Are you doing everything you can to keep your loved ones and yourself safe from COVID-19? You may be sanitizing your hands, wearing masks, washing all the clothes you wore outside, disinfecting your fruits and vegetables, but you may have missed something. During this pandemic, there is nothing called ‘enough safety’. Even a small mistake can have serious consequences.
Have you considered cleaning the inside of your car? Do you know that you may get the infection from your 4-wheeler? How? And what should you do about it? Read on to find out.
More cars are out in the streets
Ever since the lockdown was lifted and many offices have reopened all across India, thousands of cars are back on the streets again. But unlike the pre-coronavirus days, more cars mean not just more pollution but also greater risk of COVID-19 infection.
Cars and coronavirus
The inside of your car has surfaces on which the coronavirus can survive. Consider the steering wheel, clutch, the seats, the door handles, the knobs or even the windows. These are flat and smooth surfaces that are high-contact. That means we touch these surfaces often. According to microbiologists, the coronavirus can live on smooth surfaces for up to 72 hours.
Suppose you enter the car and touch these surfaces with unwashed hands. Then, the virus is present in your hands will be transferred to the surface. Since most of us use the car AC and keep the windows rolled up, the virus will continue to be inside the car. Now, whoever is travelling by that car will touch the same infected surface or breathe in the air in which the virus is suspended. This will infect them and you.
How will you clean your car?
The outside of the car is considerably safer as the sunlight, rain and wind can clean it. So you need to focus on the inside of the car. Here are a few tips to disinfect your car interior-
1. Make a list of the high-contact surfaces. This includes all the nooks and crevices, the buttons of the dashboard, the AC vent, the central console, the steering wheel, the clutch, the doorknobs, the windows and the seats.
2. To disinfect these surfaces, you will need a cleaning solution. You can always purchase car-cleaning disinfectants. They are atomizer bottles and you will simply spray the liquid onto the surfaces. But you can also use rubbing alcohol, dishwashing liquid soap or sodium hypochlorite solution.
3. You will need small clean towels or you can also purchase disinfecting wipes.
4. If you have not cleaned your car in a long time, consider vacuuming your car interior first to draw out the dirt, dust, fungi dead skin cells and pet fur (if you travel with dogs/cats).
5. Then spray the disinfecting solution onto the high-contact areas or dip your cleaning towel into the solution and wipe everything down thoroughly. Do not forget the often-forgotten places like cup-holders, roof handles, seat belt sockets and seat belts.
6. Keep changing the towels/wipes. Do not continue with a towel once it looks dirty.
7. Take out the car floor mats and wash and scrub them with soap and water.
8. If you have a window glass cleaner for your home, you can use that to wash your car windows and windshield as well. Use a paper towel or flannel cloth to wipe the windows dry.
9. For your car seats, you will need special upholstery or leather cleaner. Or you can use a home-made solution of 1/4th cup of baking soda in a cup of warm water. With a gentle brush and your cleaning solution, scrub the surface of the seats and keep your car doors open to let the seats dry up.
10. If you haven’t cleaned your car AC duct, get the AC serviced by professionals who will also disinfect the vent.
Finally, to maintain car hygiene, always keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in the car and use it frequently. Moreover, continue to wear a mask in the car.
Now that you know what needs to be done, grab those cleaning solutions and towels and disinfect your car right away to stay safe from COVID-19!