How to get your car clean and germ-free.
Today’s news has many of us thinking about germs and how best to sanitize our homes and workspaces. However, don’t forget about your car. A regular cleaning will minimize germs (and help maintain the vehicle’s value) — and there’s no time like the present to start.
Start with the basics. Vacuum and clean the carpets, seats and even the headliner (roof). Remove any trash from under the seats, in between the seats and console, and the back. You might want to clear out the glove compartment and throw away outdated paperwork, food or other items you don’t need. Clean the trunk and toss out any unused items that have accumulated.
Once all the dirt is gone, it is time for a good interior wash. Mix some mild dish soap and water, and using more suds than liquid, take a soft brush to thoroughly clean all the nooks and crannies. While there are many specialized interior cleaning products, soap and water are really all you need. Wipe off damp surfaces with a microfiber cloth.
The next step is to tackle those germs. Disinfectant wipes that both clean and disinfect work well. If disinfectant wipes aren’t available, use 70% isopropyl alcohol to wipe down all surfaces. Finish with a microfiber cloth. Make sure to cover all surfaces: steering wheel and shifter, switches, seat controls, interior and exterior door handles, armrests, console covers, even the sun visors. A light touch is all you need; don’t flood any surface with cleaner. Use a disinfectant spray under the seats and give a quick spray into the air vents.
If your car has a touch screen, be careful, as alcohol-based cleaners can damage these screens. Some professional cleaning crews use a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and distilled water sprayed on one microfiber cloth to clean, and then wipe it down with a second. Don’t use paper towels on display screens or gauge clusters as they can scratch these surfaces.
If you have leather seats, use a specialized leather cleaner. Cloth and vinyl seats can be cleaned with an interior cleaner or a mild soap and water mix. This same mix can be used on carpets and floor mats but be careful not to overdo it. Flooding the carpets can lead to mold and mildew buildup. Make sure the carpets are thoroughly dry before putting the floor mats securely in place.
We all like driving a clean car. Taking a few extra steps can help ensure that you are riding in a vehicle that’s both free of germs and safe.