Because you spend so much time in your car, it’s vital that you clean it regularly to get rid of dirt and germs. To help you keep your motor spick and span, Mark Barclay from GSF Car Parts shares his top tips for cleaning and disinfecting your vehicle.
We’ve all become a little more preoccupied with cleaning in recent months. Although you might be spending more time washing your hands and disinfecting surfaces in your home, have you thought about cleaning your car?
A recent survey from webuyanycar.com found that, in their lifetime, a typical British motorist can spend the equivalent of almost four years behind the wheel. As you spend so much time in your vehicle, it’s natural that it’s going to pick up a bit of dirt and a few germs, and a regular clean can keep your interiors fresh. To help you keep your car almost germ-free, below I’ll be giving you my top cleaning tips.
What germs can live in your car? Because you use your vehicle almost every day, it’s common for it to collect germs that you might have picked up while you’re out and about. Although the types of bacteria can vary from car to car, scientists have found that Staphylococcus (which can cause staph infections) and Propionibacterium (which can cause acne) are among the most common (NCBI).
Your car interiors can also pick up a lot of dirt, especially if you spend long periods of time behind the wheel. Things like mud, dust, and food can all collect on surfaces which can make them an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Giving your car a regular clean will ensure you keep germs and dirt to a minimum.
How often should you clean?
Under normal circumstances, you should be cleaning your car interior at least once a month. But, shockingly, only 19% of British drivers have said they do so, with 22% of drivers confessing that they only clean their car every six months (Intelligent Car Leasing). This can make your surfaces the perfect place for germs and viruses to live.
While we’re in a pandemic, you should be upping your usual cleaning routine, and your car should be disinfected before and after every journey you make. This is in accordance with the UK Government’s current recommendation. But don’t worry, because cleaning after every journey isn’t as difficult or time consuming as it sounds.
How do you clean and disinfect your car interiors?
Since your car can pick up various germs and viruses as you go about your day, it’s vital that you follow a rigorous cleaning routine to keep yourself safe. Just follow the tips below to get started.
Choose the right cleaning products
When it comes to cleaning your car, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing the right products. You’ll need:
- • Soap and warm water
- • Antibacterial spray or wipes
- • A disposable cloth
- • Disposable gloves
- • A face mask
- • A bin liner
You should avoid cleaning products that contain bleach or hydrogen peroxide as these can damage the finish on your car interiors. Most household disinfectants will state whether they contain bleach on their packaging. Instead, look for disinfectants that contain alcohol or quaternary ammonium compounds such as benzethonium chloride. You can find these in the ingredients list.
Prep yourself before you start
Before you start cleaning, you’ll need to change your clothing and wash your hands to ensure you’re not spreading anything to your car. You might also want to wear a facemask and disposable gloves to protect yourself from cleaning products and germs.
Then, you should remove any items from your car to make sure you can disinfect every surface properly. Remember that these items can also collect germs, so you might want to give them a clean with a disinfectant wipe before putting them back in your car.
If there’s any dirt on your interiors, it can prevent antibacterial cleaners from working properly. So, you’ll want to clean and scrub each surface with regular soap and water and vacuum your seats and flooring before disinfecting. Try to use a disposable cloth or kitchen roll so you can discard of them in a bin liner straight away. Remember to clean down the sides of your seats where germs and dirt can easily gather.
At this point, you may want to take another bucket of soap and water and place all of your removable interior carpets in to soak. After 30 minutes you can hang them up to dry.
Pay attention to particular areas
Although you’ll want to clean every surface of your car, try to pay particular attention to certain areas. Think about the areas that get used the most often, such as the driver’s seat, seat belts, door handles, window controls, on and around the steering wheel, and dashboard — especially the air vents, radio controls, and gear stick.
Then, move on to less used areas of your car, like your passenger seats, floor, and cup holders. Remember to clean the headrests when you clean your seats.
When you’ve finished the interior of your car, you can move on to the boot, making sure you clean the boot floor and parcel shelf.
Once you’ve finished your cleaning, remember to throw away the cloths, wipes, and gloves in a bin liner to avoid contaminating your home.
Keep on top of cleaning
Aside from your regular cleaning routine, there are a few steps you can take to help prevent germs, viruses, and dirt from spreading. Before getting in your car, make sure you wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. You might also want to tap off any loose mud from your shoes before you get in your vehicle.
Try to avoid eating and drinking in your car too. Not only can this stop food and drink spillages dirtying up your interiors, but it can help prevent you from ingesting any germs that may be on your hands.
Just follow the steps in this guide to help you keep your car interiors clean and sparkling. Please note that the information mentioned here is intended as advice only and does not constitute as professional medical guidance. Please refer to the UK Government and NHS for the latest information and advice regarding coronavirus.
We hope these tips have been helpful. Once you’ve finished cleaning your car interiors, why not give them some extra care and polishing? Just take a look at our latest recommended brands that are designed to clean your car detailing.