Car Sanitation Tips to Help Prevent Coronavirus Spread
Is your car free from the novel coronavirus?
Much of what we hear about coronavirus prevention has to do with good personal hygiene, such as frequent and proper handwashing. But there’s hardly any info on how to disinfect car interior and keep it virus-free.
During the outbreak, protect yourself and your passengers through good car sanitation practices—whether you drive for personal or ride-sharing purposes. More so if you own a fleet of vehicles for rental or any commercial use, especially if you live in an area with many confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Table of Contents
Before we discuss how to disinfect car interior against viruses, it’s important to understand first how infections can possibly happen inside a car.
Car interiors can contain and help spread viruses that cause infectious diseases like COVID-19.
When an infected person coughs or exhales, small droplets from the nose or mouth land on surfaces in the car. Coronaviruses survive on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Other passengers can get infected when they touch surfaces with the virus, and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.
The silver lining here, though, is that you can kill the virus on various surfaces in your car.
DIY Car Sanitation Tips
Car interior cleaning for coronavirus prevention is simpler than it sounds, which means you can do it yourself. Here are four tips to keep in mind before disinfecting your car.
1. Use Soap and Water
The good old tandem of soap and water is your vehicle’s best defense against COVID-19. Soap destroys viruses by breaking them down, like how it does to oils.
No need to get an antibacterial car disinfectant. Household soaps, in general, will work and are safe to use on leather and fabric surfaces (Read the product label just to be sure!).
Don’t forget to wear disposable gloves while cleaning your car interior to protect yourself against coronavirus.
2. Don’t Use Harsh Chemicals
As much as you want to eliminate viruses and other germs in your car, you don’t want its interior surfaces to get damaged.
When cleaning your car, avoid using disinfectants and cleaning products that contain any of the following harsh chemicals:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Other solvents
With the exception of bleach and hydrogen peroxide, these chemicals don’t really harm viruses. Again, using soap for disinfecting your car will suffice.
3. Wash Surfaces Vigorously
You might be familiar with the handwashing technique of singing “Happy Birthday” twice before rinsing off. It gives soap enough time—at least 20 seconds—to destroy the virus.
The same goes for when you disinfect your car interior. Well, it doesn’t necessarily require the same amount of time. But you have to scrub surfaces with a microfiber cloth. Vigorous washing allows soap and water to surround the coronavirus’s protective envelope. Friction caused by scrubbing breaks the virus down.
Don’t scrub too hard, though. You don’t want to end up with faded, torn, or tattered car seats.
4. Clean Frequently Touched Surfaces
Clean thoroughly the surfaces that are most often touched, including these parts:
- Exterior and interior door handles
- Steering wheel
- Gear shifter
- Key fob
- Buttons and switches
- Seatbelt knuckles
- Seat adjusters
- Rearview mirror
These auto components are potential sources of infection, so pay special attention to them when disinfecting your car for coronavirus prevention.
Professional Car Sanitation Service
Not confident about cleaning your car by yourself? Let a professional handle your car sanitation.
Drive your car to the nearest car wash shop for auto cleaning and detailing. For your peace of mind, watch while the car wash guys clean your car and make sure they’re doing it right.
Another option is to book a car sanitation service. There are providers in Metro Manila that offer steam cleaning in the car interior that destroy viruses and bacteria. They usually do home service in which they visit their client’s home and perform car sanitation and auto detailing in the garage. If you don’t have a garage at home, you can drive your car to the provider’s office.
The entire car sanitation process lasts for two to three hours and costs around PHP 1,000, depending on the vehicle type.
You can find car sanitation service providers in your area through a simple Google or Facebook search.
In this challenging time, it’s important to leave no stone unturned. Don’t forget: Keep calm and clean your car! It’s a simple yet effective way to defend yourself and your loved ones against the coronavirus.
-  “Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19)” (WHO website)
-  “How You Can Kill Coronavirus in Your Car Without Damaging Interior Surfaces” (Consumer Reports, 2020)
Venus is the Head of Content at Moneymax, with over 15 years of combined experience in digital marketing, corporate communications, PR, and journalism. She invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. Outside of work, she’s crazy about cats and Korean dramas. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.