How to keep your car clean and clear of COVID-19

By David Sholicar

For the vast majority of us there are 3 places we see probably more so than anywhere else in our day-to-day lives – home, work, and the inside of our cars. We already know what to use, and how, in order to keep our living- and work- space virus-free, but how do we keep our cars clean and safe without damaging the interior?

Car clean and clear of COVID-19

With the spread of COVID-19 we should all be focusing a little more time on cleaning our cars regularly and thoroughly. In particular you should pay more attention than normal to any nooks and crannies where germs can settle – for example door handles (both inside and out), seatbelts and buckles, radio buttons, wiper and indicator levers, as well as any other surfaces that you regularly touch – and it’s important to wear disposable gloves whilst doing this in order to avoid cross-contamination anywhere else. For best results we advise using a microfibre cloth to clean all of the surfaces in your car as these are able to grab and sweep away any dirt and dust that may have gathered, as opposed to other cloths than can cause dirt to scratch car surfaces like sandpaper.

What products are safe to use?

If your car has fabric seats, gently rub them with a small amount of water and laundry detergent, otherwise soap and water are perfectly fine to use on your car interior.  Soap interacts with viruses in much the same way as it does with oils; by breaking them down and helping to eliminate them.

A quick glide over the dashboard with a soapy cloth won’t quite cut it though. Just as you need to wash your hands for a minimum of 20-seconds, you should also focus a little more time to wiping each surface of your car down to allow the soap to surround the virus and get to work breaking it down.

Alcohol solutions and wipes are also known to be incredibly effective against COVID-19 germs, especially when they contain at least 70% alcohol, although it is worth noting that car manufacturers including Toyota and Volkswagen advise against using alcohol solutions on touchscreens to protect the screen.

What products should I avoid using?

Many household cleaning products will be effective against the coronavirus in your car, however there are a few exceptions. First of all, you should steer clear of using any products that contain bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Although both of these chemicals will destroy any coronavirus germs, they can be very abrasive and may end up causing damage to the vinyl and plastics used in most modern vehicles.

Ammonia-based products will also have a similar effect and can even cause the vinyl to become sticky under heat and light. Finally, avoid using glass cleaner on any touch screen displays as this could damage the anti-glare coating.

Remember, make sure you are scrubbing thoroughly on every surface as heavy-duty cleaning will weaken the virus – but scrubbing too hard could end up removing some of the surface coatings or dyes. Please also be careful with using too much water, particularly around electronics and entertainment systems.

COVID-19 Update - All Protyre centres remain open and operational at this time

All of our centres are open with business as usual, so if you do have any worries or cause for concern you can find your local Protyre using the button below and then pop in to see us.

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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