Men Washing His Car

How to Clean Your Car To Protect Against Coronavirus

At Baxter Volkswagen La Vista, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. Many residents around Omaha are wearing gloves, consistently using hand sanitizer and cleaning items they purchase as they complete errands around town. What you may forget, however, 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 of disinfecting your car is that its interior often contains various surfaces. From the plastic on the dash to the plush leather seats, an array of tools may be required to wash your vehicle. 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?

Start the sanitization process by washing your hands first, and if you have them, putting on 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. And as a general recommendation, it's a good idea to keep disinfectant wipes and a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your vehicle if you have enough to spare.  

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

Ready to apply leather cleaner to your seats? Begin the process by testing it on a hidden area to ensure it will work well for your specific seats. Use a microfiber cloth while cleaning to avoid scratching the leather. You can mix two parts vinegar with one part water to come up with your own solution. And if you can, apply a leather conditioner once complete.

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. Just dampen the surface with warm water and dish soap, then scrub for 20-to-30 seconds. It's a good idea to clean your dash and steering wheel with a disinfectant product often. We also recommend focusing on other high-touch locations within your car. These surfaces may 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?

Although we can thank the sun and other weather elements for killing germs that live on the outside of your vehicle, it's still smart to disinfect areas you contact frequently. Some high-touch areas can include the handle buttons, door handles and gas cap.

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your VW 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 Baxter Volkswagen 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 Volkswagen dealership in La Vista, NE.

Baxter Volkswagen La Vista 41.1882859, -96.1087885.