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HOW TO KILL CORONA-VIRUS IN YOUR CAR WITHOUT CAUSING INTERIOR SURFACE DAMAGE

With the threat of the Coronavirus hanging over our heads every time we leave the house, we all want to do our part to prevent its spread. We want to make sure that when we make our essential runs to the pharmacy or grocery store that we are not bringing something back with us. While most of us are careful with handwashing and disinfecting our homes, we mustn’t skip the inside of our vehicles.



According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two of the best ways to protect yourself and to prevent spreading the coronavirus is to wash your hands and disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly. Frequently touched surfaces in your vehicle include:


  • Door handles
  • Touch screens and radio controls/buttons
  • Wiper and turn signal stalks
  • Steering wheel
  • Shift lever
  • Armrests
  • Seat adjusters

The interior surfaces of your vehicle are not as durable as those in your kitchen or bathroom. So, how do you disinfect them without causing any damage?

According to the CDC, and Isopropyl Alcohol solution of at least 70 percent of alcohol is effective against coronavirus. It is also safe to use on almost all surfaces inside your vehicle. Jeff Stout of Yanfeng Automotive Interiors stated in a Consumer Reports interview that they will often use isopropyl alcohol “for any last-minute smudges and details” before they ship their products. He says that it is safe to use on everything from plastic trim to painted chrome, imitation leather, and even soft cloth upholstery.


Another option that is mostly safe for vehicle interiors that is also effective against coronavirus is simple soap and water. Soap and water are the preferred method for fabrics and older leather interiors. Over time, cleaning leather surfaces with alcohol can cause the urethane coating to breakdown and leave it susceptible to discoloration and damage. Soap and water are a safe alternative; however, you do not want to scrub too hard. Vehicle leather is usually dyed, and vigorous scrubbing has been known to remove the dye. After you have disinfected your leather surface with either soap and water or isopropyl alcohol, consider cleaning it with a cleaner meant for automotive leather and then using a leather conditioner to keep it protected from damage.


For fabric upholstery, you want to make sure that you are not overly soaking the material with water or using too much soap. You do not want too many suds as they are difficult to remove, and too much water could soak into the cushion under the fabric, which is difficult to dry. This could result in your seats smelling musty and could potentially result in mold growth. All you need to do is agitate the fabric with a small amount of water and soap on a cloth.


Automotive interior experts like Stout recommend cleaning all interior surfaces of your vehicle with a microfiber cloth. These cloths are made of a fabric that has small loops that will catch dirt particles and whisk them away before they can scratch shiny and delicate surfaces. When you use paper towels and the like, the dirt clings to it, creating a sort of sandpaper effect.


You should never use bleach or hydrogen peroxide on the interior surfaces of your vehicle. While both are effective at killing the coronavirus, they are damaging to upholstery. You should also never use ammonia-based cleaners on any touch screens in your vehicle. It can strip or damage the anti-fingerprint and anti-glare coatings.


Besides disinfecting your vehicle’s interior, it is also extremely important to remember to wash your hands before and after you drive. The CDC states that handwashing is one of the best ways to protect ourselves from coronavirus, so one of your top priorities should be to keep your hands clean. This is a good habit to have, even when the threat of coronavirus has subsided, as it can keep your steering wheel and other surfaces that you touch frequently from appearing dirty and protect you from ailments such as the cold or flu.

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