won't be returning. What's even more ridiculous, is that I live in an area with 5 Toyota dealers within 15 minutes of my house. Should I call the owner?
The Car Pro
Yes, I think that would be a again idea, Iím sure he or she would want to know this.

Jerry Reynolds
pat .
Any chance of having Car Pro dealer in the Sandusky, Port Clinton area of Ohio we are an hour from Toledo and Cleveland? Would love to see one or two
Thanks
The Car Pro
Hi Pat!

Our closest dealers to you would be in Cleveland or Detroit, here are the links to our Car Pro Certified Dealers so you can check them out. Thanks for listening!

https://www.carprousa.com/city/cleveland
https://www.carprousa.com/city/detroit-mi
Robert .
Have you test driven a 2018 Subaru Ascent yet?
Jerry Reynolds
Not yet, but we look forward to getting behind the wheel.