4 Things You Need to Clean Your Car and Not Damage It

June 9th, 2020 by

Chances are, you have heard of coronavirus and you’re aware of the severity of this highly transmittable disease. Aside from practicing safe social distancing, one of the best ways to combat this pandemic is by keeping yourself and your environment as clean as possible. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of disinfecting your car, cleaner to use and avoid so that you don’t damage your vehicle’s interior, and a few best practices and tips for keeping your car damage and COVID-free.

Why You Should Disinfect Your Car

The rapid and deadly spread of coronavirus has caused us all to reassess our cleaning practices and, in many cases, take a more serious approach to disinfect high-traffic and high-touch surfaces. To prevent the spread of the virus, it’s wise to thoroughly clean any and all surfaces that you come in regular contact with. Because your vehicle is probably regularly used as a transport for people and materials from one location to another, it can be a hotbed for germs and viruses like COVID-19. This is especially true if you’re using a rental vehicle or use your vehicle to provide delivery or ride-hailing services.

4 Things You Need to Disinfect Your Car Without Damaging the Interior

Car Cleaning Tips

Image via Flickr by marcoverch

  1. Rubbing Alcohol: Plain rubbing alcohol is extremely effective at quickly killing most germs. In fact, many manufacturers use alcohol to clean almost every interior surface of their vehicles. Surprisingly, you can even safely rub alcohol on cloth upholstery to clean it.
  2. Household Disinfectants: Though isopropyl alcohol is a great, safe, and easy-to-use cleaning product for your car’s interior, any spray or wipe solutions that have at least 70 percent alcohol can destroy the coronavirus. In fact, though there are a few exceptions, you can use many household cleaners that are effective disinfectants for hard surfaces to clean your car’s interior without messing up the interior.
  3. Soap and Water: If you’d like something a little more mild, good old-fashioned soap and water can do the trick. When using soap and water, you’ll need to use a little more elbow grease. By creating friction while cleaning, you can help destroy the protective layer that surrounds the virus, effectively disarming it.
  4. Microfiber Towels: Always use a microfiber cloth when cleaning your car’s interior. The tiny loops that make up this piece of cloth are able to collect dust and dirt particles, which keeps you from scratching shiny or delicate surfaces with dirt and debris.

Cleaners to Avoid

Though things like hydrogen peroxide or bleach are able to kill COVID on surfaces, they can be damaging to porous surfaces like a vehicle’s upholstery. Additionally, you should refrain from using ammonia-based cleaners on your vehicle’s touchscreen surfaces because they can strip the anti-fingerprint and anti-glare coatings.

Best Practices for Keeping Your Car COVID-Free

When cleaning your car during the pandemic, you need to pay special attention to those surfaces that get touched the most. For many before now, cleaning the inside of the car has been mostly about vacuuming crumbs and wiping up that coffee spill from last week, but COVID has caused everyone to reevaluate their cleaning practices. You’ll be shocked to learn that CarRentals.com recently did a study that found that car surfaces are home to a ton of bacteria. Namely, they found that the average car’s steering wheel is four times dirtier than a toilet seat in a public restroom. In order to kill off all of those germs and keep your vehicle coronavirus-free, focus a little extra TLC on these areas:

  • If you haven’t figured out by now, you should definitely give the steering wheel some extra attention next time you clean out your car. Use disinfectant wipes to get in all of the cracks and crevices, including the gear selector lever, paddle shift levers, navigation, cruise control, voice control, and radio controls.
  • Make sure you clean the center console thoroughly. You touch this area a lot, so disinfect the cubbyholes, gear shifter, cup holders, air conditioner vents, display screens, center console buttons and controls, and even the armrests.
  • Make sure you clean the seatbelts and grab handles.
  • You may not think of it, but the inside of your door handles come in contact with a lot of hands day in and day out. Wipe this area out with disinfectant or soap and water.

If you use your vehicle for ride-hailing, you need to take special care to disinfect any areas that your passengers come in contact with, including the climate control buttons, radio, mirrors, window buttons or cranks, seat belts and buckles, lock buttons, and door latches. Aside from cleaning the inside of your car, clean your hands before and after a drive, and always wash your hands after cleaning the inside of your vehicle.

Tips for How to Clean Your Car Without Damaging It

Vehicles are made of a combination of materials, and not all cleaners are safe for multi-purpose use. Here’s a guide to which of the safe disinfectants are best for the surfaces in your car’s interior and how to use them without damaging your vehicle:

  • Soap and water can be used best on older, cracked leather and fabrics. Just make sure that you don’t scrub too hard or use too much soap or water. If you soak the fabric and the cushion, you could end up causing mold growth or a gross, musty smell. It’s best to use a small amount of soap and water and then lightly scrub the fabric.
  • The imitation leather and genuine leather materials used in vehicles are often coated for protection. Both the materials and the coating can be safely cleaned with alcohol, but after continued use, it could lead to discoloration and damage. Additionally, most leathers are dyed, and scrubbing too intensely can remove the dye.

At Hiley Hyundai West in Fort Worth, we’re here to help answer any of your concerns and address your vehicle’s needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our service center.

Posted in Car Tips