Men Washing His Car

How to Clean Your Car for Coronavirus

At Baxter Ford, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. Many people in Omaha, Nebraska, are wearing gloves, frequently using hand sanitizer and cleaning items they purchase to reduce the risk to exposure to germs outside their homes. What you might overlook, though, is that once you purchase these items and load them into your vehicle, they are then touching the interior of your car. 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?

A tough task in disinfecting your car comes with the fact that your interior may contain a variety of surfaces. From the soft leather seats to the plastic on the dash, several different tools may be required for washing your car. 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?

Ready to sanitize your vehicle? Begin by washing your hands, and if you have them, put on disposable gloves during the process. 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. It's also a good idea to keep disinfectant wipes and a small bottle of hand sanitizer on hand in your car.

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car 

If your Ford vehicle's interior surface is leather, we advise using leather cleaner. But before you do so,  spot test it on a hidden area to ensure it will work well for your specific material. When you're cleaning, use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching the leather. For a DIY disinfectant, you can mix one part water with two parts vinegar to come up with your own solution. And after you're complete, try applying a leather conditioner if possible for a finishing touch.  

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your Ford 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. Start by dampening the surface with warm water and dish soap, scrubbing for 20-to-30 seconds. On top of focusing on wiping down high-touch areas like your dash and steering wheel, it's good to sanitize additional surfaces, which 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?

The sun and other weather elements can take care of germs on the outside of your vehicle, but it is still wise to clean areas that you touch frequently. Think of the door handles, handle buttons or gas cap.

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your Ford interior, 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 Baxter Ford, 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 Ford dealerships in Omaha, NE.

Baxter Ford 41.2639172, -96.205016.