The age of Coronavirus has led more people to take extra care when sanitizing their homes, offices and vehicles. With that in mind, here is our guide to help keep germs at bay in your vehicles, along with some helpful tips from Nissan.
Car Cleaning Tips
- Clean and sanitize your vehicle after every use with a sanitizing wipe or spray. (Always check instructions that note how long the method you use must dry to be effective.) The CDC says you can use alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol. Soap and water is also effective.
- Don't forget all the car touch points like the gear shift, push-button start, radio knobs, steering wheel, door handles, grab handles, A/C vents, power window controls, armrests, rearview mirror, cupholders and yes, even your seatbelts, both the belt itself and latch. Wipe down your key fob, too.
- Look for specific wipes available made for cleaning your car's leather. It's also a good idea to apply some leather conditioner once the risk has subsided. Cleaners can cause the leather to dry out and crack if not treated.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly after you're done. If you don't have immediate access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, according to the CDC guidelines. We don't recommend keeping a bottle of sanitizer in your vehicle, however, as it could explode in hot weather.
Cleaning Agents To Avoid
- Avoid bleach, hydrogen peroxide, benzene, thinners, or other harsh and abrasive cleaners.
- Don't use harsh abrasive chemicals on your touchscreen because they can damage the anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings.
We also found this checklist from Nissan helpful:
Child Safety Seats
Don't forget about child-safety car seats. They are a major place germs like to hang out. Cleaning a car seat requires a couple of steps:
- Read the car seat's manual before doing anything because missteps when cleaning it could make the car seat unsafe. WARNING: Cleaners and disinfectants can harm the seat's integrity.
- To clean the car seat's plastic shell, most manufacturers recommend using a damp cloth and mild soap. The seatbelt straps should be wiped down with a damp cloth, too. Some manufacturers allow the use of a mild soap to clean it, but again, check your car seat's manual before cleaning.
- Don't wash the seat belt straps in the washing machine because it can affect its fiber strength and wash away fire retardants.
Again, read the owner's manual before washing or consider having it done by a detailing professional. Some manufacturers allow the covers to be machine-washed (and likely air-dried), while others prefer hand shampooing and air-drying.
Other Vehicle Tips
The following tips are helpful when Coronavirus cases spike and mask mandates along with social distancing come into play. (You can check COVID-19 levels by county using this weekly updated CDC map.)
- During times of high transmission, if you're carrying other passengers in your vehicle, everyone should be wearing a mask. It's also important to keep your vehicle ventilated by cracking your window open and also make sure your vehicle is not recirculating air, but bringing it in from the outdoors.
- Avoid using a touch screen and instead use your vehicle's voice recognition system.
- Take care at gas stations, mask up and use a glove to handle the pump then toss it into the trash can afterward. Pay at the pump if possible and sanitize your hands afterwards.
All of these tips should become habit and standard practice in the current world we live in today. While nothing can completely mitigate the risk of germs in your vehicle completely, these precautions can help keep them at bay.