Men Washing His Car

How to Clean Your Car to Protect Against Coronavirus

At Baxter Toyota La Vista, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. Many people near Omaha, NE, are wearing gloves, frequently putting on hand sanitizer and cleaning items they purchase. What's often overlooked, though, is that once you purchase these items and load them into your vehicle, they are then touching the interior of your car. 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 the most difficult aspects in disinfecting your vehicle is that its interior often contains different materials. From soft leather to plastic and other surfaces, various tools may be required to fully clean 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?

Before you sanitize your vehicle, make sure to wash your hands and put on disposable gloves if you have them. 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. And if you have enough to spare, we advise to keep disinfectant wipes and a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you to wipe down high-touch areas frequently.

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

Before you begin to use leather cleaner, be sure to spot test it on a hidden area to ensure it will work well for your specific surfaces. Use a microfiber cloth while cleaning to avoid scratching the leather and try to apply leather conditioner once you're complete. And if you don’t have any leather cleaner available, simply mix one part water with two parts vinegar to create your own solution.

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car

The most important areas of your Toyota 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. Start by dampening the surface with warm water and dish soap, then scrub for 20-to-30 seconds. Be sure to wipe your dash and steering wheel with a cleaning product, focusing on high-touch places within your car. Other high-touch 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

Do I Need to Disinfect My Car's Exterior?

Thanks to the sun and other weather elements, germs are less likely to thrive on the outside of your vehicle. It's still wise to clean areas you touch frequently, though, such as the door handles, handle buttons and gas cap.

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your Toyota interior, 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 Baxter Toyota La Vista, 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 Greater Omaha Toyota dealership.

Baxter Toyota La Vista 41.1881607, -96.1073728.