We spend so much time in our cars, it’s not surprising that at some point, we all eat there, drink there, and inevitably spread germs there. Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of your car’s inner surfaces can help prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. This is especially important if you have others riding in your car.
If you haven’t done a deep clean of your ride lately, now is a perfect time. Use these car cleaning tips to make your car sparkling clean and germ-free inside.
Three ways to clean hard surfaces in your car
Cleaning car interiors can be a challenge: there are different types of surfaces that require different cleaning methods. Some are hard, some are made of fabric, and some may even be porous. It’s important to choose the right cleaning solution for which surface you are planning to clean.
Before you get started, make sure you take appropriate precautions to protect yourself, such as using rubber gloves and making sure your car doors and windows are open to allow proper airflow.
Good ol’ soap and water
It may seem like a no brainer to some, but we can forget that what we use to wash our hands can be used to tidy up other surfaces. However, if you choose to use soap and water, there is one important thing to keep in mind. Grab a bucket, fill it with water and soap, and get a hold of a brush or sponge that is semi-rigid. Part of the magic of soap and water is in the friction, which can break down a virus’s protective envelope as well as wash away excess bacteria.
When you’re finished scrubbing your steering wheel, console, and dashboard, wipe them down with paper towels and discard them. Leave your scrubbing tool of choice in the bucket of soapy water afterward (we recommend at least 30 minutes) to kill any remaining germs it may have picked up.
Diluted cleaners and cleaning supplies
There are many cleaning supplies on the market, but not all of them are effective in destroying viruses. Before you dip into your cleaning cabinet, check the EPA’s list of effective cleaners for use against viruses such as the latest pandemic impacting us around the world known as SARS-CoV-2, or coronavirus. The rise of this pandemic has created a need to revisit how we prevent the spread of disease. While cleaning your vehicle may not seem like a big deal, you’re doing your part to prevent further spread of this virus as well as other germs.
Bleach is a common household item and can be used to disinfect surfaces. The CDC recommends a solution of 1/3 a cup of bleach per each gallon of water. Make sure you do not skip diluting it to protect yourself and properly ventilate the area you are cleaning in. Never start cleaning cars with bleach or any other chemicals in an enclosed space like your garage. Park your vehicle outside and open the windows before you put on your rubber gloves.
Another homemade car interior cleaner you can use that is effective against viruses is Hydrogen Peroxide. Good news! It’s non-corrosive, so you can use it on metal surfaces inside your car too.
There’s no need to dilute this cleaning solution, however, you will need a spray bottle. Pour it in and spray a thin layer on whichever surfaces you aim to clean but be careful to avoid fabrics. It can cause discoloration! Let it sit for at least one minute and then wipe it away using disposable towels.
The bottom line.
When you clean the inside of your car, make sure you get all the nooks and crannies. This is important to prevent the spread of germs within your car. Scrub the steering wheel, vacuum your seats, and maybe even pay those windows a little attention. (Wipe windows with coffee filters to prevent streaking!) And, the last step in spring cleaning your car, go through your glove box and make sure your latest car insurance policy card is up to date with the amount you’re driving. If not, it may be time to revisit your policy online. We hope you find these car cleaning tips helpful in keeping your ride germ-free safe inside and out.