How to Clean Your Car for Coronavirus

Men Washing His Car

Cleaning Your Car
Tips on How to Clean Your Car

At Matick Toyota, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. In an effort to reduce the risk of exposure outside their homes, many community members in Macomb are wearing gloves, regularly using hand sanitizer and disinfecting items they purchase around town. What’s easy to overlook, though, is that once these purchased items are loaded into your car, they are then touching the interior of your vehicle. According to the World Health Organization, studies suggest that the coronavirus may live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. That means that you should be sanitizing the interior of your car to kill any germs it may have collected on your last visit to the grocery store or pharmacy. 

Car cleaner wiping car door with rag

How Long Does the Coronavirus Survive on Surfaces? 

One of the hardest parts in disinfecting your vehicle is that its interior often contains numerous surfaces. From plush cloth and smooth leather to the plastic on the dash, the various surface types in your Toyota model may require several different tools for a full cleaning. According to the National Institutes of Health, the virus that causes COVID-19 is stable for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic or stainless steel. Another study suggests that similar viruses can live on “inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to nine days.”

Cleaning the interior of the car with a microfiber cloth

What’s the Best Way to Sanitize My Car’s Interior?

Prepare to sanitize your vehicle by washing your hands and putting on disposable gloves if you have a pair handy. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work well for sanitizing your vehicle. Just be sure to read the product’s label to make sure it’s safe for the surface you’re planning to use it on. We also advise keeping disinfectant wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer in your car so you can wipe down high-touch surfaces frequently.

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

If your Toyota model has leather seats, you’ll want to spot test a leather cleaner on a hidden area to ensure it works well for your specific material. Be sure to use a microfiber cloth while cleaning to avoid any scratching, and once finished, apply a leather conditioner if you have some available. Don’t have any leather cleaner on hand? Simply mix two parts vinegar with one part water to create your own solution.

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your Toyota to keep clean are the dashboard and the steering wheel. Bacteria tends to collect in these spots, as air is cycled throughout the vehicle. To clean your dash, simply use soap and water. Begin by dampening the surface — dish soap works well for this application — then scrub for 20-30 seconds. Moreover, you’ll want to concentrate your cleaning on high-contact places within your car. These surfaces can include:

  • Door Handles
  • Door Buttons
  • Key Fob
  • Steering Wheel
  • Inside Door Buttons
  • Seat Belts
  • Gear Shifters
  • Touchscreens
  • Buttons on the Dash
  • Buttons for Lights
  • Buttons for Windshield Wipers
  • Glove Compartment

Do I Need to Disinfect My Car’s Exterior?

Thanks to the sun and other environmental factors, germs are less likely to thrive on the exterior of your vehicle. It’s still smart to disinfect areas you touch frequently, however, such as the door handles, handle buttons and gas cap.

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your Toyota model’s interior surfaces, don’t use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect. These can damage the vinyl and plastics in your cabin. You should also avoid any ammonia-based cleaning products used to clean glass, as they can break down the vinyl on the dashboard. Heat and light may then cause your dashboard to become sticky.

Here at Matick Toyota, we want to do our part to help educate our customers and keep them safe and healthy during this difficult time. If you have any questions about car care or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Toyota dealership in Macomb, MI.