We can all reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus by regularly cleaning our cars after using them, the official UK Government advice at the time of this article is only leave your house for an essential journey.
Washing any new or used car takes up a lot of time and quite a bit of effort, which is probably why so many people use an expert from the motor trade, like a mobile valet service.
Whether you are looking to give your vehicle a quick wash; or a full deep clean, we have put together this guide to assist you.
Firstly, and very important, you will need to protect yourself before you start cleaning the vehicle, the government recommends using personal protective equipment (PPE) whilst cleaning.
Gloves and apron (preferably disposable), goggles to protect your eyes and a mask to protect your nose and mouth, especially if an area has been contaminated with bodily fluids from someone with confirmed or suspected coronavirus.
Ideally wait three days after using your vehicle before cleaning, it will likely reduce the amount of coronavirus particles living on surfaces. Consider what areas could be infected and need cleaning, also think about what products are best suited to thoroughly clean the interior and exterior of your vehicle.
The basics you should need to disinfect the interior is bleach free household disinfectant, cloths and two bin liners. Once finished use the bin liners to double bag everything you have used or are throwing away, then store securely for 72 hours before disposing of with any household rubbish.
Interior cleaning checklist
- Steering wheel and gear stick
- Buttons, switches and vehicle keys
- Dashboard and radio
- Heating controls and air vents
- Seats, head rests and seatbelts
- Doors, door handles and seat pockets
- Window and light switches
- Rear view mirror and grab handles
- Inside the boot
- Glove box and cupholders
Vehicles have many different surfaces and materials, and these can vary based on the motor trade manufacturer make and model. When using any cleaning product make sure the area you are working within is well ventilated, and always follow the guidance on manufacturer product labels.
These should tell you whether it is safe to use on specific surfaces and materials. Bleach, chlorine, ammonia and peroxide-based cleaners can all cause damage to fabric, vinyl and plastic, they may also discolour your car or impact on the vehicle safety, which in turn could impact in your insurance policy.
Alcohol-based disinfectants, cleaning wipes and similar are in extremely high demand right now, if you are struggling to find cleaning materials some popular solutions include using window cleaner for lights, windows and windshields, or baking soda and warm water as a cleaning solution.
If you choose to use disinfectant on leather surfaces, like the steering wheel, gear stick or seats, we recommend you use leather-care products to protect and maintain all interior leather.
Of all the parts in your car, your steering wheel and gear stick are probably the most exposed, on average steering wheels carry up to four times the number of germs as the average toilet seat, so cleaning your steering wheel is a good habit to get into.
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Clean around the whole of your wheel, the horn and any infotainment controls, including indicators and those areas where fingers tend to grip.
Remember to pull the length of the seatbelts out to ensure you clean all of it that you or any passengers touched whist wearing and fitting them.
We would recommend you also take time to clean the carpets and mats, you should especially be doing this if people in your vehicle have come into contact with the virus.
For a quick exterior car clean just obtain a pressure-washer or garden hose, bucket, cloths, car shampoo, interior cleaner, a microfibre towel for drying and a vacuum cleaner.
If you have a bit more time on your hands and would like to wash your car like a professional valet, you will also need a clay bar, clay bar lubricant and your preferred wax, polish and alloy wheel cleaner.
Take your time and work out how much pressure to apply and be thorough, a microfibre cloth should minimise potential for bodywork scratches.
You risk spending hours disinfecting and deep cleaning your car only to bring new germs in every time you drive unless you keep washing your hands. Remember, you should only be using your car for essential trips.