It’s shocking – and a little gross – to learn there are areas of the interior of your car that are actually dirtier than a public bathroom toilet. It’s especially alarming when you think of everything you and your family do in your car. Right now, during the COVID-19 crisis, people are more aware of keeping commonly touched areas free of germs and that should include your vehicles.
A survey by CarRentals.com, reveals surprising information about American’s lack of car cleanliness. The study show about half of drivers surveyed neglect regular car cleaning. Roughly 44% admit they rarely or never clean the interior of their vehicle.
Research shows a car’s interior is six times dirtier than the average cell phone screen, four times
dirtier than a public toilet and twice as dirty as a public elevator button. On average, a car can carry roughly 700 different strains of bacteria. While cleaning the inside of a car has always been important, now more than ever we should focus making it germ-free.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), washing hands and disinfecting high-touch surfaces are among the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus. While people have been focusing on inside the house, it also time to turn your attention to your car’s interior.
Experts at the Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) offer these ways to reduce the existence of bacteria, germs and debris in your car:
- Focus on high-touch areas: It’s not just the steering wheel and door handles you need to clean. Make sure you are wiping down the shift lever, touch screens, turn signals, wiper controls, seat belt buckles, armrests, seat adjusters and key fobs, too. Make it a habit to wipe down the car daily or weekly.
- What to use? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests disinfectants like Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Lysol brand Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner and Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Wipes. If you don’t have access to these, consider using 70% Isopropyl alcohol to wipe down your interior. This staple is safe for nearly every vehicle’s dashboard and dials. You can also use soap, water and a little elbow grease if you have older, cracked leather and fabric. Avoid using products that are ammonia-based or that contain bleach or hydrogen peroxide. These chemicals can damage vinyl and plastics.
- Vacuuming your car every week. Don’t forget to remove floor mats and shake out loose dirt. You can use the vacuum brush attachment for the front and back floorboards, seats, headrests and cargo areas.
- Consider replacing your air filter. NARPRO repair facilities can take your vehicle beyond clean by sanitizing the air conditioning filter and ducts. Professional equipment and processes can eliminate mold, mildew, viruses, bacteria and volatile organic compounds from your car’s HVAC system.
While no amount of cleaning and sanitizing can guarantee you’ll avoid the coronavirus, experts agree that vigilance is vital to preventing the spread of this global disease.
Written by: Howard Fleischmann, Community Tire Pros & Auto Repair
Howard J. Fleischmann is the owner of six Valley Community Tire Pros & Auto Repair shops focused on keeping Arizona Drivers safe since 1945. He sits on the Board of the Neighborhood Automotive Repair Professionals (NARPRO) and is a recipient of the BBB ethics award.