How to clean your car and keep it germ free

Naomi Gordon
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Prima

The country is in spring cleaning mode as most us stay at home and try to keep safe, hygienic and virus free in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

While the government advice is to stay home and only leave for four essential reasons, you may still rely on your car if you need to get to and from work or buy necessities from the supermarket. So it's important you clean your car regularly to keep it germ free.

If you've scoured the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and sitting room several times already, and plan to tackle the car next, we have a few tips and advice from car cleaning experts below.

First things first...

Photo credit: Mike Kemp - Getty Images

Wash your hands – we've been doing it so much we're certain we're doing it in our sleep. Before getting into your car, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or an alcohol based hand sanitiser. If available – wear gloves.

How to clean the steering wheel

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When it comes to the steering wheel, Chief Marketing Officer Barri Coen from advises using alcohol wipes – but be careful not to get anything in the electronics or controls. "Some consoles and touch screens will be OK to use alcohol wipes but check your car's manual or asking the manufacturer to be sure," he told Prima UK.

How to clean car seats

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Barri says the most effective way to deep clean seats is to opt for an Extraction Steam Clean for fabric upholstery, but if you're doing it yourself, he advises using a non-bleach disinfectant spray on fabric and leather.

"Be careful not to spray anything electronic and be thorough," he warned. "Let it settle for a few minutes and dry. For leather, once dry, use a leather cleaner and treatment to stop it from drying out or cracking."

Meanwhile, Toyota's professional car detailer Ben Murphy recommended using bleach-free antibacterial wipes and a dry microfibre cloth for leather and interior material seats. Car owners can give most of the touch points in the car a clean with wipes and a cloth too – key areas being the seatbelt and seatbelt clips.

"Anti-bacterial wipes are inexpensive and kill 99.9% of germs, so they're as safe and inexpensive as you can get without going out and buying a really strong cleaner. Don't just give each area a quick wipe; make sure you wipe it at least twice in a forwards and backwards motion so you've cleaned it completely," he emphasised.

Don't forget other hard surfaces

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"Remember to clean belts, buckles, sun visors, door pockets and all other nooks and crannies – you can use non-bleach household cleaner or soap and a little water but being careful to take your time, rubbing the soap in circles and allowing the soap time to do its job," Barri advised. "Wipe off the soap with a damp cloth and dry."

Keeping your car virus free

In terms of keeping your car safe generally, Barri provided a few more tips:

  • Remember to always wash your hands with soap or alcohol based hand sanitiser before getting inside and before touching the outside as any contamination on external handles will just be brought in with you
  • Use alcohol or Dettol wipes (very carefully to avoid any controls or electronics) on the steering wheel, gear stick, handbrake, belt, buckles, handles and anything else that you touch regularly

Happy cleaning.

The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing.

For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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