How to disinfect your car – without doing damage

Car Cleaning Tips - global version - small

What’s the best way to disinfect your vehicle to help stop the spread of COVID-19? The U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says hand-washing is crucial, but so is disinfecting surfaces, including those in your car.

The CDC recommends wearing disposable gloves to clean and disinfect surfaces, and wiping down surfaces with soap and water prior to disinfection. For vehicle interiors, a soft or microfiber cloth dampened with soap and water can be used on hard surfaces.

Most common disinfectants are effective, but some are not ideal for vehicles, including bleach, hydrogen peroxide, benzene, thinners or abrasive cleaners that can damage upholstery and interiors. The CDC says alcohol-based wipes or sprays with at least 70% alcohol are effective against the coronavirus. These can be safely used in your vehicle.

For car screens, rather than ammonia-based cleaners, use screen wipes or a soft cloth dampened with soap and water to clean; then dry with a clean, soft cloth.

Here’s Nissan’s checklist for vehicle surfaces to disinfect:

  • Steering wheel
  • Key and remote fob
  • Exterior door handles (both sides)
  • Trunk lid or lift gate grab areas
  • Interior door pulls, both sides and interior door panels
  • Start button, if equipped
  • Rear view mirror, back and edges
  • HVAC vents
  • Gear selector
  • Turn signal lever
  • Windshield wiper controls
  • Center stack knobs
  • Center console and arm rest
  • Seat belt and buckle. Avoid harsh cleaners on the belt itself as they can degrade the fibers and the belt’s strength
  • Parking brake handle, parking brake or release lever

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