Men Washing His Car

How to Clean Your Car for Coronavirus

At Schwieters Ford of Montevideo, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. People all over Montevideo are wearing disposable gloves, using hand sanitizer frequently and wiping down items they purchase during their errands. What they might forget, though, is that those items will come into contact with many of the surfaces in 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?

Disinfecting your vehicle can be a challenge because of the multitude of different surfaces in the interior. Whether it be leather seats or plastic on the dash, it's important to have several tools handy to 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?

Always wash your hands before sanitizing your vehicle. Wear disposable gloves, as well, so you reduce the spread of germs. 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. Do you have extra disinfecting wipes and bottles of hand sanitizer? Make sure to leave some in your car, so you can wipe it down frequently.

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your Ford 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. Dish soap can be used in this situation. Just dampen the surface you want to clean, then scrub for 20-30 seconds. Make sure to clean your steering wheel, dash and other high-touch surfaces. 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

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your Ford model's 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.

cleaning supplies next to a vehicle inside a dealership

Do I Need to Disinfect My Car's Exterior?

Due to the sun and other weather elements, the outside of your vehicle is less likely to have germs living on it. While that statement may hold true, it's still smart to disinfect areas you touch frequently. These areas include door handles, handle buttons and even the gas cap.

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

It's important to spot test any leather cleaner you use by spraying it on a hidden area. This will help to make sure it works for the surface you're cleaning. When cleaning, also use a microfiber cloth to avoid scuffing or scratching the leather. Don't have leather cleaner? Mix one part water with two parts vinegar to make your own solution. After cleaning, apply a leather conditioner if possible.

Here at Schwieters Ford of Montevideo, 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 Ford dealership in Montevideo, MN.