Coronavirus: Car Cleaning Tips to Keep You Safe

A roll of kitchen roll next to a bottle of blue cleaning spray

The coronavirus pandemic has forced us all to change our habits and view life through a different lens. In particular, people are taking cleanliness and hygiene very seriously. Though it’s a little scary to think about, we have to face the fact that the virus is able to live on various surfaces for a certain amount of time. Why is PassMeFast interested in this? Well, because your car (even though you shouldn’t be using it as often) is a potential breeding ground for harmful germs.

To help you protect yourself and others, we’ve put together some cleaning tips to keep your car safe. Simply taking a few extra steps can prevent the spreading of germs and ensure you are doing your part to minimise the threat of COVID-19. Let’s get started!

Coronavirus: Car cleaning tips

Before we delve into cleaning procedures that are necessary in the current climate, please note that these steps are designed as an upgrade to your regular car cleaning regime. If you’re not sure where to begin with that, check out our previous article on how to keep your car clean. This takes you through the basics and provides a solid foundation for the tips we detail below.

*The following advice applies to people who have had no known cases of COVID-19 in their household. If someone with coronavirus symptoms has come into contact with you or your car, you will need to take more stringent measures. Consult the latest government guidelines for more information.

Wash those hands

Close up of hands being washed with soap
Image source: Irina Ba via Unsplash

Let’s start with something that needs to be done before and after you clean your car. This is surely a no-brainer at this point, but it’s always worth repeating: wash your hands! Use plenty of soap, make sure it’s thoroughly distributed all over your hands and rinse. The government suggests that you should spend a good 20 seconds on this process.

You need to wash your hands multiple times a day, but particularly when travelling to and from different places. About to get in the car? Wash your hands. Leaving your car and entering your house? Wash your hands. Walked into a room but can’t remember what you came in for? Wash your hands.

Seriously, you cannot do this enough! If you have sensitive skin, use a gentle soap and be sure to moisturise your hands as well.

Store cleaning products in your car

A tip that will encourage you to keep on top of your car cleaning regime is to make sure you have everything you need to hand. If you have to trudge in and out of the house to get supplies, it’s easy to blow the whole thing off. Plus, that’s not ideal when it comes to hygiene.

We know cleaning products are in short supply right now, but if possible, have a separate stash for your house and your car. All you need is hand sanitiser, a cloth, some antibacterial cleaning spray and maybe some disinfectant wipes (these are like gold dust right now so good luck!). That’s the bare minimum—feel free to incorporate anything we’ve missed.

Struggling to find the products you need? There are also a number of homemade cleaning solutions you can knock up that are just as effective as those bought from a shop!

Pro tip: If you use strong cleaning agents on your car, remember to drive with the windows down for a while to air it out a bit. Inhaling certain chemicals can be damaging to your health.

Regularly wipe down surfaces

Top of an open tub of cleaning wipes
Image source: Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash

In the same way you need to be washing your hands frequently, you also need to be cleaning everything they come into contact with. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to embark on some huge decontamination exercise every time you touch something. That’s just not realistic or sustainable.

Instead, get into the habit of wiping down the surfaces in your car that you touch most frequently, at the end of every journey. Grab a disinfectant wipe, or your cloth and spray, and give everything a quick once-over. It should only take a minute or two, especially if the products are already in the car!

When doing this, pay attention to the parts of the car you touch the most. That’s likely to be things like the door handles, steering wheel, gear stick, hand brake and seat belt. Don’t miss out the little things, too, like radio controls, heating buttons and your car keys.

Stay alert

You may have heard this in the context of a not-so-reassuring speech on how we’re going to overcome the current pandemic, but the advice is useful when applied to car journeys. One of the best ways to keep your car clean and thus safe is to be actively aware of what you’re coming into contact with once you exit your car. In other words, whatever your destination, try to avoid touching things as much as possible. This should lessen the number of germs you bring back into the car with you.

Limit who has access to your car

View from backseat of car of passenger and snowy road ahead
Image source: Oliur via Unsplash

It’s easy enough to keep your car clean when it’s only you using it, but things could get a little chaotic if multiple people are hopping in and out. That’s why it’s best to limit how many people have access to your car right now. Obviously, thanks to the lockdown, friends and extended family can’t request lifts at the moment. Other members of your household, however, may want to come along for a ride every so often. This is fine, but remember to give everything an extra thorough clean once they have departed the vehicle. Or, pass these tips onto them and they can clean up after themselves—win!

If you checked out our article on where you can and can’t drive during lockdown, you’ll know that an acceptable reason to drive is if you’re helping a vulnerable person obtain essential groceries. In these scenarios you should pick up the shopping yourself, and then deliver them to the person’s home. Ideally, you should be the only person using your car.

Ramp up the cleaning schedule

And, finally, it’s probably time to take your regular car cleaning process more seriously. That means giving your car a good clean more frequently and thoroughly. Pre-COVID, letting your car (particularly the interior) get a bit grubby and cluttered wasn’t a massive deal. Now, however, it could pose a real threat to your health. Create a tighter schedule for your regular once-overs and throw the above car cleaning tips into the mix to enjoy a sparkly and, more importantly, safe vehicle!

Pro tip: After cleaning your car, if the clothes you’re wearing are not disposable (some people use disposable gloves and overalls when cleaning), be sure to put them straight in the wash, to rid them of any remaining chemicals or germs.

We hope you found our coronavirus car cleaning tips useful! It’s important to note that lockdown rules and restrictions are ever-changing. To keep yourself in the know, be sure to consult our main COVID-19 page, which is regularly updated to include the latest government advice.

Until next time, stay safe and happy isolating!

By Isobel Robb

Isobel enjoys the freedom of the open road and loves driving to new places. She's here to offer helpful hints and tips to improve your motoring skills. When not keeping up to date with the latest driving info you can find her discovering new restaurants or exhausting her Netflix subscription.

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