How to Keep Coronavirus Out of Your Car [or How to Properly Disinfect & Sanitize Your Vehicle]

The best ways to disinfect & sanitize your car to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Clean and sanitize high-contact surfaces of your vehicle to help reduce the risk of coronavirus.March 30, 2020

Right now - more than ever - is the perfect time to clean, sanitize, and disinfect your car.

And we’re talking about more than just removing dirt and road salt from the exterior and interior of your vehicle. We’re referring specifically to sanitizing your car in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19, a particularly nasty new coronavirus, that the World Health Organization has declared a global pandemic.

So, wash your hands, put on your gloves, get out some alcohol or disinfectant wipes, and let’s disinfect your vehicle.

What Cleaning Agents/Disinfectants are Safe for My Car? Which aren’t?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies a number of household cleaning agents and disinfectants that can help reduce the risk of COVID-19 coronavirus in your home. Among these household, disinfectants are a few that are also safe to use in your vehicle - namely, alcohol and soap and water.

According to the CDC, alcohol solutions that contain at least 70-percent alcohol should be effective at killing coronavirus. This means that the isopropyl alcohol you probably already have in your house is your best way to disinfect your car or truck.

You don’t have any isopropyl alcohol? No problem. Soap and water are also effective cleaning agents that are safe to use in your vehicle.

Do not use bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or ammonia in your vehicle. Bleach and hydrogen peroxide can damage upholstery, vinyl, and other materials; and cleaning products that contain ammonia can strip off anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings on touchscreens as well as break down vinyl.

Which Parts of My Car Should I Disinfect?

COVID-19 has been proven to survive outside the human body and on different surfaces for varying lengths of time. The best course of action to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19, therefore, is to constantly and thoroughly disinfect surfaces that are at high risk for carrying the virus.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19, and using the above-recommended disinfectants, sanitize surfaces in your vehicle that come into regular human contact:

  • Steering wheel (high priority)
  • Door handles (high priority)
  • Gear shifter
  • Cupholder
  • Key fobs
  • Start/stop button
  • Door latches
  • Lock buttons
  • Seat belts and buckles
  • Window/seat/mirror controls
  • Turn signal switch
  • Radio and climate controls

And when you’re done cleaning your car, wash your hands AGAIN.

For more interior and exterior car cleaning tips, check out these 6 car cleaning tips you can do right now!

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