Keeping Your Car Germ-Free During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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 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
A Teenís First Car Is a Lesson in Life
We spent a good amount of time on the Car Pro Show last weekend talking about Teen Driver Safety Week. It can be a life changer for the parents as well as the child. For most parents, your childís i... More ›
The Basics Of The Check Engine Light
Weíve all had our check engine light come on and likely wondered what it means and just how quickly it should be attended to. Check engine lights can mean different things and should never be ignored.... More ›
Car Pro Advice: Getting Your Car Ready for Winter
Covid-19 has changed much about our lives. For instance, people are shying away from Uber and Lyft. Airline flights are way down. People are driving more on road trips because they know the environ... More ›
2020 Tax Code 179 For Business Owners & The Self-Employed
Itís that time of year: Below is our annual guide to Tax Code Section 179 for self-employed and business owners who buy a vehicle.

Tax Code 179Tax Code 179, the special deduction to write of... More ›
One important thing missing from the Keep your Car Germ Free is the Seatbelt Buckles.
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.
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
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!
Robert .
Have you test driven a 2018 Subaru Ascent yet?
Jerry Reynolds
Not yet, but we look forward to getting behind the wheel.