ST. LOUIS — Washing your hands and sanitizing surfaces are important in the fight against the coronavirus. But one area you may have overlooked is your car. Consumer Reports says disinfecting your ride goes far beyond the steering wheel.
Think about how many surfaces in your car get touched on an average trip. The door handles inside and out, control knobs and buttons, the touch screen, even your directional and wiper control stalks are touched almost every time you drive your vehicle.
Consumer Reports’ automotive editors say that because the interior of most cars is made up of a number of different materials, it’s important to use the right products and techniques to disinfect a vehicle properly.
You definitely want to stay away from using bleach or hydrogen peroxide in your car. Those products could easily damage the upholstery.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol solutions that contain at least 70 percent alcohol should be effective at killing the coronavirus. This means nearly every interior surface of your car can be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol-based cleaners you already use around the house.
Consumer Reports recommends focusing on disinfecting these vehicle hot spots: your steering wheel, door handles, your car’s shifter, window and control buttons, wiper and turn-signal stalks, door armrests, grab handles, and seat adjusters.
If your car has a touch screen, don’t use anything that has ammonia as an ingredient to clean it, because that can strip off anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings.
And if you’re low on cleaning supplies, soap and water are also a safe bet for most surfaces. But no matter what you use, a gentle touch is recommended.
The surfaces inside your car are usually going to be more delicate than something like the countertop in your kitchen, so it’s important to take care when you apply the cleaning products. Wipe down leather gently with a microfiber cloth; rubbing too vigorously could start to remove the color from the dye in the leather.
And when wiping down fabric upholstery, avoid using too much water, because it could end up creating a musty smell or encouraging mold growth in the cushions.
In addition to coronavirus concerns, Consumer Reports suggests always doing your best to drive with clean hands to keep the surfaces in your car from collecting dirt over time and looking worn out prematurely.
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