Here’s how you can disinfect and keep your car clean during a pandemic
The rapid spread of the coronavirus across the globe has become a cause for serious concern. While our government and healthcare officials are doing the best they can to curb the infection and flatten the curve, following simple and basic protocols like social distancing and proper hygiene can make a considerable difference.
Apart from the time spent at home and office, travel often takes up a considerable chunk of your day, and ensuring the cleanliness of your personal space — like your car — is important. Though your personal vehicle is less likely to be a primary source of infection, it would be wise to periodically clean it and keep it virus free. Here’s a list of tips to help you disinfect your vehicle without having to take it to a professional service centre.
Personal hygiene first!
Before you get down to cleaning your vehicle, remember to protect yourself first. Wear the right protective gear for the task. Using a generous amount of alcohol-based sanitiser before you start and after you finish cleaning your car can give you an extra layer of protection. Make sure to wear a pair of high-quality rubber gloves. Since there will be dirt and dust particles in the air, a face mask will also come handy. Wear long sleeves, jeans and shoes to limit your contact with any contaminants and potentially the virus.
Now that you are getting started, follow what you would normally do, such as pulling out the floor mats, dusting them and putting them aside. Then get down to vacuuming the carpet, seats and roof liner. The COVID-19 virus can remain active on different surfaces for a few days, so make sure you to take time and reach into the nooks and corners.
Disinfect removable items
In a large tub of water add regular detergent or a liquid soap of your choice and mix well. Take all the carpets, floor mats and other removable fabrics and soak them. Let them remain in the tub for a minimum of 30 minutes before putting them in the sun to dry. Soap is an effective measure to kill the virus and a 30-minute soak ensures that there is no chance for the virus to survive.
Prepare a scrub mix to clean items that you can’t remove. In a small pan make a soap-based mix to be used as the solution to scrub at your seats and other non-removable fabrics like those found on headrests, seatback pockets, backrests, armrests and door panels. Dip a brush or sponge in the mix and scrub away! This solution will work as a disinfectant.
Focus on the details
With your car vacuumed and scrubbed, it is time to get down to the details. Use an alcohol-based disinfectant for this stage of the cleaning process. Rub down all the frequently touched parts of the car such as the door handles, dashboard, steering wheel, gear lever, centre console, power window buttons/ window rollers, rearview mirror and seat sliders. Don’t miss out on the key fob, the fuel tank and bonnet release levers, as these are also commonly used.
Once you are done with the interiors, don’t forget to address the boot — a space that houses foreign objects like shopping and grocery bags. Make sure you use a generous amount of the disinfectant.
Your vehicle’s exterior is likely to be the most susceptible surface for the virus to exist. After all, it is exposed to the elements and to other people’s touch. Having said that, there is no need to panic. A nice soap wash will keep your vehicle disinfected. You can also apply an alcohol-based sanitiser to the door handles. With the Indian summer well on its way, the sun will also do its part by keeping your car’s exterior nice and hot. This too helps curb the spread of the virus.
Now that your car is done, it is important that you dispose of the gloves and other waste effectively. Also, remember to dispose of the vacuumed dirt. Do not leave it lying around where someone might inadvertently come in contact with it. All clothes and washcloths should go straight into the rinse, and you yourself should take a shower. Play safe and be proactive in keeping everything clean.
The best defence against COVID-19 is to restrict your movements as much as possible. If you must travel, avoid the use of a valet service. At fuel stations, maintain a safe distance from pump attendants. You could even try paying using digital wallets to minimise any contact risk.