Coronavirus: Steps To Sanitize Your Car Against COVID-19
Just lathering your hands with soap isn’t enough. Only a holistic approach to cleaning your surroundings can weed out the threat of this deadly virus
By now you’ve probably seen a variety of explainer videos on how to contain coronavirus (COVID-19). While the easiest and most effective one seems to be a 20-second hand wash with soap, there’s a lot more to it than that. You see, the virus can stay on surfaces for days and can transmit on a casual contact.
Another necessary step is social distancing for which the government has announced temporary lockdown across almost the entire country. Since you know you’re going to be holed up in your home, you’ve probably thoroughly disinfected it.
But what happens when you need to head out in your car to reach your local supermarket or pharmacy for essential supplies? Is your car clean enough? Since everything is locked down, you can’t head to your closest garage for cleanup or call professionals through those smartphone apps. Fret not, here’s a simple guide on cleaning your car and minimising the risk of any pathogen inside its cabin.
Before you begin the purge, make sure you are properly covered and are wearing a well-fitting mask, glasses on your eyes, full-sleeve clothing, and latex/dishwashing gloves. These rules are not meant to be taken as gospel but as an idea, which is to be fully covered and prevent any stray particle from closing in on you. At this moment, precaution (not paranoia) is the best policy. Now let’s look at the first step.
Identify the Touchpoints
Apart from the obvious touchpoints like the steering wheel, door handles, touchscreen and gear lever, there are some areas that need special attention. These include your outside door handles, rearview mirror, key fob, seat height-adjustment switches, levers, power window switches, indicator and wiper stalks, starter button, grab handles, door latches, vanity mirror, reading lamp switches, as well as with buttons like that of the sunroof.
The Prep Up
Before beginning, simply wipe the surfaces with a clean cloth or if you have a vacuum cleaner, nothing like it. Continue this on the dashboard, central console, door pads, and all the crevices.
We recommend using a good-quality disinfectant spray, but most of them seem to have gone out of stock. The next best thing you could do is to take a clean microfibre cloth and lace it with drops of a sanitizer, with at least 70 per cent alcohol content. If you want to be even more cautious, use isopropyl alcohol but be sure to spray it on the rag and not the surface directly.
Take adequate quantity so that the wipe isn’t dripping with solution as it may prove detrimental to the cause if it seeps inside the crevices between the power window switches or any electronic entity. Rub only the hard touch surfaces thoroughly with the cloth.
Experts suggest the COVID-19 cell can be killed by good old soap and water but that might create a lot of mess for you to clean up. There are also soap sprays available for dashboard cleaning. So it’s up to your discretion. Exercise enough caution to not spill it all around the cabin. You can get it done professionally later.
If your car has rubber floor and boot mats, give them a rigorous high-pressure water hose treatment (don’t waste too much water though) and clean them up with soapy water afterwards.
Those with carpet mats will have a slightly tricky job at hand. Use a vacuum cleaner to clean both the sides and then spray it with either a carpet cleaning liquid or plain old vinegar. Don’t concentrate on any one point. Once you’re done, gently scrape off any gunk from the surface, and wash it with a high-pressure hose. Let the mats dry off in the sun in their original form (don’t fold them).
When it comes to seat upholstery whether its fabric or leather, you can vacuum clean the surface, follow it up with a good-quality leather/upholstery shampoo, and then its supplementary conditioner. If you don’t have these cleaners and still want to get rid of any possible germs, use a clean cloth dipped (not soaking wet) in soapy water. Just don’t overdo it and wipe it clean with a dry cloth quickly. If you want our recommendation, we suggest you skip it for the time being until you can get it cleaned by a professional.
(Pictured: A squeaky clean Lexus ES300h)
Once you’ve disinfected your car, keep it that way even when the coronavirus scare subsides. As you’re done cleaning, don’t touch anything, put your clothes for a wash, and take a shower.
There’s no vaccine and sure-shot cure for coronavirus as of now. The only way we can beat this is by keeping our distance from others and obviously this pathogen. Being alert and aware of the cleanliness of our surroundings will go a long way in our battle against one of the worst pandemics the humankind has seen.
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