Men Washing His Car

How to Clean Your Car To Protect Against Coronavirus

At Baxter Volkswagen Omaha, 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 disinfecting any items they purchase as they complete errands around town. What you may overlook, though, is that as you buy items and load them into your car, they are then touching the interior of your vehicle. 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?

One of the toughest aspects in disinfecting your car comes with the fact that its interior often contains different materials. From soft leather to plastic on the dash, fully washing your car may require several different tools. 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?

Once you're ready to sanitize your vehicle, start by washing your hands. It's also a good idea to wear disposable gloves if you have them. 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 enough disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer to spare, we advise keeping some with you in your car.

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

Ready to begin? Be sure to spot test any leather cleaner you end up using on a hidden area to ensure it will work well for your specific seats. Avoid scratching the leather by using a microfiber cloth, and once you're finished, apply a leather conditioner if you have some handy. And if you don’t happen to have any leather cleaner in the house, you can simply mix two parts vinegar with one part water to create your own solution.

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your Volkswagen 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. Begin to dampen the surface with dish soap and warm water, scrubbing for 20-to-30 seconds in the process. You can focus on high-touch areas within your car like the dash and steering wheel, in addition to other high-contact surfaces, including:

  • 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?

Thanks to the sun and other weather elements, germs are less likely to thrive on the outside of your vehicle. We still advise to disinfect areas you touch regularly, however, such as the door handles, handle buttons and gas cap.

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your VW interior surfaces, 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 Volkswagen Omaha, 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 Volkswagen dealership in Omaha, NE.

Baxter Volkswagen Omaha 41.2649047, -96.1849913.