Many of us spend more time in our cars than in our beds. And while we do everything we can to keep our homes clean, what about keeping your car germ free?
Your vehicle can be filled with all kinds of nasty stuff, in addition to the old french fry or lost banana peel that fell between the seats. And what about the germs spread by coughing and sneezing?
Here’s how to make sure your vehicle is clean, inside and out.
Washing Your Car
Let’s start with the basics—get out the vacuum and clean the carpets, seats and even the roof. Since you have the vacuum out, clean out the trunk and toss out unused stuff that just seems to accumulate.
Once all the dirt is gone, it is time for a good interior wash. Mix up some mild dish soap and water and use a soft brush and use more of the suds than the actual liquid and brush away, getting into all the nooks and crannies. Wipe off surfaces with a microfiber cloth. There are also specialized interior cleaning products, although soap and water usually does the trick.
Sanitizing Your Car
Simple soap and water, such as Ivory soap or a liquid dish soap, can remove viruses and bacteria without damaging or discoloring interior surfaces and upholstery. If you’d prefer to use a disinfecting product, disinfectant wipes that both clean and disinfect work well for all of the surfaces that you touch. You can also use 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.
Wipe down all surfaces and finish up with a microfiber cloth. In addition to the steering wheel and shifter, other areas you should attack include switches, 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.
Sanitizing Different Materials
If your car has a touch screen, be careful with cleaners. Alcohol-based cleaner can damage touch screens. Some professional cleaning crews will use a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and distilled water sprayed on one microfiber cloth and then wiped down with a clean/dry microfiber cloth. Don’t use paper towels on display screens or gauge clusters, they can scratch these surfaces. Finish up with a quick spray of antibacterial antiseptic spray in the vents and under the seats.
With leather seats, use specialized leather cleaner. Cloth and vinyl seats can be cleaned with interior cleaner or a mild soap and water mix. The same mixture can be used on the carpets and floor mats. Don’t use too much cleaner, flooding the carpets could lead to mold and mildew buildup. Let the carpets dry thoroughly before putting the floor mats back in and don’t forget to secure them in place.
Cleaning your car on a regular basis will minimize germs and help maintain its value.
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This article originally appeared on Your AAA, the website of AAA Northeast.