By now we should all have a greater understanding of how coronavirus can be passed on, and we want to make you aware that sanitising your vehicle is just as important as sanitising your hands. Motorists are being advised to keep their car clean and sanitised during the pandemic to help minimise the risk of spreading the virus and to keep you and your family safe.
We’ve put together a guide on the importance of keeping your car clean, which areas to pay special attention to and how you can do this whilst still protecting yourself.
Why do I need to clean my vehicle?
Even during normal daily use, you should keep your car clean as it has many benefits. However, this is even more important now that coronavirus is around because experts have said the virus can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours. Even if you are spending the majority of your time isolating at home, there is still a chance of picking up the virus when making your essential journeys. The benefits of cleaning your car are:
- Protects your own and other people’s health
- Improves the air quality and flow inside of your vehicle
- Removes problem odours
- Prevents mould and other bacteria from growing
- Adds comfort and satisfaction to your driving experience
Which parts of my vehicle should I clean?
It’s important to clean your car first before you disinfect. You can start with hoovering the interior floor, carpets and seats to remove any dirt and debris. When carrying out your clean, pay close attention to:
- Door handles
- Headrests / armrests
- Steering wheel
- Seatbelts and clips
- Rear-view mirror
- Car radio
- Cup holders
- Bonnet opening switch
Anywhere that you come into close contact with or is considered a high-touch area should be thoroughly cleansed and disinfected. You should also consider disinfecting your air conditioning as new research has suggested that AC systems may spread the virus particles in enclosed spaces.
You can clean your vehicles AC system by:
- Wiping the vents clean with anti-bacterial wipes or spray
- Clean the cabin filter by blowing off the dust with an air compressor and spray it with disinfectant before putting it back in
- Brush/wipe down the fans – this should be done when your vehicles engine has been turned off for some time, the fans are located behind the condenser
- Spray the condenser with water to clean off any dirt and allow it to air dry
Before doing this, always read your vehicle’s manual as each vehicle is different.
You should also sanitise your hands on an hourly basis if you’re using the vehicle for a long time.
Protect yourself before you start
Before starting the process of cleaning your car, you should look after yourself first and wear the correct protective gear.
Wash your hands and sanitise first to avoid contamination and then grab a pair of high-quality rubber gloves and a disposable face mask. There will be a high amount of dirt and dust particles in the air as you start to clean so it’s good to have that extra protection. Where possible, limit the areas of skin on show to avoid direct contact with any germs.
What cleaning products should I use?
To thoroughly clean your vehicle, you should get cleaning materials specifically for fabrics, exterior metal and plastic, interior plastic, vinyl and leather. We also recommend using disinfectant to give key areas like the door handles, steering wheel and seatbelts a wipe down after cleaning them. Be sure to check if the disinfectant you’re using is suitable for the materials you’re using it on.
To clean floor mats you can soak them in a large tub of regular detergent and hot water. If you don’t have regular detergent, you can use liquid soap which will work just as well. Leave them in for a minimum of 30 minutes before getting them out and hanging them to air dry.
Avoid using any type of bleach of hydrogen peroxide on the vehicle’s interior. The chemicals will kill the germs, but they will also cause damage to any vinyl and plastics, as well as discolouring your car so we don’t recommend using these.
Bleach could also cause serious damage to seat belts, weakening the fabric and therefore affecting the safety.
We also encourage you to avoid using glass cleaner if you have touch display screens, this can affect anti-glare coatings and cause damage. The same goes for ammonia-based cleaners inside the car too as this can break down vinyl on your dashboard and become sticky under heat and light.
Finally, wash your hands and clothing
When finished, you should remove all clothing and put these in the wash to avoid contaminating any living areas and increasing the risk of infection. You should also dispose of your face mask and soak your gloves effectively, as well as washing your hands again. Even if you were wearing gloves, it’s good to have that piece of mind and extra cleanliness. It is important to always clean your hands before and after entering so that your vehicle can be kept as a clean space, reducing the risk of the virus spreading into your vehicle.
Staying alert and other top tips
It is important to stay alert when going out in your vehicle and making essential journeys. For example, if you’re going out to a petrol station, consider wearing gloves when you handle the pump and pay by contactless if possible.
Other things you may consider are:
- Keeping hand sanitiser in your vehicle to use when leaving and re-entering
- A face mask to minimise the risk of infection when making essential trips
- Have a supply of anti-bacterial wipes in your glove compartment to regularly wipe down key areas
Following these cleaning tips will hopefully help keep your car germ-free, especially if you get into a habit of doing it regularly. We can’t guarantee you won’t catch the coronavirus but following these suggestions can greatly help minimise the risk of infection or spread and your car gets a treat too.
Let people know your vehicle has been sanitised with our new vehicle sanitised door stickers. Perfect for rental companies, dealerships, commercial fleet, garages and other applications.
For more information on the impact of COVID-19 on the haulage sector, read our article here.