Men Washing His Car

How to Clean Your Car To Protect Against Coronavirus

At Legends Toyota, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. Working to reduce the risk of exposure to germs, many people in Kansas City, Kansas, are wearing gloves, frequently using hand sanitizer and disinfecting items they purchase as they run their errands. You may forget that once you purchase these goods and load them into your vehicle, they then touch the interior of your car. 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 the Coronavirus Survive on Surfaces?

Your interior often contains various surfaces, making it one of the biggest challenges in disinfecting your car. From plush leather seats to the plastic on the dashboard, several different tools may be needed to fully wash 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?

Start the sanitization process by washing your hands and, if you have them available, put on disposable gloves once you're ready to begin. 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. As a general aside, you should keep disinfectant wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer in your vehicle to wipe it down regularly.   

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car 

In preparation for using any type of leather cleaner, it's a good idea to test it on a hidden area to ensure it will work well within your interior. Keep your leather scratch-free by using a microfiber cloth. And should you not have any leather cleaner on hand, you can mix one part water with two parts vinegar to create your own solution. Once complete, apply a leather conditioner to help keep its natural look.

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. Start by dampening the surface with warm water and dish soap, scrubbing for 20-to-30 seconds. Make sure to wipe your dash and steering wheel with a cleaning product frequently, as well as focus on other high-touch areas within your vehicle. These 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?

Thanks to the sun and additional weather elements, germs are less likely to be found on the outside of your vehicle. It's still advisable to clean areas you touch frequently, though, 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 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 Legends Toyota, 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 dealership in Kansas City, KS.

Legends Toyota 39.129589, -94.8103395.