Men Washing His Car

How to Clean Your Car for Coronavirus

At Herb Chambers Toyota of Auburn, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. People in Auburn, Massachusetts, are wearing gloves, frequently using hand sanitizer and wiping down items they purchase on their errands. What they might forget, though, is that those items are still touching the interior of their car when they load them in. 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 Coronavirus Survive on Surfaces?

Disinfecting your Toyota can sometimes be tricky, as your car is comprised of many different materials and surfaces. You could have soft leather seats or plastic on the dash, and one cleaner won't be able to take care of both of them. You'll find that different tools need to be used when 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?

Always wash your hands before sanitizing your vehicle, as this helps you start with a clean slate. And if you have them, wear a pair of disposable gloves. 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. If you have them handy, make sure to keep a package of disinfecting wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer in your vehicle at all times.

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

If you're using any type of leather cleaner, it's smart to spot test it on a hidden area in your vehicle. This will help you to make sure it works properly. And when you're cleaning, always use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching or scuffing the leather. Don't have leather cleaner? All you need to do is mix two parts vinegar with one part water for your own solution. Afterward, apply leather conditioner if possible.

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your Toyota 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. Dish soap can be used for this application. Dampen the surface of what you want to clean, then scrub for 20-30 seconds. Make sure to give special attention to high-touch locations like your steering wheel and dash. Other high-touch surfaces can 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 make it difficult for germs to thrive on the exterior of your car. That being said, it's still smart to disinfect areas you touch most frequently, including door handles, handle buttons and the gas cap.

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your Toyota 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 Herb Chambers Toyota of Auburn, 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 Toyota dealer in Auburn, Massachusetts.