Expert advice on how to keep yourself and your car safe during the COVID-19 lockdown…
Fixter, the UK’s first end-to-end online car maintenance service provider, has tips on protective measures to minimise risk of contamination during the cleaning process, suitable and easily available cleaning products for different vehicle types and essential touch points, plus how to make visits to petrol stations as hygienic as possible.
Key points include the use of appropriate protective clothing to stay safe whilst cleaning a vehicle. Gloves are identified as an essential item in this case, but can become non-effective if not disposed properly immediately after finishing the sanitising process, or if people touch their faces while wearing them.
Useful cleaning products, which can often be found at home, are also recommended by Fixter. For example, certified sanitising wipes and certain UV light treatments to eliminate virus traces are recommended for cleaning car interiors.
Whilst car owners are advised to wash their car interiors and exteriors thoroughly, try to avoid using too much water in the car, as it can cause mould and bad smells, especially if residue makes its way down the crevices of seats.
It’s not usually necessary to go on a hunt for multiple specific cleaning products, all that’s needed is a bleach-free household disinfectant or even just soap, and a couple of bin liners.
However, avoiding bleach is important, as it may damage plastics and vinyl, while chlorine bleach can weaken the fabric of seat belts – so should not be used. Media screens, such as touch displays, may be affected by household glass cleaners, due to their anti-glare coatings. Normal soap and water is recommended as a better option.
Clean all possible touch points, inside and outside of the vehicle including:
- The driver area – (steering wheel; central console; levers and switches; internal door release) is important, as it is used the most
- Front passenger area – glove compartment inside and out; central console; levers and switches; internal door release
- Rear seats – cup holders; arm rests; switches; cabin lights; internal door release
- Seat belt clips – are often forgotten during the cleaning process. Parents doing up seat belts for children in the back could be at risk to spread the virus or bacteria in the process
- External car handles – are the first point of contact with any vehicle. The boot latch is especially important after a food shop, as most people don’t think about potentially transferring germs from the shopping cart handle to the latch of the car boot
- Bonnet – bonnet release; engine bay; oil cap; windscreen fluid cap and oil gauge
- Boot – internal release; parcel shelf and spare wheel compartment
- As the weather is getting warmer, electric window buttons, window handles and sunshades will be used more frequently, and should be added to the list
- Car keys – car keys are often attached to a key ring with multiple other important keys used daily and accumulate dirt, bacteria or viruses
- It’s also recommended to wear robust gloves at service stations. Keep a pair of latex gloves in the car at all times so that you’re prepared if the petrol station has run out of gloves, or if the cheap and thin provided gloves split.
“Cleaning your car is not necessarily something we look forward to doing, but during this time it is incredibly important,” said Fixter’s Damian Jeffries.
“Isopropyl alcohol, for example, is one of the best products to use and it’s widely available. However, Isopropyl alcohol is not suitable for leather seats, so it’s vital to use special leather cleaning products if you own a car with leather seats.”