How to Effectively Disinfect: Best Ways to Sanitize Your Car

In the midst of the U.S. national emergency declared as a result of the “global pandemic” caused by the coronavirus, many are vamping up their cleaning measures. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has released numerous advisories on how to help slow the spread of the virus. Thorough and frequent hand washing, touchless greetings, and limited high-volume gatherings are all things we can do to actively combat the number of people who get sick.

Driving is still necessary for many

Citizens across the country are practicing social distance and enacting self-quarantine due to the nationwide closure of so many places. But for most, this includes drives out into the world for the necessities of daily life such as hygiene products and food. Because of this, there is one place in particular that remains of utmost importance to keep clean and sanitized: your car.

The vehicle you drive is the bridge between your clean and quarantined home to the realm of public places that may be contaminated with coronavirus. That is why the cleanliness of your car is suddenly more important than ever.

While coronavirus may not be severe for most, those who are considered “high-risk” such as the elderly or those with pre-existing medical conditions, have a better chance of avoiding infection if action is taken. Anyone that is helping people out by delivering goods around the neighborhood should regularly disinfect their car.

Anyone that works as a driver for Uber or Lyft, or for a meal-delivery service will want to effectively sanitize their vehicle between passenger or supply loads to protect both themselves and future passengers from becoming a carrier of the virus.

There has pretty much never been a better time to deep clean your car. Follow these helpful hints to a cleaner and safer car for both riders and passengers.

Are cleaning and disinfecting the same?

Whether you are delivering food, people, or supplies, disinfecting regularly is about as important as washing your hands. Before going into how to clean and disinfect your vehicle, let’s talk about clean versus disinfect. Yes, they are in fact different. According to the CDC:

Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

The first thing to do is clean out your car of all the clutter and trash. Wear some gloves and be mindful. Once you have removed all of that, take your gloves off, wash your hands and move onto vacuuming. Next, you go into the actual disinfecting.

The CDC recommends washing dirty surfaces with soap or detergent before the sanitization process. Shampoo carpets, wash all cloth seats or clean leather ones. Use soap and water on your seat belts. Scrub your dash. Wash the exterior of your car as you normally would.

Now for the chemicals. For disinfection, bleach solutions (read the CDC recommendations for diluting bleach here), alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. It’s as simple as using a Clorox wipe or a homemade solution to wipe everything down.

You might want to avoid putting bleach or alcohol on your seats to prevent damaging them, but don’t be afraid to use a little elbow grease and pay attention to detail. Not only will you be doing your best to be proactive, but you will also enjoy the benefits of a pristine interior.

Keep in mind the most commonly touched surfaces

This video shows in detail how to disinfect your AC system for a super high standard of safety and cleanliness. If you have the supplies on hand, it may be worth a try in your new-found spare time spent at home.

Door handles, your steering wheel, dash control buttons, seat belt buckles ––anything that is most commonly touched. After a good deep clean, regularly wipe those high traffic places with a sanitizing soluting and you will be on track to maintaining an effectively disinfected vehicle.

This is one simple way to kill time as you do your part to remain an active member of the community, even while observing social distance. Sanitization is a great practice even outside of the coronavirus pandemic. It never hurts to show a little extra love to your car, plus cleaning is a great way to get in a bit of exercise.