Men Washing His Car

How to Clean Your Car for Coronavirus

At Smith Volkswagen, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. In order to reduce the risk of exposure to germs or bacteria, many people in the Wilmington, DE, area are wearing gloves, using hand sanitizer or cleaning items they purchase when they get home. However, some might forget that once you purchase new items and load them into your Volkswagen car, these items are then touching the interior. 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?

One of biggest challenges in disinfecting your car is that its interior contains a variety of different surfaces. From the soft leather seats to the plastic on the dash, you'll find that you may need several different tools for washing your car. According to 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?

Before you begin sanitizing your vehicle, be sure to wash your hands. If you have them, it's a good idea to wear disposable gloves. 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. If you have enough to spare, keep disinfectant wipes and a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your car so you can wipe it down frequently.

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

Before using any type of leather cleaner, be sure to spot test it on a hidden area to ensure it will work well for your specific seats. When you're cleaning, use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching the leather. If you don't have any leather cleaner on hand, you can mix two parts vinegar with one part water to make your own solution. If you can, apply a leather conditioner after cleaning.

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your Volkswagen 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 usually works well -- all you need to do is dampen the surface and scrub for about 20-30 seconds. Make sure to wipe your dash and steering wheel with a disinfecting product regularly, too. Otherwise, focus on 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

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your Volkswagen car'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.

Here at Smith Volkswagen, 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 VW dealership in Wilmington, DE.

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