During an average trip, the driver and passengers are likely to be touching many surfaces that can attract dirt and germs, from opening the door to changing gear, or from adjusting the heating fan to switching the lights on.
And it may not be only your car you need to think about. There’s a big demand at present amongst online buyers for home deliveries and home test drives, which require both the garage and the end customer to be vigilant about germ-free usage.
So which are the most important areas around the vehicle you’ll need to consider?
There are obvious areas of course; the key, the steering wheel and horn, the gearstick, the interior of the driver’s door and the rear-view mirror. But also think about areas that might get touched less frequently, such as the dust caps, the bonnet and then things like the head rests.
You might also overlook the seatbelt. Everyone has to wear one when they get into the car, and the number of times you adjust that seatbelt depends on the size of the person in the vehicle, so there could be two to three touch points just on the seatbelt itself. Also, the belt sits across you, so if you were to cough or sneeze, there’s a very good chance germs get on the seatbelt or the steering wheel.
Which products to use
Dealerships typically use commercial products made specifically to clean cars without damaging leather or interior materials, but in the absence of these types of fluids, bleach-free antibacterial wipes are the next best thing. They’re inexpensive and kill 99.9% of germs, so they’re as safe and cheap as you can get without going out and buying a really strong cleaner.
With a pack of wipes, a pair of gloves and a dry microfibre cloth, you can give most of the touch points a clean. Don’t just give each area a quick wipe; make sure you wipe it at least twice in a forwards and backwards motion so you’ve cleaned it completely.
Now wash your hands!
When you’ve finished and remove your gloves, give your hands a good wash. We’d also advise you to wear gloves if you’re in a vehicle such as a rental car or a taxi. You don’t know which areas of the car the previous occupants have touched and germs can stay on a spot for 72 hours.